What Strikes Me

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Submitted by: Sheila Ivy Traister

Artist's Project Description: I knew from the start that I wanted to participate. I had various ideas and asked one of my students, Roderick Smith Jr. if he wanted to join me on the project. He jumped at it. Both of us were coming up with ideas that would have been difficult to mount with him in Atlanta, me in Colorado and the limited time frame we would have to rehearse and execute. Nothing was emerging in my mind or my heart that I could settle on. I was feeling the crunch of time and a sadness creeping in at the thought that nothing would emerge. Then on the morning of August 26th, 2020, I was on Facebook and saw a post by a dear friend of mine Adrienne Martin-Fullwood. The post stunned me to my core and I began to respond to her, thumbs on my phone... a couple of minutes in I couldn't stop writing and copied and cut what I had written (didn't post any of it), put it into a notes file on my phone and continued in stream of consciousness and “What Strikes Me” wrote itself. I read it out loud and it came in at 8:36 I had our script! I immediately sent it to Roderick and he loved it and said yes. Then when I thought of how to produce it I wanted it to appear to be in a black box theatre and knew I needed another voice for that magical three! I called Artie Thompson whom I met when she came to audition for me when I was casting “For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow was Enough”, by Ntozake Shange. I cast Artie, a phenomenal actress and she’s been my sister since. Then I reached out to Alexus Galvez whom I met when I visited her production class at the Colorado Film School to help us with the edit. Artie and Alexus both said yes. Then I ordered the black back drops and asked everyone to get a long sleeve black shirt. I rehearsed the actors via ZOOM and each person shot their performance in the safety of their own environment. What you see is the product of great friendships, a passion for the arts and a huge dose of LOVE.

Artist's Bio: Sheila Ivy Traister is an award winning actor, director and writer of both stage and screen. She has a long and cherished career as a coach for other artists and speakers from all walks of life and varying artistic disciplines. Authenticity and truth in story telling are at the heart of who she is and all of her endeavors; particularly when it comes to the fair and equitable representation of people of color.