Steven Simoncic’s play is set in the present where a Yuppie couple move into a newly renovated house in a poor black neighborhood in Chicago. These privileged whites are now in the hood where crack pipes and graffiti soon desecrate their neat little yard. As if from separate planets, they gaze at their neighbors with alarm and timid fellowship while the African American couple next door are equally hesitant as they offer them welcome.
Basic to the story is the need for the black family to cling to their roots in this ramshackle old house once owned by grandparents. Simoncic shows the poignant loss when one’s heritage is being swept away by encroaching gentrification. There are no villains in this story. Poverty has its own rationale and if one day the guy next door is stealing their boxes, the next week they’re sharing a bottle of beer.Bruce A. Lemon Jr. and Donna Simone Johnson show complex depths of feeling as the shy black neighbors; Coronado Romero and Mia Fraboni are excellent as the ingenuous white intruders; Kris Frost and Ivy Khan are suburban whites personified;
Ben Theobald is the racially enigmatic resident punk, while James Holloway is dynamic as the local cynic who knows how to play the race card and win.
Smoothly directed by Andre Barron and produced by Donald Russell for Road Theatre Company. At the NoHo Senior Arts Colony, 10747 Magnolia Blvd, NoHo, through April 3. Tickets: 818-761-8838 or visit www.RoadTheatre.org.
Photos by Michele Young.