As the stage lights dim, Miata Edoga illuminates the stage with her powerful presence and spiritual aura, in her one woman autobiographical triumph, A Step Beyond the Rain. This show is a “larger than life” portrayal of one woman’s remarkable transformation from child to adult, and the inner strength and courage within, allowing her to blossom into the beautiful woman she is today. Created, written, and told through the central figures in her life, Miata reveals the strong emotional bonds between mother, sister, and daughter. The show dramatically opens with a scene in the ICU, where we learn that her beloved sister is dying of congenital heart failure, and won’t make it past her “second decade,” as doctors inform. Miata is fraught with emotion, as she states wistfully,
“I’d love to make you laugh, but to laugh, you’d have to wake up.” From this intense climactic scene, the audience is taken on a chronological timeline of Miata’s formative life, enhanced by a multimedia slideshow of family photos, effectively personalizing the journey.
As Director Ashley Crow states, “The play is a snapshot, a glimpse of three women who navigate the waters of human frailty, love, and loss … It speaks to the heart, not the head.” Utilizing humor and candor, Miata lets us know it was not always easy, but she’s going strong. Her show is a series of monologues, chronicling life growing up inNew York, as the daughter of a prominent Nigerian surgeon and “perfectionist” attorney mother. She also speaks with great passion about her sister’s heart condition and ultimate, untimely death.
One particularly fond childhood memory was her summers at overnight camp, her “home away from home,” and only true solace — where she flowered athletically, creatively, and emotionally. She could return home with a sense of renewal. Her home life was restricted and demanding, with almost impossible expectations set upon her. One vignette reveals her receiving an “89” on a Social Studies test, and her mother’s reaction: “This better not happen again.” Miata would often retreat to her room, comforted by singing her favorite lyrics from “Somewhere over the Rainbow,”: “When all the world is a hopeless jumble….” She has been pursuing the performing arts most of her life, and now has taken this exciting challenge of bringing her labor of love to the stage.
When you do a story of your own life, it’s always much more painful, profound, and passionate than portraying someone else’s. A Step Beyond the Rain is a tour de force, where Miata Edoga allows herself to be completely vulnerable — her words filled with light and spirit and hope — leaving not one dry eye in the house.
A Step Beyond the Rain runs through July 1 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m. The Two Roads Theatre is located at 4348 Tujunga Ave. in Studio City. For more tickets, visit www.astepbeyondtherain.com or call (323) 960-7862.