Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tina Mabry - Savannah, GA - Lucas Theatre

After a nice two hour drive from Charleston, I got to Savannah. The theatre is located downtown Savannah where tourists crowd the streets. Carefully maneuvering through the pedestrians and navigating down the busy one way streets, I arrived at the theater. I got a few chills when I saw Mississippi Damned on the marquee. I parked my car and as I waited to cross the street I heard someone call out my name. A young lady on the other side of the street said she saw the film last year when it screened in Atlanta and when she heard it was screening in Savannah she had to see it again. Atlanta is a three to four hour drive from Savannah. Our screening started at 8pm and it's a 2 hour movie. I was completely blown away.

Lucas Theatre is a landmark in Savannah and it does not disappointment. The architecture is simply beautiful and it was only surmounted by the hospitality of the hosts. I chose to sit in on this screening to see how the audience would react. You know immediately if it's going well or not and from what I was seeing it was right on track.

I got a warm reception from the audience when I came out on the stage for the Q&A. Usually I receive similar questions at every screening, but this screening gave me some new ones. They were curious about the actors' personal methods of having to disengage from their characters when they were off set; they wanted to know what I think people should do to help others break the cycles of destruction faced by the characters in the film. The dialogue that commenced was beautiful. I expressed my own hesitancy to tell this story because of the shame I harbored for the majority of my life from being molested. However, I feel the only way to start ending these dysfunctional cycles is to start coming clean about them. Sweeping it under the rug is an ephemeral solution that only causes more destruction.

After the Q&A, a nice couple informed me that they won tickets to the screening and they said seeing the film was the best gift they ever received. Before the couple left, the lady gave me a long hug and whispered in my ear, "I was molested too."

I signed a few autographs (I'm a tad shy and this was totally new for me) and took several pictures before heading to the reception, which was at a gorgeous restaurant. It was nice to sit down with some members of the audience over a meal complete with fried green tomatoes. God knows I've been craving good fried green tomatoes for a while. I learned that more people had driven from Atlanta. The hosts told me that no one has ever driven from Atlanta to attend one of the screenings. Another successful screening down, hopefully eight more to go.