Pain, survival and triumph in “Tough Brown Leather”

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A far too young girl, age 8, is forced into a very unsavory sexual situation. This young girl thoroughly enjoyed playing football with the boys and she was good, darn good always enjoying real full contact of a football nature. But when confronted by an older boy very insistent upon her performing a sexual act for his pleasure, all pretense of any joy evaporated from her mind and soul.

As she continued to grow she experienced numerous other sexual acts, one of which resulted in a very much unwanted pregnancy as a young teen. The problem was resolved with an abortion causing her to feel remorse and guilt.

At one point she came to totally loath herself feeling bitter and ashamed. But then there was a refocusing that yielded a better perspective and she did seem to ultimately regain a sense of self-respect and dignity.

This extremely powerful story is acted out over approximately 60 minutes by the clearly talented Tonya Jones. Tonya has appeared in numerous off-Broadway and regional theatre productions. She also earned a BA from Howard University and an MFA in acting from Columbia University.

She is also co-founder of Forbidden Fruit Theatre Company. But during this current Fringe Festival you can find Tonya Jones at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood delivering a knock out performance in Tough Brown Leather.

The show picks hard at your emotions but it also causes serious and deep thought because the truth of the matter is pretty much everyone has sexual experiences and sometimes they can be far more painful than joyful. I found it especially interesting to see on full, unrefined display the view of sex from a female perspective. For most men sex is a matter of conquest and personal gratification. To be a sexually active man is to be a stud, a hero to your buddies. The female perspective is far more complex and that complexity is artfully delivered by Tonya.

But because it is so intense it is absolutely an “adults only” show. It is also not the kind of you show will leave whistling “I’m singing a happy tune …” Tough Brown Leather is compelling and superbly stimulates both emotion and serious thought and therefore is very worthy and well done.

It is a Fringe Festival entry and has a very limited engagement so don’t wait, see it while you can at The Lounge Theater, 6201 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, California. Show dates and times are: Saturday June 19th at 4:00 p.m., Wednesday June 14th at 8:00 p.m., Thursday June 22nd at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday June 24th at 6:00 p.m. Admission is a very modest $12 and ticketing is available online here or by calling: 323-863-3643.

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For another form of visual art check this out.

Photos by Adam Southard