• Theater Reviews: “Sunshine for a Midnight Weary”

    by Neal Weaver
    (LA Weekly - June 9, 2005) Sunshine dominates the title, but it’s the darkness that prevails till almost the
    end of November Dawn’s choreoplay, which eloquently celebrates the strength of black women and
    anatomizes their miseries and travails. Written in verse and rhythmic prose, it takes a sharp look at
    poverty, dead-end jobs, drugs, male violence, and homophobia, judgmental church ladies, black men
    obsessed with white women, and AIDS. The Chopin Funeral March provides a grim prelude, followed by the
    nine women chanting in the darkness, "Give me some light so I can see!"

    Light and darkness provide the central metaphors, in subtle as well as obvious ways: Though light
    illuminates, it also reveals unwelcome truths. One sometimes sympathizes with the character who says,
    "I get tired of all the sob stories," but at its best, the play generates real power — particularly in the tale
    of a mother (director-choreographer Angela Matemotja) who discovers her man has seduced her retarded
    daughter while she was out working to support them. Matemotja leads her cast (including Tasia Sherel,
    Tammi Rashonda, Brandy Maddox, Renee McSwain, Erica Pitts, Shannon Shepherd, Baadja and the
    one Caucasian, Brianna Brown) in a deeply committed, highly charged performance.

  • Atlanta Film Festival Selects November Dawn To Deliver The Perfect Pitch

    (May 30, 2004 – Atlanta) Two-time published author, playwright and filmmaker, november dawn emerges
    from behind the scenes to test her pitching skills. The storyteller joins the ranks of Georgia screenwriters
    selected to pitch their scripts to a panel of industry experts and an eager audience. The Perfect Pitch VI
    is a fixture of the Atlanta Film Festival, which celebrates its 28th anniversary in June. The festival will
    spotlight 70 feature films and nearly 100 shorts by filmmakers worldwide. The top three finalists from The
    Perfect Pitch VI will have their scripts read by a group of celebrated film professionals. The winner gains
    an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles and the opportunity to pitch their project to industry power

    “Poor Man’s Blues” chronicles erupting tempers when, barely making ends meet, lives are on the line
    after mass layoffs at an Atlanta automotive parts plant. “It’s a solid, compelling story with a grit everyone
    can relate to,” states Shandra L. McDonald emphatically. The award-winning producer came onboard
    the project after encountering the script that edged out hundreds of submissions for The Perfect Pitch
    VI. “Poor Man’s Blues,” based in Georgia, is perfectly aligned with the Georgia Film, Video & Music
    Office’s mission to encourage production in the state.

    The Perfect Pitch VI will take place Saturday, June 19 at 4:00 pm at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center. The
    Georgia Film, Video & Music Office, sponsors the event. The entire festival lineup is available online at

    About november dawn
    After the 1997 publication of “Cries of a Young Girl” and her sophomore book, “the dawning”, november
    dawn returns with the social drama “Poor Man’s Blues”. Her haunting choreoplay “Sunshine for a Midnight
    Weary” enjoyed a run in Los Angeles. She has committed her talents to both the theatrical and film arena
    creating such works as “Like Grown Folks Do”, “Voodoo Doll” and “Light”. She is a tireless advocate of
    human decency and respect…no matter how she gets it across. To learn more about november dawn’s
    commitment to creating thought-provoking material, visit www.novemberdawn.com.

    About Shandra L. McDonald
    Shandra McDonald has a proven track record of producing quality short films that win film festivals and
    air on major television networks. In February, “Land of the Free” a short film that Shandra produced aired
    on Showtime Networks during black history month. Currently, “Can’t Let Go” a short film that Shandra
    produced in Los Angeles in 2001 aired on UPN, NBC and ABC in over 100 markets across the country.
    Shandra received a Student Director’s Guild of American Award in 1998 for “Claudia Make a Difference.”
    She is also an award-winning Screenwriter and Director. For more information about Shandra, visit

  • Embodi Entertainment Presents November Dawn’s “Sunshine For A Midnight Weary”

    (November 15, 2003 – Los Angeles) EMBODI Entertainment closes out its groundbreaking, inaugural
    season with the haunting choreoplay, “Sunshine for a Midnight Weary”. The latest offering from two-time
    published author and filmmaker, november dawn, the riveting piece is the third installment in the season
    of Los Angeles’ first Black female repertory company. The production also signals the company’s return
    to The Split.Id Theater in the Complex, home to EMBODI’S first theatrical production, “Voices of the
    Black Woman”.

    “Sunshine for a Midnight Weary” has been described as a “chaotic soul searching with the grace and
    simplicity of a sublime ballet.” Tailored from its coed format for EMBODI’S all-female company, nine
    robust characters grope through their past and present grasping for one last attempt at a life in the light.
    On the way the audience is reminded of bitter realities such as: dreams deferred, domestic violence,
    racism, poverty and suicide. Onlookers witness, “planets colliding in a desperate attempt to find the
    sun.” This collision of raw energy between dissimilar characters proves to be a fusion of jubilee and
    lamentations in the portrayal of issues that plague the colorful sector of mankind.

    EMBODI Entertainment’s founder, Tasia Sherel, stands at the helm as the executive producer. EMBODI
    resident, Angela Matemotja brings her rich training from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre & the British
    American Drama Academy to direct. Sound design is by the husband and wife team, Angela and Alan
    Mulhall. Light & Set design is by EMBODI resident, Michelle Merring-Hayes and husband Jason Hayes.
    The show will open Thursday, December 4 at 8:00 pm and run through Saturday, December 13, which
    is a matinee show at 4:00 pm.

    About november dawn
    After the publication of “Cries of a Young Girl” and her sophomore book, “the dawning”, november dawn
    triumphantly returns with her haunting choreoplay “Sunshine for a Midnight Weary”. She has also
    committed her talents to the film arena creating such works as “Poor Man’s Blues”, “Light” and “Like
    Grown Folks Do”. She is a tireless advocate of human decency and respect…no matter how she gets it
    across. For more information on november dawn, visit www.novemberdawn.com.

    About EMBODI entertainment
    EMBODI Entertainment, L.A.’s exclusive African-American and female-owned entertainment group, is a
    non-profit organization founded by Tasia Sherel. The company’s strives to provide a venue to exalt diversity
    thru the arts. The company produces three theatrical productions annually, while providing workshops in
    Acting, Dancing, Directing and Writing. To learn more about their commitment to producing thoughtprovoking
    material, visit EMBODI online at www.embodi.org.