Saturday, January 29, 2011

This Is What It Feels Like, When Theatre Works.

Kenny Leon, director extraordinaire, has done it again. This time, it's a play presented by his own True Colors Theatre,it's entitled "Broke-ology" and it has Leon at the helm.
I attended the Regional Premiere, on Friday night, with the sweet Coral McGhee, a dear friend I've known for nearly 21 years, and my eternal friend, author Collin Kelley.The stylish Southwest Arts Center in south Atlanta includes a great place for mingling before-the-show, with local artists' works exhibited throughout the large open spaces.
I was thrilled to see a full house, and the theatre itself is large and impressive.
Jasmine Guy is ethereal as the haunting wife, Sonia King.Her forlorn husband, William King is played with precision, and with devastating honesty, by Afemo Omilami.
The two sons, Ennis and Malcolm, are played with conviction by Enoch King, and Eric J. Little, respectively.Ennis could be played broadly just for laughs, and Enoch King's comedic skills are impressive(he is hilarious!), but this actor chooses wisely, and we are treated to a complex human being who uses humor as his way of coping.Eric J. Little's tortured Malcolm is the catalyst for much of what occurs in this funny but ultimately thought-provoking piece of what I'd call 'lightning-bolt' theatre.
Lightning fast delivery, bolt-from-the-dark-of-night revelations in the form of dreams, inanimate objects that provoke, and what could be mirages, and moral dilemmas (one in particular) are the center of the play.
Surround this with a set which beautifully reflects a sense of being "stuck": a front door laden with bars for safety(ostensibly), but there is a palpable sense of being locked-in, as well as keeping trouble, locked-out, while other elements onstage, including superb lighting and nostalgic music, suggest being suddenly freed.
Billowing streams of curtains suggest the sails of a faraway boat, a rainbow after rain, a shroud...
As I readied to leave the theatre(my hands hurt from clapping so much, but it was well worth the hurt), I remarked to Collin, "This play reminds me of why I love theatre so much..."
Knowing I am an actor, he quipped "Well, it reminds me why I love SEEING theatre, Lisa..."
And though I love acting onstage, in this case, he's more accurate, as I wouldn't trade the rich experience I had seated, for one onstage.
When you experience this play as an audience member, you'll find yourself laughing hysterically one minute, and a moment later, your heart will be broken.
I'm sure the actors onstage enjoyed their well-deserved standing ovation, but given the enormity of the play, I know as an actor the real excitement comes from the (brilliant) discoveries they made, and will continue to make, during this evocative play's run.
Don't miss this play about the all-too-real needs of human beings. That we are validated. Cared for. Loved.


Galen Pearl said...

I remember Jasmine Guy from her younger years. So nice to hear something about her.

Lisa Allender said...

galen-- thank you; she's just great. ;)