31
Mar

Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End

Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End
Aurora Theatre
through April 14, 2019

Who would have thought that an average housewife from the mid-west might wind up as columnist whose works were syndicates to 900 newspapers. She was an icon up until her passing in the 1996. Some of her lines were like Groucho’s. If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?

This one-actor, one-act show is brilliantly brought to life on the small stage at Aurora by Lane Carlock, on a neat small set under the direction of Megan Rose-Houchins. It is always a challenge to imagine how one person can be in front of an audience fr more than an hour and remember every single line. It’s a rare talent and one that Lane obviously enjoys.

Even when its over, it’s as if Yogi were there to tell you It ain’t over ‘till it’s over. Aurora is in Lawrenceville, free garage parking and goodies, and always a pleasure. More info at AuroraTheatre.com

31
Mar

Pipeline

Pipeline
Horizon Theatre
through April 21, 2019

The pipeline is how some folks describe the school-to-prison experience of some young people in our communities. This work by Dominique Morisseau premiered at Lincoln Center and now is playing here at the Horizon. You may also have recently seen her play, Skeleton Crew at True Colors Theatre.

In this work we meet Nya (Wendy Fox-Williams) who is a teacher at a public school. She is a single mom who has her son, Omari (Stephen Ruffin) enrolled in a private school, so he will get what she feels is a better start in life. But it isn’t working out as well as she planned when Omari gets emotionally disturbed by the teachers always asking him to comment on social issues. We may assume that he was perhaps the only black student in his class, so this became a problem.

Laurie (Vicki Ellis Gray) is a colleague of Nya and Jasmine (Asia Howard) is the object of Omari’s affection. Like many teenagers, life could create an abyss into which they emotionally fall and from which they feel the need to escape in some manner. Omari gets into a dispute at school for the third time, and as in many schools, the rule is three strikes and you’re out.

As Nya is trying to deal with this she suffers a panic attack and goes to the hospital. Her ex, Xavier (Jay Jones) shows up to try to take over Omari’s life, and that isn’t going to work out, either. And the school security officer who is in over his head most days, is played by Lamar K. Cheston.

This one act play is directed by Tinashe Kajese Bolden and Keith Arthur Bolden, and the incredible set is by Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay. When we reflect upon the happenings in many schools around our country and what is being done, or not done, to provide better facilities and curricula, this play is timely. More info at HorizonTheatre.org

31
Mar

Angry Fags

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angry Fags
Horizon Theatre
through April 14, 2019

Local genius playwright, Topher Payne, had started this one some years ago, but this is a premiere of the updated version, as he deals with social and political problems of our nation which isn’t getting so great again, very quickly. As the French would say, The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Directed by Kate Donadio MacQueen in association with Ibi Owolabi, the cast of 7 players come on with gusto. Bennett (Gregory Hernandez) has split with his significant other and moved in with Cooper (Cody Russell). The time is after Potus is out of office, bu things aren’t idyllic yet. Cooper is doing PR for a gay senator.

When Bennett’s ex, gets brutally assaulted at a gay bar, the attack can’t be classified as a hate crime. Couldn’t be “hate” just because Adam is not black; he’s just another fag.

Bennett is doing speech writing and PR for a Georgia senator. Adam (Brandon Patrick) is Chief of Staff for a senator. Allison Haines (Gina Rickicki) is the only lesbian senator and Peggy Musgrove (Paris Starter) is her black Republican nemesis. And Kimberly Phillip (Kelly Chris) is a politicians office manager.

All hell breaks loose when Brandon’s roomie, Cooper (Cody Russell) goes off the deep end. Time for gays to take up arms in their revolution. What? Gays taking the offensive against those who discredit them? Who could conceive of such a thing? But, . . . when you think about it, in this insane society in which we live, could this sort of thing be ruled out. No way, Jose.

While there is a lot of humor in the first half of the play, there is a lot of riotous angst towards the end. It is not for Ms. Prim or the tots, as there are explosions, yelling and the use of the F-word as the universal modifier. But, for the rest of us it is quite a couple of hours of fine acting that moves us to put our brains in running mode. More info at 7Stages.org

28
Mar

Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous
Alliance Theatre
through April 14, 2019

This world premiere of Pearl Cleage at the Alliance is quite a bit different than what you might have anticipated. It is a story of a couple of women who come back to Atlanta after decades living abroad. Anna Campbell (Terry Burrell) is an actor without a gig, and hoping to get back on the boards at a festival being produced by Kate Hughes (Jenie Fleming). The show starts with the problem of Anna’s ego getting to be a hazard. She is sharing a suite with her partner Betty Samson,(Marva Hicks) who is trying to manipulate their way around that ego.

Without getting into too many details, Anna’s most famous performance was her monologues of the excerpts from the works of playwright August Wilson. She was working in Amsterdam, maybe in the red light district, and her work won appreciation. But, she was getting on in years. Betty wants to bring a younger lass on stage, and therein lies the problem.

Enter Precious Watson (Ericka Ratcliff) who prefers her pseudonym, “Pete”. Pete is of a totally different background, other than race; and Anna can’t see the inner values of this woman. The show is all about how we can assess the value of a person by listening to them and thinking about why and how others feel as they do. What is really good about the show is how Pearl fashioned this with a barrage of laughter out of angst.

The show is a one-act running about 90 minutes, and is presented on the new Coca Cola Stage, directed by Susan V. Booth, on a really grand set. More info at AllianceTheatre.org

26
Mar

Look / Don’t Touch

Look / Don’t Touch
Atlanta Ballet