This was an enormously exciting production of Merchant of Venice, a reminder that theater can be (in fact, must be!) nervy.
Dominique Morisseau’s earnest Pipeline is a “message” play, American style.
An apocalyptic backdrop gives the play urgency, especially given the current worldwide struggle to contain the Corvid-19 virus, which has already claimed thousands of lives.
There’s much to admire and appreciate about this MRT production; but the play’s lack of a solid dramatic spine is a crippling problem.
Given Dickens’ penny-a-word driven verbosity and his fondness for resolving every plot point with a flurry of coincidences, adapter McEleney seems undecided: is this history play a tragedy or a farce?
Cheryl McMahon is quietly spectacular as Ida, who tries desperately to conceal her cognitive decline behind a wall of egocentric cheerfulness that borders on the frantic.
The stories in Citrus exhibit a powerful commonality: these portraits of th3e experiences of black women suggest that, over time, everything and nothing has changed.
As my second wave feminist companion said as we left the theater, “That was hilarious. And I am SO ANGRY.”
The only way forward, to go beyond American myths of innocence, is to confront the enduring crimes of the past.
For me, Sweat hits its riveting stride in its second half, when the pressures of the strike tests the relationships of its working class characters.