Celebration Arts’ ‘Blue Door’ A Two-Man Masterpiece

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SACRAMENTO — Tarig Elsiddig and Tory Scroggins have appeared together in six stage plays and five of them were for Celebration Arts. The talented actors’ fifth production for Celebration Arts, which is currently in progress, is their best work yet.

Elsiddig and Scroggins star in the two-man play, “Blue Door” by  Tanya Barfield at Celebration Arts Theatre’s new digs at 2727 B Street. Directed by James Wheatley, “Blue Door” is one-hour and 45 minutes, no intermission, and a very challenging script, which Elsiddig and Scroggins master well.

The play’s time frame starts in 1851 and rolls up to 1995. Scroggins portrays Lewis, a mathematician who is conflicted about his family’s African American experience. Elsiddig had the daunting task of playing three characters in Simon, Rex, and Jesse, all Lewis’ family members who passed on in tragic ways.

“The most challenging thing about this script for me, personally, was finding each character and truly portraying them in the way they deserved,” Elsiddig said. “I didn’t want to give half effort for any character in this story, as each one was obviously super integral as a piece in this story and used as a means to wake Tory’s character up. I had to spend time with each character and truly find their voice.”

Embracing White culture, Lewis has assimilated well past the Black life he was born into, and wants nothing do with his family’s history or the past he is subjected to by bloodline, by race. A painful night of insomnia forces Lewis to face it all, something Scroggins so eloquently does.

“The most challenging part for me was the awareness that this was the greatest script I have ever read and I didn’t want to do it a disservice by not honoring all of the issues being dealt with,” Scroggins said. “I didn’t want there to be a moment at any point on stage where I wasn’t acknowledging the effects of all of Lewis’ struggle. All being issues that he doesn’t acknowledge, I, the actor, must simultaneously portray the symptoms of his issues while I, the character, fight to hide the fact that there are any issues at all.”

In the last four years, Elsiddig has injected himself in more than 20 productions in Northern California. He, like, Scroggins are immune to taking breaks, overlapping one stage gig after another. Since Elsiddig appeared in Celebration Arts’ production of the “Bluest Eye,” his skills have grown by leaps and bounds. Scroggins has noticed his expanding range.

“I absolutely love working with Tarig. He is one of my favorite actors,” Scroggins said of Elsiddig. “I prayed that he would be cast in the other role because I knew it would make me feel thoroughly supported in an extremely difficult role. This is our sixth time on stage together. We have been everything from brothers to rivals. I love his work ethic and he always raises the stakes.”

The “Blue Door” gets triple nickels for this Celebration Arts production. Five stars go to Scroggins, five stars for Elsiddig, and five stars for the chemistry they created on the stage and delivering ongoing lines to tell a fascinating story.

“With this story, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t simply get on the stage and recite lines,” Elsiddig said. “We wanted the audience to feel the story and really go on that journey with us.”

Show times for Blue Door is July 6, 7, 14, 15, 21, 22, 26, 27, and 28. Black Pearl Sings is currently showing as well July 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 28 and 29.

For more information, call (916) 455-2787. Celebration Arts is at 2727 B Street, Sacramento.
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By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer
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