Wrapped a good run of a good production of GOODBYE RUBY TUESDAY at HotCity. Enjoyed it, which most audiences and half the critics did as well. Seemed like younger or female critics related to the story of a young woman abruptly leaving home and husband, and everyone connected to her doing their best to stop her. One critic called it the “best show of the year,” but others thought EM Lewis’ script was bit thin. However thin (or short, it was one hour long; or simple, a real time hour in a kitchen and bathroom of a lower middle class family) the script, it didn’t inhibit the process. I knew director Bill Whitaker was one of the hardest working directors I’ve ever encountered, and this show was no different. We workshopped (with the playwright), explored, blocked, rehearsed, then went the other way and continued exploring. With a very congenial and hard-working cast, the result was one of the most comfortable ensemble performances I’ve ever been part of. The only additional level of comfort would have been if we’d lived with each other for a while (a la MTV’s REAL WORLD.) It almost felt like we’d done that. But the genuine affection audiences had for this show revealed all our hard work. And HotCity was a great company to work with.
A great company I’m not going to be working with (formally) is The Black Rep. After a year as Marketing Director with the group, I’ve had to make an exit, stage left, to take another position in the business world. One of those life decisions that supercede the heartbreak of leaving the Black Rep staff. It’s been a challenging and joyous year. A significant measure of the joy was the director’s stint I handled for NO CHILD… Working with Patrese McClain was a memorable process, and audience and critical reaction to the show was tremendous. (NO CHILD… did have a dark moment – its revival at MICDS this past September was a shocking experience. For those who don’t know, MICDS is one of the best, priciest, most endowed schools in the world. The students, parents, teachers, theatre department – anyone interested in or concerned with high school education, diversity, the future – should have seen it. It was criminally, seemingly consciously ignored. Tragic.) I learned a few things about The Black Rep while working there: 1) They’re the most exciting theatre in town. 2) They provide the same caliber of work, number of productions, educational programs etc as The “other” “white” “whatever you want to call them” Rep. But they do it with a staff of five vs. 50 and a budget of a couple million vs. dozens of millions. 3) Ron Himes is a genius. And one of the most prolific, genuine storytellers and chroniclers of the American experience of our time (check out the shows he’s presented in the lat 35 years.) 4) African-American is an incorrect descriptor. It should be africanAMERICAN. And asianAMERICAN. And
irishAMERICAN. Etc. Etc.