Drama. By Y York. Inspired by the life and art of Della Wells.
Cast: 2m., 3w. Nine-year-old Tonia Bridge is growing up in a working-class, African-American home in Milwaukee in 1964. Young Tonia's artistic soul is at odds with her parents' fears and pragmatism. Her efforts to please and appease them are in conflict with her own needs and desires. Complicating Tonia's world is her mother's mental illness and her father's anger at the insidious racism of the times, which hampers his own ambitions to pursue a career in science. Tonia tries to please her mother by wearing safe, but drab, clothing. She also follows the rules in a famous etiquette book on hair, deportment and manners. She tries to please her father by making a beautiful science project she thinks will make him proud. A different Tonia takes the stage when she is guiding her friend Theo into the world of her imagination, or finding a thrill in her secret games with her dolls. Tonia finds her way, the only way possible, by allowing her parents to see her true self with all its flaws, beauty and possibilities. Single set. Approximate running time: 70 minutes.