Arts & Events

Around & About Theater: 'Mrs. Pat's House'--Jovelyn Richards at La Pena

By Ken Bullock
Tuesday August 16, 2011 - 09:13:00 PM

Jovelyn Richards, storyteller extraordinaire, who first brought her original style of performance with live music to the East Bay with Come Home, her tale of of African-American World War II vets and their families in Arkansas a couple years back, will be staging Mrs. Pat's House, her story about a black bordello in the Midwest during the Depression, the women it housed and how they made their way to it, its patrons and hangers-on who sought refuge of different sorts, the conversations and encounters that went on there and the community around it helped by the madam and her ladies, at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley Thursday through Sunday nights this weekend. 

Jovelyn, now living back in the area, performed earlier this year at the Merlin Theatre in Budapest during her residency in Hungary. She's been associated with KPFA's "Women's Magazine" and featured in her own weekly on-the-air commentary, Jovelyn's World. 

With humor and insight, Jovelyn plays the characters, recounts the tales, fronts her band and presides over the music, dances and songs that accompany her narrative performance. With the band, costumery, and Stephanie Anne Johnson's stagecraft as director and lighting designer, Mrs. Pat's House ends up shuttling, minute by minute, between story, stand-up comedy, a spirited theatrical and a down-to-it party. 

Jovelyn Richards at La Pena Cultural Center, Friday-Saturday, 8 p. m., Sunday at 7--3105 Shattuck (two blocks east of Ashby BART). $12 advance, $15 at door. 849-2568;