Friday, October 6, 2017

BR’ER COTTON …in West Hollywood

This forceful new play takes place in Lynchburg, Virginia, ‘Right-right now’ and shocking daily news stories seem to be incorporated into the dialogue. Angered by omnipresent headlines, where unarmed black men are killed by cops, a 14 year old black youth (Omete Anassi) determines to go into battle. 

His hard working mother (Yvonne Huff Lee) fights to keep her son out of danger, while his grandfather (Christopher Carrington), who in his youth lived through times of terror, gently mocks this growing passion even as he tries to assuage it.

With great insight, playwright Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm shows us that we live in a complicated world and only chaos and sorrow ensue when racial lines are drawn. A friendly police officer (Shawn Law), whose kind heart is covered by his intimidating uniform, brings perspective to an easy stereotype. 

In violent video games, played with a distant stranger/friend (Emmaline Jacott), the enemies are obvious - a terrifying armed big guy (Dane Oliver), and half-clad gal (Jasmine Wright) - but in life it’s not so simple.
Chisholm suggests that as long as each character recognizes their shared humanity all will be well. Then he shows that when we objectify people our human bond is broken. Twice, in this haunting play, I wept.

The superb cast are directed with brilliant intensity by Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble’s Gregg T. Daniel. Plaudits to David Mauer (set), Wendell C. Carmichael (Costumes) and Doug Oliphant for awesome choreography. Produced by Racquel Lehrman of Theatre Planners.

The Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, through Oct 29. Reservations: 323-960-7787 or Street parking.

Photos by Ed Krieger.

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