“Tough Brown Leather is compelling and superbly stimulates both emotion and serious thought and therefore is very worthy and well done.”
“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. 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 story starts when she is seven years old and she tells her father how much she wants to play football and her father gives the stereotypical answer of “girls don’t play football.” She, of course, disobeys him and does it anyway. Each football story acts as a punctuation mark between each tragedy of how she has been mistreated by men in her life. A pause between each emotional low, allowing the audience to breath before the next emotional gut punch."
“Ms. Jones weaves these narratives together, completes her metaphorical circles, and triumphs over all of her dilemmas in her life as her confident performance and credentials speak for themselves. Tough Brown Leather is an aptly named play in its display of perseverance and fortitude. In a time when sexual freedom and women’s rights has taken several steps back, here, we have a woman who tells young girls who have been victimized; this is not your burden, this is not your shame, you are not a slut and you can rise above.”
A sexual hero’s journey. Sara is the spunky, eight-year-old star running back of her street football team. But off the field, she can’t outrun the attack of a sexual predator. As Sara transitions into womanhood, the effects of the childhood attack stay with her. She takes a few hits, but never stays down for long. Tough Brown Leather is a testament to the human capacity to survive, heal and embrace one’s sexual power.
Tough Brown Leather was developed with the support of Caldera Arts and the Ford Foundation.
TONYA JONES is a writer and performing artist who is interested in using art as a common language to facilitate dialogue, bridge cultures and communities, and inspire civic engagement. Originally from Newark, NJ, she holds a BA from Howard University and a MFA from Columbia University.
At Columbia, Tonya was awarded the Schubert Presidential Fellowship and starred in the world premiere of James Baldwin’s Another Country, directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus. She has appeared in several independent films, commercials and stage productions, both off-Broadway and in regional theatre. Some of her credits include Richard III, As You Like It, Intimate Apparel, The Hound of the Baskervilles and Low Level Panic. Additionally, Tonya has written for the stage, magazines, and comedy sites.
Tonya has also held teaching positions with Manhattan Theatre Lab, Classic Stage Company, Columbia University’s Summer Institute, and a number of NYC and Los Angeles public schools.
MICHAEL PHILLIP EDWARDS is an award-winning writer, director and actor for stage and screen, recently nominated for a 2016 Stage Raw Award for Best Playwright for his play Sister. Other notable works for the stage include the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Scotsman Award Winner “Runt” (first Black writer-performer in history of the festival to receive that award).
Michael has directed tours for New York Off-Broadway, London, Adelaide, Australia, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Canada and Jamaica. For the screen, Michael has directed seven feature films, most recently Haunted Jamaica, a feature documentary for Netflix and On Demand, as well as the narrative feature film Murder 101, now in wide release and VOD.