Bibi Mama is currently playing the role of Millie Davis in Trouble in Mind, A play by Alice Childress, directed by Delicia Turner-Sonnenberg running at The Old Globe until March 13

Relax, get your coffee -or wine-, and sit down to enjoy this wonderful conversation 

Bibi Mama. Photo courtesy The Old Globe
Childhood in Connecticut, Washington for undergrad school, New York for work, and San Diego for grad school. Not bad for artist Bibi Mama who has had her share of experiences (and is still very young) as well as her work in theatre from acting, writing, directing, and teaching. Oh! and training because she loves fitness. What can't this woman do? 

We extended the long tablecloths -like we do in Mexico- and welcomed the lovely Bibi Mama here to FAZ to chat about her latest project Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress playing at The Old Globe.

How did this play come to your plate? You know with another variant, and the world being all weird...

So, I saw that they were doing it on Broadway with LaChanze and I could not go because I was doing The Grinch at The Globe. I got an email from them asking if I wanted to audition. I read the play because I had not read it before, and I felt really drawn in. It is important for me to feel connected to a play that I am going to do, I have to feel like I can get behind it. I auditioned -in person-, one of my first in-person auditions in a long time. It felt great because I came up at The Globe, I went through the program so coming back to hang out with old friends, I had a good time auditioning.

For people that are not familiar with the piece can you share a little bit of what it is about?

It takes place in 1957 in New York on Broadway. You meet us on the first day of rehearsal for a new play. The thing about this play is that it has a multiracial cast because it takes place in the deep south. A place called Bellville which I think is in Texas. Through the play within a play, so the actors putting on the play -Chaos in Bellville- we get to observe sort of the stereotypes that are presented and then how they manifest in the actors' real world. It is an issue of white and Black and sort of power dynamics in the room, who gets say? how much do you have to hold your tongue in order to maintain your ability to work? to stay employed, and how much do you speak up for yourself in order to maintain your own integrity? It is a fine line. It is really cool to watch the main character Wiletta, played by Ramona Keller who is incredible! her journey through the play, in the beginning, being somebody who plays the game and is there to do the job and, understands that this isn't the most honest, the most dignified, but it is work! And then watching that change during the play where she starts asking questions, really valid questions, and through those questions, we are able to learn more about the other characters, particularly the director and some interesting things come to the surface.

Artwork courtesy of The Old Globe.
It's climactic and tense and dramatic and still kind of funny which I think is awesome. The fact that this play that is so brave in what is talking about, real-life, important life or death issues, I just think it is really brilliant. Which makes it fun as an actor to be a part of but also fun as a person to be a part of too.

The play is very timely. People have always raised their hands but it was more of a hush-hush situation before, but with the pandemic and everything that happened people are screaming now! It is still very political, very bureaucratic...

This piece feels so much like a conversation. If nothing else I think it inspires conversation. I had a few friends come see it and they were talking about the hot button issues. This play takes place in 1957 but have things really changed? and if they've had, have they changed enough? and what can we do? That is what really excites me about this play because I think that it challenges the audience to really take a look at themselves and ask themselves how far have we've come and is it far enough?

If this is not hook enough to go see this wonderful piece, I do not know what is!

MOXIE staged this in 2015 directed also by Delicia Turner-Sonnenberg and it was wonderful. Cannot wait to see what The Globe brings to the table.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes out for Bibi because she is just getting started. Here are some fun facts from our interview:

  • She directed Into de Woods at Grossmont College last year where she is also an adjunct professor in Acting 1 and Acting 2.
  • She is a personal trainer.
  • In her words, she is two things: a storyteller and a teacher. 
  • Theatre is home.
  • Her first play was in kindergarten.
  • Her father is a storyteller as well.
  • Her parents migrated to Connecticut from Benin, West Africa in 1988.
  • She's also taught Speech and Movement and is looking forward to doing TV and Film.

And I had to ask how the feel in her experience is between New York and San Diego...

"San Diego feels so much like home. I just feel so connected and the theatre community here feels so welcoming and I am so appreciative of the relationships I have been able to cultivate here. New York was a Hustle! For me, it just felt almost mechanical. I feel like here I can be an artist".

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