We know that when there is cultural and racial equality in theatre, it makes room for artists from all walks of life to contribute to the history of theatre. This past year has reinforced what we have been doing at LAFPI – putting women of all kinds first! It is vital that we make space and open doors wider for women from all cultural backgrounds if we are to have a bold, forward thinking American Theatre that reflects America.
I am thrilled to have discovered Alma’s solo show online and hope that you all have a chance to experience Strong like Honey, which stars Alma Collins. This show is a love letter. A daughter recounts her generational relationship with her mother and grandmother and how ultimately becoming caregiver to her mother both challenged and healed their role reversal relationship.
Constance: What do you hope audience members take away after experiencing your show?
Alma: Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you feel you ought to be loved, it does not mean they don’t love you. I want people to walk away understanding the power of forgiveness. Healing and insight does not come from anger or revenge, but sometimes through simply doing what is right, no matter how one feels about a situation. I hope some of the memories I share about growing up in Venice will bring a smile to those who grew up there.
Constance: What’s been your biggest challenge in terms of your development/creation process?
Alma: The hardest thing I’ve had to overcome is the feeling of “Who wants to hear my story?”
Constance: What are you enjoying most as you create your show? What has been the most surprising discovery?
Alma: That I have so many stories and characters inside me. Maybe I can do as August Wilson did . . . he kept writing his stories, and through them all there was always a common thread. I discovered precious memories I’d not thought about in years.
Constance: The work will be given away soon – how does that feel?
Alma: I’m ready and not ready at the same time. I’m an actress. I’ve never tried to write anything before. It feels daunting at times. “Strong Like Honey” is my baby and I hope people find my baby beautiful.
Constance: How long have you been sitting with this work?
Alma: I began writing “Strong Like Honey” in February 2018. My friend and mentor, Adilah Barnes, has been trying to get me to write a solo show for years. I started taking Jessica Lynn Johnson’s free workshops a couple of years ago to learn about solo performances instead of just observing.
Constance: Why Fringe?
Alma: Why not? Plus it would be amazing to be invited to do my show in Edinburgh, Scotland. Maybe I’ll meet my Jamie Frasier out there.
Constance: Why this year?
Alma: I’d planned on doing Fringe last year, but it was cancelled due to Covid. I’m not glad it was cancelled, but I think I’m better prepared this year.
Constance: Please! Anything extra to share?
Alma: Two years ago I did a 15 minute excerpt for Adilah’s “Hot Off The Press.” I didn’t even have a complete script at the time, just an idea. A couple of months later, at Jessica’s free Saturday workshop, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I saw what you did a few months ago and it changed my life.” Her statement caught me off guard and also reminded me that when we have a gift, we are accountable for what we do with it. If anything I do or say encourages someone to forgive, to love, to go on their own journey towards healing, then I’ve done my job.
For more information on STRONG LIKE HONEY in #HFF21, visit http://hff21.co/6765