SEASON 3 - 1995 & 1996
The Waltz Begins When The
Dance Goes Backwards
The Downtown News
Written by Victoria Looseleaf
Barbara White Morgan's play addresses some somber contemporary issues: homelessness, race relations, and material greed. What begins as a sermon for the plight of the homeless transforms into a surreal probe into the disintegration of a guilty man's conscience.
Richard Porter (Biff Yeager) us a white screenwriter whose career, over-indulgent lifestyle, and twisted morals come to a screeching halt when he encounters an eccentric, African-American homeless man named Everybum (Sy Richardson). Everybum is literally a walking newspaper — his clothes are made of cut-out news clippings, and his memory is a haphazard collection of the stories on his sleeves.
At first, Everybum appears to be just another schizophrenic on the streets of downtown L.A. However, Everybum seems to know the deepest secrets of Porter's failed life and becomes a catalyst for Porter's breakdown.
It is never clear whether Everybum is a flesh-and-blood person, or a phantasmagoric figment of Porter's haunting conscience — and that ambiguity is what makes the play so compelling.