This intriguing new play, inspired by a true story, seems to suggest a racial conflict but author-producer George W, Corbin has larger issues to explore. In a black, tightly-knit sorority on an Iowa campus tragedy has struck. When a young woman dies, leading members of Kappa Lambda Nu (The Kush) are questioned by a detective: was it an accident, suicide or murder?
The play takes us back in time and we must decide if their actions and decisions, motivated by a need to protect the sorority, are morally defensible.
The superb cast deliver amazingly delineated performances. Vanoy Burnough is dynamic as the embittered Clara; Alisa Murray is a poignant Rhonda; Dee Dee Stephens is magisterial as attorney-to-be Brenda; Hannah Mae Sturges is endearing as controversial pledge Kathy, and Brandon Raines is charming as an honorable sports coach.
Mack Miles is authoritative as Detective Diggs; Paris Nicole is touching as Ida, and Conor Sheehan amuses as a Frat Boy crashing into their house in his Confederate army uniform.
Director Veronica Thompson creates a vivid picture of life in a proud black sorority in the 1960’s. The set by Mark V, Jones is effective, but one hopes scene changes can be speeded up as they do halt the emotional drive of the play.
Playwright Corbin is a Brother of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at Cornell University and his meaningful play was developed in the Robey Theatre Company’s Advance Playwrights Lab.
At The Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd, (Highland Ave) through Oct 29. Tickets: (213) 908-5032 or https://corbinkush.eventbrite.com
Photos by Alberto Santillan.