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Annual theatrical performance aims to revive mind, body and spirit

Photo credit: Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth

Enneressa Davis is the CEO and founder of Praize Productions Inc. (PPI). An accomplished writer and producer, Davis has written, produced, and choreographed six full-length productions. Her latest, Revival: The Answer will be presented this weekend at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. Performed by their youth and young adult ensemble cast, this production will tap into the entire human experience. A major highlight of the March 24 show will be the presentation the PPI Pillar Awards. These awards will honor individuals who have achieved a level of excellence from their work and who have committed to the development, growth and revival of people and communities. Harmony Health Plan Inc. is again proud to serve as the official co-presenter and sponsor with PPI.

Talk about Revival: The Answer; why did you choreograph it and what does it mean to you and your hope for what the audience will experience?
Revival: The Answer is a theatrical production that infuses heavy dance, live music, spoken word, and visual art to tell the story of the highs and lows of the everyday human experience. It’s created into three sets: Death, Burial and Resurrection/Revival. I created this production because I was and still very much so living this production. We all are. We go through death, burial, and resurrection-revival in cycles throughout our entire life. Once we reach our “revival” on one level and max out our capacity, we enter death all over again on a different level. This is how we grow, how we evolve as human beings. Some stages last longer than others; it just depends on you and the process needed to get you through. I believe people will connect with this piece of art because it’s real life — truthful and honest, while vulnerable. Nina Simone stated, “art should reflect the times.” And look around, our communities need a revival, our society, our world. People are simply “surviving” and going through life like I was.This production gets them to “revive” and experience life. Breathe it, feel it and enjoy it. That’s living.

The PPI Pillar Awards event will be honoring five distinguished individuals for their work in the community, how difficult was it to narrow it down?
It was challenging to narrow down the recipients. I originally only wanted three honorees, but we have so many extraordinary people thriving and reviving our people and city every day that I had to expand the list. People are out there doing the needed work to make our communities greater and more unified.
The five honorees include:
Monica Haslip, executive director and pounder, Little Black Pearl
Miquel Torres, sr. director, field sales & marketing, Harmony Health Plan Inc.
Myiti Sengstacke Rice, president of Chicago Defender Charities
Tammera L. Holmes, CEO, Aerostar Consulting Corporation
The Reverend Dr. Clay Evans, founder, Fellowship Chicago
These five individuals are passionate, and their selfless spirits embody “Pillars.” They are staples in our communities and reflect those who are and represent our communities and haven’t forgotten about them.

Harmony WellCare is the sponsor of the event, how did that relationship develop and what goals do the organizations share?
PPI has been a community partner with Harmony Health Plan Inc. for over two years. Revival is the second production that Harmony has sponsored. PPI is blessed to have a sponsor that shares a vision and heart for our communities. PPI uses the arts, while Harmony uses health. We decided to share our resources together so that we can be a source of assistance to those in need. In the arts, we stress healthy lifestyles. Dance is exercise, and we must make healthy decisions in our earthling habits, etc. These are things we teach our students both young and old. This is what Harmony promotes. We also gravitated to Harmony because they ensure those who live in inner cities and disenfranchised communities are not overlooked but receive the same quality of life, health and benefits as anyone else. Praize Productions is housed on the South Side of Chicago. We wish to provide a high-quality arts education where it is not always accessible or affordable. Together, both PPI and Harmony promise to work together to help those in need and provide quality services in health and the arts.

Revival: The Answer will be presented on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24, 2018, at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, located at 915 E 60th St.