“When the Past Comes Back” Review by Peggy Freeman

              “When the Past Comes Back”

by Mildred Dumas


When the Past Comes Back is an award winning drama presented by Rochellewilliams.net at the Inglewood Center for Spiritual Living in Inglewood, California on Friday through Sunday June 21-23, 2013.  The Play proves to be a colorful and dramatic murder mystery about the deadly act of hazing.  The scene takes place in the mansion of Sybil, a real estate tycoon.


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After thirty years Sybil calls for a reunion with her highly successful college mates from thirty years ago. Hubby and the hired help are conveniently out of town for the weekend and the ladies are left to fend for themselves in her glorious mansion.  Sybil’s peculiar attitude puzzles the women as she is constantly talking about death, envy and the mysterious Louise.  It seems the women’s past is catching up with them.  Sybil, who has called them together to confess to murder.  All eight Deshanna Finn (Frances), Makesia Gaines (Margaret), Angela Heard (Lethea), Sabrina Morales (Paulette), Shalese Madison (Julianna), Crystal Nix (Sybil), Cynthia Pope (Rosaline), and Sonja Zanders (Cynthia) perform dramatic scenes of dysfunction, delusion and deception.


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The antagonist, Lethea seems to be the only one who does not display remorse because of the hazing incident.  Instead Lethea, attorney at law, goes into lawyer mode, taking her defense skills to another level.  In an eloquent dissertation, Lethea convinces everyone that it would be ludicrous to confess to murder. Lethea coldly delivers a statement that she is not willing to turn herself over to the police because of an accident.  She callously creates an alibi for her and the group after Sybil sneaks out during the night to go to the police.  The alibi Lethea places the entire blame on Sybil.  Then Sybil pulls out a revolver, places it on her temple and pulls the trigger right in front of the women.


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Lights out….

Hazing is a popular college practice that still takes place today. Young men and women pledging for fraternity and sorority status commit physically dangerous acts against one another that sometimes leads to death.  In this dramatic play, When the Past Comes Back, the reality of the ladies’ crimes haunts them yet no one wants to come forward with the truth for fear of retribution.


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As always, playwright, Mildred Dumas writes material that is entertaining yet speaks to the consciousness of her audience.  NAACP Image Award nominee Matilda Haywood takes the play to another level with musical melodies between scenes.  Songs include When the Past Comes Back to Stormy Monday and Mercy Mercy Me. With many twists and turns, talented actors render the story in a thought provoking, exciting and mysterious way.


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When the Past Comes Back is a play that dares to tell the truth about the little known facts of hazing.  The fact is no one really knows how hazing affects the victims, family and perpetrators because there is very little closure in some cases of death.


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At the end of the play a special guest talked about her experience with hazing. Her daughter and another child were drowned at Dockweiler beach in Los Angeles.  Although it has been many years since the incident occurred, no one has confessed the truth.  Ms. Fargas began an organization entitled, Mothers against Hazing, in hopes that the senseless practice will cease. Contact her at: pfargas@aol.com for more information.


Bravo to the playwright, cast and members for an excellent rendition of this seriously entertaining piece.



Rochelle Williams –(Producer) -Coordinates, organizes, promotes and produces workshops, seminars, musicals, art shows and auctions for nonprofit organizations. On the Board of Directors for Inglewood Cultural Arts, Inc.

Crystal Nix – Sybil  (Director) – 20 years in film and theater. Nominated for 2001 NAACP theatre award. She teaches music, drama, dance, choreography, directing and script writing.

Mildred Dumas –(Playwright) – Holds numerous credits. Playwright, actor of stage, screen and television for more than 40 yrs. 2001 Nominee for When the Past Comes Back. Look for upcoming film Bitter Inheritance; www.bitterinheritancethemovie.com.

Cynthia Pope – Rosaline – Actor and television show host and producer. Entre Nous (between us) broadcast 4 years. 2008 Living Legend Award for Women in Entertainment recipient. Graduate of Cal State University, Long Beach.

Shalese Madison – Julianna  – Actor with credits in The Power of Will, Gospel in a Nutshell, Footloose –LA. & others. Works as a medical practitioner.

Naomi Pryor-Stenson – Director – Actor, writer and director of stage plays and musicals. Former drama student at the Communicative Arts Academy of Compton, CA. Founding member of the Paul Robeson Players and member of Carson Community players.

Angela Heard – Lethea – Holds numerous stage and television credits. Attended Peabody Conservatory of Dance in Baltimore & U.S. International Univ. San Diego.  Traveled several years with the hit play, Beauty Shop.

Matilda Haywood – Music Director – Musician, composer and actor. Vocalist on several television shows and performed at the Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage, CA., the Biltmore Hotel in L. A., Santa Monica and Long Beach Nominated for best music director award by the NAACP Image awards 2001.

Sonja Zanders – Cynthia – Actor of one woman shows, Lena Horne, Mahalia Jackson and Billie Holiday. Actor on stage, singer, choir director and performs voices dialects.

David Cousins – Lighting & Sound Director – Lighting director in theater and night clubs. Music teacher at Fernando Pullman School of Arts and musician.  Installs lighting for stages such as the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center and Inglewood Center for Spiritual Living.

Sabrina Morales – Paulette – Actor and music director.  Appeared in film, television, print and on the catwalk. Holds a BA from Univ. of Iowa & Masters of Music from Butler University, Indiana

Linda Ricks – Lighting & Sound Assistant – Lighting assistant and community activist. Participant of the Hyde Park-Miriam Matthews Library, Neighborhood Council- 8th District, Crenshaw Metro Rail & other projects.

Deshanna Finn – Frances – Founded the Performing Arts Club at Honors High School where she wrote, directed and produced plays.

Peque Brown – Set Designer/Decorator – Long history of working in creative design, fine arts, commercial art, murals, stage backdrops and marketing. Creative Director of LIQUID, a youth performing arts program. Studied marketing at the Art Institute of California, San Diego and worked at Freelance Artist/Illustrator.

Zeta Khi Songlyrics by Midred Dumas, Music – Jacob Johnston and Arrangement – Matilda Haywood




3 Responses to “When the Past Comes Back” Review by Peggy Freeman

  1. Great Review, sorry I missed it. The message is so important.

    Thanks Peggy

  2. Makeisa Gaines

    Makeisa Gaines played Margaret

  3. It’s great that you are getting thoughts from this piece of writing as well as
    from our dialogue made at this place.

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