All the Natalie Portmans

All the Natalie Portmans
OutFront Theatre
through February 19, 2022

Playwright C. A. Johnson may have injected a lot of her own psyche into this work about a young girl trying to find her way through the dark alleys of life. In the play you meet Keyonna (Kayla Parker) who is still in school in her teen years, and dealing with coming out of the closet. She is always thinking about Natalie Portman, the brilliant actor and what roles she mastered.

Keyonna is addicted to Portman and keeps clipping every photo she can find of Portman to pin to her big bulletin board in the apartment she shares with her mother and brother. Her mother (Nhadyne Banton Brown) is deep into AA and when we meet her she is usually sloshed. That makes the mother-daughter relationship less than cordial most times. The brother, Samuel (Jared D. Howard) is working at a lousy job and there is a constant problem of how to pay the rent; as well as his own relationships in life.

Keyonna’s object of affection in real life is Chantel (Taloria Merricks) who may not always have the same emotional connection. So who is Keyonna to look to for help? Maybe it is only to Natalie Portman, who she imagines showing up in so many instances to guide her through life. It’s like the coach yelling out that you can do anything you want to do; just go do it. . . .

Nikki Toombs directs this poignant and hard working trip into the mind of Keyonna; and maybe a side trip into your own. It isn’t for the kiddies nor the Miss Prims, but it is a good doorway into what is often the highway of life for so many of us.

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