Student reaches out to the community with musical

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MAKING UP: Chelsea Cornell, the “Angel of Alcohol,” applies Shanae Simon’s, the “angel of food,” make up prior to the show. PHOTO BY CHAMPAIGN WILLIAMS

Bronche Tayson gestured passionately, his voice animated and full of excitement as he talked about the success of his musical, “Dam/aged.”

The Associated Student Body Government vice president wrote, directed and performed in the musical that debuted at the Better Future Fair in early January.

An encore presentation was held in the Tillie Lewis Theatre on Friday, Jan. 27.

“In essence what I tried to do is bring together urban stories that reach everyone, and everyone can relate to,” Tayson said.“That’s what the play is all about…trying to depict how no one person’s story is greater than the others.”

The play was put on in front of a full house as Tayson and his supporting actors and actresses sang and danced their way on the stage.

“I never know what the audience’s response is,” Tayson said. “But my hope is that they are moved in a deeper place to promote change and help other people.”

The drama took Tayson one year to write.

He conducted workshops in the Oakland and Stockton areas, revising the play by rehearsing with actors, then critiquing the resulted performances.

Tayson said his work is in no need of further “tweaking.”

The proceeds from the production  of “Dam/aged” will go toward a new scholarship called the Hardship Scholarship.
This scholarship will be available to all students at the college.

Students will be able to apply for anywhere from $50 to $250. Requirements will include a 1,000-word essay, among other items.

SETTING THE STAGE: Bronche Tayson, “Dam/aged” cast members and Atherton House Manager Kishor Patel set the stage for a performance of “Dam/aged." PHOTO BY CHAMPAIGN WILLIAMS

Tareka McClellan-Hudson, an actress in the play, says Tayson has a unique directing style.

“He is very humble,” McClellan-Hudson said. “Not only is he directing, but he’s acting in [the play] too. He has so much experience, but he won’t tell you that.”

The two-hour musical is abstract and theoretical, featuring original songs written by Tayson that pose thought-provoking scenarios about family, life and dreams.

“When it came to writing the songs I would put myself into the situation of the character,” Tayson explains. “That made it easier to really go through that state of the character.” Cast members and friends predict Tayson’s theatrical production will thrive in the future.

“I think it’s going to be well known all over the nation, and not just in the U.S.,” Assistant Director Quanisha Smith said. “[And] if they want to make a movie that’s what we’ll do [too].”

McClellan-Hudson agrees that Tayson’s future will be successful.

“[Bronche] is an up and coming Tyler Perry,” she added with a laugh.