Tonya Pinkins talks about new play, TIME ALONE. Credit: Kayt Jones

*”Time Alone,” a World Premiere by Alessandro Camon (Academy Award nominee “The Messenger”) opens at Los Angeles Theatre Center on Saturday, September 30.

The production stars Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins (Jelly’s Last Jam, Caroline or Change, ABC’s Scandal) and Alex Hernandez (Peter and the Starcatcher, Richard III NYC Public Theatre Mobile Unit), and traces the parallel journeys of a young man convicted of killing a gang rival, and a woman whose son – a police officer – is murdered in the line of duty.

What makes this parallel even more interesting is something its star, Tonya Pinkins, said to EURweb.

“Having a father as a police officer allowed me to be in rooms with the biggest politicians and gangsters and to know from an early age that there was no difference between any of them.”

When EURweb senior editor, DeBorah B. Pryor, asked Pinkins if being a mother in real life gives her an “edge,” she responded.

“Sadly, mothers are the most underrated and denigrated beings on the planet. People want to deny the power of mother. People want to say that an adopted mother is equal to a mother. Or being a woman is equal to being a mother. Mothers even deny the power and wisdom they have gained from the experience of birth.”

Quoting Cherokee midwife, Sister Morningstar, on the topic of being a mother Pinkins says…Nothing compares to it. No one who hasn’t done it can know what it is.”

Pinkins, a mother of four, says, “The entire power of the universe flows through you during child birth. And if you haven’t done it you know nothing about it. The medical profession seeks to deprive women of that power and Wimyn [sic] willingly submit to drugs and cesareans and give up an experience that so few beings are privileged to be gifted to know and grow wiser having survived.”

If that kind of honesty makes you uncomfortable, you may want to skip this production.

Time Alone is born out of my ongoing period of research and volunteer work in the California juvenile justice and prison systems,” says Playwright Alessandro Camon. “I have been particularly interested in solitary confinement, which I studied in some depth,” he adds.

“I am also interested in the experiences of crime survivors — particularly, people who lost loved ones to murder. I wanted to write dramatically about this, too. The characters in the play are fictional, but directly inspired by reality.

Belle Rêve Theatre Company Executive Producer Michelle M. Núñez says, “Among other themes, our inaugural production ‘Time Alone’ speaks to the complexities of criminal justice, especially solitary confinement, and the relationship between perpetrators of crimes and victims.

Alex Hernandez in Time Alone at LATC. Credit: Kayt Jones.

Telling stories through theatre can expand the conversation in unique ways, and we aim to do so with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (headed by film producer Scott Budnick), as well as opinion leaders, lawmakers, and other advocacy groups.

The goal is to raise awareness and promote engagement, putting theatre right at the heart of the issues that affect our community.” There will be a post-performance discussion on Friday, October 13 included with admission.

Aside from being a sought-after actress in both stage, television and film, Pinkins, who plays Anna Jackson in Time Alone is also an author, activist and educator. She sings too. 

On TV, she portrays Susan Thompson on Madame Secretary, Ethel Peabody on on FOX TV’s Gotham, Miz Mimi Corcoran on Hulu’s 11/22/63 and Sandra on ABC’s Scandal.

Alex Hernandez plays Gabriel Wayland in Time Alone. Next up for him will be a role in the third season of the smash hit series, “UnREAL” opposite Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer. Most recently, he starred as Demetrius in The Public Theater’s presentation of “ A Midsummer’s Night Dream” at The Delacorte for Shakespeare in the Park, opposite Phylicia Rashad and Annaleigh Ashford.

Time Alone is helmed by award-winning director Bart DeLorenzo (Geffen Playhouse Stage Kiss, Death of the Author; Founding Artistic Director Evidence Room), and is presented in association with The Latino Theatre Company.

Previews for Time Alone begin Saturday, September 30. The play opens officially on Saturday, October 7, and is performed through Sunday, October 29 at Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC), Theatre 2, 514 S Spring Street Los Angeles.

The performance schedule is Thursday -Saturday at 8p; Monday at 7:30p; Sundays at 3p and 5p.

Tickets are available now at bellerevetheatre.com or thelatc.org/timealone or by calling 213-489-0994.