Doodu Boy is a play based on the true story of its leading man Stephen Bryan, who as a child fell into a cesspool in Jamaica, only to travel to find what we all universally seek. This one man show is being presented for an extended run this weekend at the Santa Monica Playhouse Main Stage sponsored by the Jamaica Cultural Alliance, with its final two shows tonight at 8 pm and Sunday at 4 pm. This production is interesting in that it is the true story of one person portraying himself as a child to an adult and the different people who touched his life in Jamaica, the US, and Japan. It is a story of overcoming ones past and is relatable to many from overcoming strict religious spare the rod parents, to parents who neglect and ignore.
The Friday night show was followed by a Q&A with the director Jared Scheib and the lead. Scheib describes Bryan as a “regular person” and someone he “respects.” However, he later admits that he is a good performer. The show took two years to develop and the work does show with the many characters Bryan creates. Bryan has not been trained to act, though he admits he wonders if he should. His director though stated that he is in admiration of Bryan’s honest performance.
When asked if the play has a meaning or message, Bryan stated that he is not a moral person, but “that everyone has a story to tell” “something that we all can relate to.” However, on seeing the story of his life, one knows Bryan has a sense of right and wrong, just not what some may call traditional. According to Sheib the production is on finding “unconditional love” or “one man’s search to get the love he never got as a child.” Sheib further stated “just keep going, not just give up.” Though he points out there were several times in Bryan’s life where things did get so bad he did try to suicide. Both believe in the use of psychotherapy. As stated by those there is a real human and inspirational story.
The director and lead have plans for this production to continue in different forms in the future including a kick starter to make it into a film. They hope to show the play in New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Japan (Bryan’s wife is from Kobe and is translating the play to Japanese), Jamaica, and Dallas, the home of the director. Apparnetly they will also be at Sundance in January.
Stephen Bryan is also the author of the book “Black Passenger Yellow Cabs: A Memoir of Exile and Excess in Japan” and the novel “Only Begotten.” Jared Sheib is a Director, Dramaturge and award winning film maker. For further information on Sheib see http://jaredscheib.com. Information on Doodu boy can be found on their website. For tickets to the Santa Monica Playhouse, see their website.