Review from MERINEWS highlighting Ning Ji (lighting designer) and Roshni Shukla (playwright) for The Gita & The Gun

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“With fanciful animations, vivid colors, and sometimes intentionally oppressive lighting, Ji helped to manifest a world where lucidity and unbelief battle each other for the perception of the audience and for a sixteen-year-old named Abhiti.”

“Numerous other examples illustrate Ji's ability to create an environment where the emotional impact of the scene is not dependent on exposition…A shadowy day world is contrasted with a colorful dream world that she lives in at night. The strong statement made by playwright/actress Roshni Shukla is inseparable from the otherworldly atmosphere cultivated by Ning Ji in this uncomfortable and ultimately vindicating story.”

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LA Weekly article on Homeward LA and Midnight Mission

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“The compilation of stories may paint a wide swath of backgrounds, but what's most moving is hearing their voices touch on tender, difficult moments everybody has, especially related to childhood and romance. “In my first meeting with all the storytellers and writers, they loved that I wasn't there to ask them about the worst thing that's happened to them,” Lesner says. “We wanted to create a piece that humanized people who have experienced homelessness…”

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Shining a Light - Noela Hueso of UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television interviews the southland company

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"[There's] a lot of multiculturalism in our company, a lot of gender equality, a lot of very strong female voices," says Madda… We want to reach into a world of stories that have been wanting to be told for a long time but haven't had the safe home to actually do that."

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JELLY BEANS. Check. WHALES. Yeah, sorta. GUNS. Pass, please. UNDERWEAR. Let’s move on from this.

- entry by LEA MADDA

On the evening of June 5, Melrose Avenue was buzzing.  Pineapples- every way you turned.  After a weekend-long fest of rehearsals, trumpet calls, and pounds of donated Whole Foods pastries tumbling out of a garbage bag, the UCLA community and beyond enjoyed an evening of art and libations at LAUNCH: LOS ANGELES, the premiere event and fundraiser for the newly-formed Southland Company.  The evening’s performance included excerpts from four new plays written by a diverse group of Los Angeles-based playwrights and performed by members of the UCLA MFA Theater Department and friends. 

Christina Elisa Hjelm’s Fucked.  Like Rabbits hysterically explored the turmoil of two LA transplants coming to terms with less-than-glamorous employment options post-graduate school.  This was followed by an excerpt from southland company co-founder Israel Lopez’ The Easterlies, a piece questioning the legitimacy of cross-cultural relationships, guest-directed by J Ed Araiza of the SITI Company.  An excerpt from The Gita and the Gun came next about a young Indian-American girl navigating suburbia, written by other co-founder Roshni Shukla and directed by recent UCLA-graduate Darcie Crager in association with Theatre Raw.  The evening concluded with a lively scene from Josh Montreal Segal’s new comedy Cheap Laughs, which will be going up fully produced at UCLA in 2017, exposing the hilariously dark corners of a deep friendship after an incidental tragedy.

In celebration of the southland company successfully reaching the Kickstarter goal, the cast and attending company celebrated post-show with a reception filled to the brim with wine, beer from local microbrew South Central Brewers, and Nonna’s empanadas as well as musical stylings by DJ Selective Mute.  The excitable energy was palpable; attendees remarked on the success of the event and their enthusiasm for the future of the southland company. 

And what about the pineapples?  Why a tropical fruit as the southland co emblem?  Pineapples symbolize “welcome,” an invitation to friendship, hospitality, and most importantly, new beginnings.  The southland company wishes to engage an audience across the diverse neighborhood of Los Angeles, creating a new center of home for the art of storytelling.  The southland company welcomes all artists across all forms of artistic, cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic barriers, recognizing the common bond of storytelling. 

So, this went well.  So let’s keep working, shall we?


FOLLOW THE PINEAPPLE - Journal 5/09/2016

The word is out and we've launched our company- June 5th, Hollywood at 7PM - You are cordially invited to our premiere event LAUNCH LOS ANGELES at the Zephyr Theatre on Melrose Avenue. Featuring new excerpts from interdisciplinary artists based in Los Angeles and performed by UCLA graduate actors.
Reception to follow. An alcoholic one. An alcohol-centric reception. Do you get what we’re trying to say? Come drink alcohol.

Tickets can be purchased for $20 per person and includes the show, reception with appetizers, wine and beer, and musical sounds by DJ Selective Mute.


Please come celebrate this new exciting endeavor with us. We are thrilled to share it with you.

- Israel, Roshni, Darcie & Lea