Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Deep Breath of Theatre:"True Colors" Does It, Again!

I'm not certain there are enough adjectives in the entire world to fully describe how magnificent the True Colors Theatre Company production of "The Colored Museum" at Friday night's Premiere, was.
Director Jasmine Guy's interpretation of George C. Wolfe's play, filled with alternately harrowing and hilarious subject matter, is genius.
The play opens with a reference to the most shameful chapter in American history, yet it does so with an open heart, a joyful heart. "The Colored Museum" spurs us towards joy, even as we experience, through various vignettes played by several actors in multiple roles: the alienation, night after empty night in a bar that a disenfranchised young man feels;the outrage of a mother;the loss a(Vietnam-era?)soldier feels...
Ms.Guy manages to create the tension we must have to get what I'd call "fully-vested theatre"(action we cannot look away from)while simultaneously relieving that same tension with over-the-top(yet still believeable)parodies of dance, mime, and even minstrel-shows.The ability to weave this together, such that we are enchanted and stunned/scared/horrified in the same moment, was so shocking that I found myself frequently unconsciously holding my breath.
There is an overwhelming sense of heritage and pride in being African-American in every celebration in this play, while at the same time, an exhausting sense of loss of identity for all African-Americans struggling to make it in this (still-racist) world.
Enoch King (he formerly starred in True Colors'"Brokeology")is entertaining, as always. Entertaining, and poignant.
Danielle Deadwyler is captivating as well.
But this is an ensemble piece, and every actor in "The Colored Museum" is gifted, convincing, and thoroughly engaging.
The music(Composer Russell Gunn and Sound designer, Bobby Johnston)acts as catalyst in the series of vignettes.
The set(Designer, Kat Conley) is constructed as "cells" of light.It evokes prison, glass, mirrors, and make-believe.
The costumes, designed by Sydney Roberts(especially the talented Je Nie Fleming's Diva-character Lala Lamazing Grace's stunning gown)are perfection.
My only disappointment was the show's length(too brief): just over 90 minutes.
But this means a couple (or bring the family!)could go see the play, go to dinner afterwards if they wish, and still get home in plenty of time to let the dog out.
True Colors Theatre calls itself "A Moveable Feast Of Theater".This means that their shows literally move...they bring their shows to various venues throughout Atlanta.
A recent show, "Brokeology" was, for example, held at Southwest Arts Center.
This show, "The Colored Museum", takes place in Decatur's Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center.
A beautifully designed space, with a 500-seat theater, and lovely surroundings, it's well worth the drive to Decatur.
Make the short drive to Decatur, and you'll begin the journey once you arrive:
A journey through time, stereotypes, heartbreak, laughter,and breaking free.

Peace, kids.


Don't Feed The Pixies said...

ok - so a lot of your posts recently have been about plays that are in the USA and, as such, i will never get to see - hence my lack of responses.

But i wanted to drop by and say that, regardless of this i still read your blog and enjoy your passion for theatre

Lisa Allender said...

Pixies--THANK YOU< sweetie!By the way, Kenny Leon, the Artistic Director of Atlanta's own True Colors, is also a Tony-nominated, Broadway Director.(For "Fences", which won Best Actor for Denzel Washington,last year, and "Best Revival of a Play",too).
I have a feeling Mr. Leon will eventually wing his way "across the pond" and do theatre in London, one day soon, Pixies. :D