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Spiritual theatrics in "Pray to Ball"

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"Pray to Ball," now at the Skylight Theatre Complex in Los Feliz, is a stellar production, written by one of the lead actors (Amir Abdullah), involving two NCAA potential superstars, Lou (Abdallah), and Hakeem (Y'lan Noel). They are dealing with all the problems college athletes face, who are on the up and up to athletic stardom. The initial set is a basketball court, but the numerous set changes, masterfully orchestrated by lighting/set designer Jeff McLaughlin, takes the audience to other venues, such as dorm rooms, library, and the Moslem student center. The first scene introduces announcer (Brice Harris), speaking of the emergence of two highly touted new members of the Miami team. Their boisterous play on the court sets the stage for the enthusiastic tone of the entire show.

In their college dorm room Hakeem and Lou develop a deep friendship and bond, yet with completely different ideologies and attitudes towards life. The two women, Tamana (Ulka Simone Mohanty) and Nika (Lindsey Beeman) certainly add spice to the mix, as Lou is slowly allured and intrigued by the Islamic faith and beliefs, hence the title, "Pray to Ball." Bilal (Rickie Peete) tries to influence and pique Hakeem's interest, enlisting Tamana, burka and all. The play is basically a conflict between Lou and Hakeem. The extremists, revealed in today's newscasts, show only one side to this religion, while this play is enlightening in showing the other side- a true Moslim is like anyone else in this great US of A: loving of his/her neighbors; devout in beliefs; willing to help others, such as the down and out. Bilal and Tamana's attempt to lovingly indoctrinate Hakeem, is an extremely topical matter, as racism and anti-religious sentimentality fill the news daily.

This play is brilliantly written by playwright Amir Abdullah, his first play, originally presented at the Hollywood Fringe Fest 2012. The dialogue, direction, and each cast member of this talented ensemble, is an integral contributor to this evocative production.

Through June 8th

Fridays and Saturdays 8PM Sundays 2 PM

Skylight Theatre 1816 1/2 N. Vermont

213-7617061

http://skylighttix.com

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