The holiday season is upon us and, like most things in 2020, adaptation is the key to survival. One aspect in particular that most look forward to is the opportunity to participate in treasured holiday traditions; dinner with friends and family, decorating the home and attending Christmas-themed performances.
One performance that many in the Bay Area look forward to is the stage play from rising Oakland star Chris Cobbs. His stage production, “The Gift,” has become a regional must-have since its inception two years ago. Incorporating standard fare for stage: A family wrestling with a highly-charged event; the crisis and the emotional reconciliation. What Cobbs does exceptionally well, however, is repackage a familiar story for his generation.
“Growing up, I loved watching Tyler Perry plays, but when I began studying and producing my own plays, I realized that I didn’t want to just do what he did–I wanted to use my own voice to tell these stories.” Emerging from the renowned Oakland-arts magnet, Oakland School for the Arts (OSA), Chris is in the ranks of a budding crop of industry-shakers such as Zendaya, Adrian Marcel and notable songwriter, Jane Handcock, who is also a star in the production.
With the challenges that have occurred in 2020, Cobbs faced the possibility of having to cancel the production altogether and had to quickly pivot to figure out an alternative. With the help of his parents, a dedicated cast and crew and the power of prayer, Cobbs forged a path forward. He also received support and advice from industry players, Kalief Pleasants and Jeremy Gibson who helped with bringing in additional crew and some key partners to help take it to the next level.
“The Gift” will premiere on streaming platform, Veeps, which has become an industry leader in the virtual performance space. After the initial date of December 13, 2020, Cobbs and his team have scheduled to provide encore performances, depending on demand.