Jar The Floor
On Stage Atlanta
through March 21, 2021
What a total delight in these days to get to see a live performance in a local theater, that is so superbly done. Just know that On Stage Atlanta more than just conforms to the basic health protection protocols. Seating is distanced, everything is sanitized, temperatures are checked on arrival, no big gatherings in the lobby, and masks anytime you are on the premises. Even the actors are taking cautions wearing clear full face shields, so you can not only hear the lines but see the expressions.
The story is about a black family in Illinois, that is trying to arrange for a 90th birthday celebration for the eldest matriarch, MaDear (Barbara Washington). Madear is losing some of those marbles as well as some mobility; but as we know, getting old ain’t for sissies. Four generations of the family come to the stage. MaDear is the mother of Lola (Lateefah Mosley) who has some issues with her mother as well as with her daughter, MayDee (Irene Polk). The youngest of the four finally shows up. She is Vennie (Kailan Daugherty) who is a typical free spirit who doesn’t seem to adhere to the established behavioral programs that her elders might deem appropriate.
This play by Cheryl L. West won a 1995 NAACP Best Play Award, and although it is a black family, it could be anybody’s, of any background. This is another one of those families that brings to mind that should you look up the word “dysfunctional” in the OED, that it should just say “see Family.”
The fifth player is Vennie’s BFF, Raisa (Amy L. Levin) who is from a totally different background than the others. So, amidst all the yelling, bitching and bickering, you start to think that you probably know some of these folks, regardless of your own heritage.
The show has a way of projecting a lot of humor as it is dealing with angst. A fine cast with a cool set and under the direction of Nat Martin; this one is a Must See. Spoiler: to Jar the floor is to dance on it. So Happy 90th MaDear. . . . More info and tickets at OnStageAtlanta.com