Kandace Crystal Proves Amazing and Touching Artistry in Stage Return for NEAT

A Though-Provoking, Stimulating Co-Production Between Loud Fridge Theatre Group and Scripps Ranch Theatre

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardasht

Kandace Crystal and Nicole Diaz-Pellot. Photo Ken Jacques
It is challenging to perform a monologue, let alone a one-person show with various characters with different voices, mannerisms, and intentions. Loud Fridge Theatre Group and Scripps Ranch Theatre came together to gift audiences with a heartfelt co-production of Charlayne Woodard's play, NEAT where Albany-bound Charlayne, shares her story growing up with her aunt Neat who got brain damage as a baby due to poisoning. Kandace Crystal interprets all the roles on a bare stage with a backdrop of projections by Ted Leib that show animations and sequences by Leigh Akin that go with the narration.

 Not only does Kandace portray the different family members and Neat, but she also sings and dances. The triple threat delivery is impeccable. It is Kandace's return to the stage since 2021 and she did so with an absolute bang. This production reflects a team effort as all the creative elements have their moment and time to land. Dancer Nicole Diaz-Pellot also has her moments where she captivates the audience with contemporary style moves and just organic, flowy expressions that complement the story-telling. Diaz-Pellot has histrionic talent and a fun sense of humor that come out in really brief moments making the performance that more special. Director Claire Simba did a great job piecing everything as well as curating a cool soundtrack with sound designer Omar Ramos making space for feelings or reactions that either made me close my eyes and take it all in, clap and cheer, or just start twerking. I had to know which songs these were and behold! here they are:

Kandace Crystal. Photo Ken Jacques
Sona Jobarteh - Reflections

Mamadou Diabate - Humanity

Fatoumata Diawara - Sonkolon

Ablaye Cissoko - Evolution

Asimbonanga - Johnny Clegg

Soungalo Coulibaly - Jarafoli

Voices of East Harlem - Right on be Free

Sean Paul - Like Glue

NEAT is a total gift that challenges the audience's imagination through the performing arts in its purest form and essence. The experience can resemble story time with your mom, auntie, or grandma when they gather all the kids and just open the door to all the possibilities.

Productions like these with all the elements that stimulate the mind while raw and truly have an effect, do not come often. Kandace and Nicole are a strong power duo that would be a sin to miss. 

Currently playing until April 16 at Scripps Ranch Theatre is located on the campus of Alliant International University. For information on performance times and ticket prices, please click HERE.

Kandace Crystal and Nicole Diaz-Pellot. Photo Ken Jacques
Kandace had a conversation From Another Zero where she shared her experience preparing for this great role. You can read it HERE

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