A devised theater production based on a short story by Dana Johnson
The Story of Biddy Mason is a 90 minute performance in the style of CounterBalance Theater, using projection, music, movement and story to take us through the life of Biddy Mason, an enslaved woman in Mississippi, who walked with her Mormon owner’s wagon train across the country to California in 1848. She worked as a midwife, and a nurse. On arrival in California she found herself living in a state where slavery was illegal. She continued working as before, but was now paid and saved her money. After 10 years she bought real estate in downtown LA – on Spring Street. She became a business woman and then a philanthropist, giving to charities and building schools. She fed and housed the people in her city and was known by all as “Auntie Mason.”)
Their bodies serve as a portal to the past, a perpetual testimony to a pervasive inheritance. Annie Loui’s vision deepens this story, and her multiethnic cast speaks to the legacy of Biddy
—constructed in the style of CounterBalance theatre where 7 actors play multiple characters, animals, architecture. Physical depictions of wagon wheels, birth, and nature personified are embodied by the ensemble who play multiple speaking characters and all of the movement roles.
Citric Acid “Reaching Out to All of Us”: On the Telling and Retelling of the Biddy Mason Story
Connect Inside the Making of The Story of Biddy Mason
UCI Magazine The Pursuit of Artistic Inquiry