Friday, October 22, 2021

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    ‘Thoughts Of A Colored Man’ Broadway Review: Seven Men And A Neighborhood Brought To Exhilarating Life

    This Broadway The season, as Stop and Start has been, is blessed with some really great moments – and blessedly watched with fewer disappointments. alive pass over A perfect curtain raiser for the awakening of an industry. lacvana blues felt like a tonic, and is this a room A work of art as gruesome as it is with roots in the Trump era to this day.

    And as worthy of praise as those productions are, all feel a bit like Keenan Scott II’s remarkable prologue. thoughts of a colorful man Opens, the first fully realized reflection of the shutdown era. A play of immense compassion and deep insight, with a grip on the dreams and disappointments of its characters, thoughts of a colorful man have a peen Life as both survival and celebration, a tribute and exploration of black men who find beauty, dignity, despair and inspiration where they can.

    Combining spoken word, slam poetry, laugh-out-loud comedy, drama, and razor-sharp dialogue, Scott’s words are inspired by Steve H. Broadnax III directories that are so endearing they gasp. The playwright and director are both Broadway newcomers, and their thoughts of a colorful man A miracle from beginning to end.

    Set in a Brooklyn neighborhood that begins to feel the changes of gentrification, the play tells the stories of seven black men who share both space and heritage. Each character goes nameless by the end of the play – with one exception that won’t spoil here – although what is revealed are not actually the names of the character subjects. One calls himself love, the other happiness, the other knowledge, etc.

    Da Vinci, Dillon Burnside
    Juliet Servants

    Names, however, do not limit characters, include them in neat pointers, but serve as themes for exploration, starting points for considering the various and complex factors that inspired, frustrated them. and inspire. For example, a character known as Lust, not simply the personification of sexual libido, is a comical, layering predator, but a young man whose longing for connection finds its most obvious expression, both physical and real.

    Presenting themselves alone and in various groups – the latter most happily arriving in a scene set at a neighborhood barbershop – are:

    • Love (Dylan Burnside) and Lust (Da’Vinci), childhood friends, given one poem, the other touching, and each dedicated to the other through good times and bad;
    • Happiness (Brian Terrell Clark), a bogey gay man who just arrived, is moving in with his boyfriend to a condo in a new high-rise, which is not entirely welcome in the neighborhood;
    • Wisdom (Esau Pritchett), barbershop owner and veteran of the Black Power movements of the 60s and 70s, a mentor and guide who lives up to expectations;
    • Passion (Luke James), a young teacher who delights in sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for life with his “126 children”;
    • Depression (Forrest McClendon), a suffocating intellectual who gave up a scholarship at MIT to care for his ailing mother, and who now works to stock the shelves at Whole Foods;
    • Anger (Tristan Mack Wilds), a once promising basketball player, is now dedicated to coaching student athletes who have all the opportunities he’ll never get.

    In one vignette after another, presented as a day in the life of this Brooklyn neighborhood, the characters — beautifully portrayed by one of the best performers on New York’s stage today — come to life so clearly and With such authenticity that we are constantly caught off guard by the unexpected. Khushi, for example, starts her day with a jog, taking in the sights of her new neighborhood—she’s originally from all the way south of Manhattan—and in doing so allows us to explore these old streets with her eyes. demands to be seen. Later, when this newcomer first arrives at the barbershop, his dilemma—to come out, or not to come out—is portrayed with such panache in the second part of pure comic inspiration that reviews The audience applauded and laughed at the performance that all but stopped the scene.

    In Shoe Line: Tristan Mack Wilds, Dylan Burnside, Forrest McClendon, Da Vinci
    Juliet Servants

    Selecting other passages and monologues here seems both random and unfair, but since ideas Not so much a narrative plot as Impressionist moments, here’s just a sample of what you can expect:

    • Addressing anger to the audience, as he stocks grocery shelves and thinks store aisles are “cotton fields,” displays an inner life his customers will never understand. He advises them and us, “You can talk to a genius. You might be talking to Me
    • A controversy over the new Air Jordan’s cultural significance, as debated, is accompanied by an unfailing sense of genuine conversation, as anger, love, depression and lust wait in line for the latest releases, each with a reason for their purchase. offers, lest one they are ignorant of the implications and nuances of these items of commerce and beauty;
    • In a slam soliloquy that must make its way to countless audition reels, Anger recounts his glory days on the basketball court, with “Man, I ain’t good” repeated with subtle changes in delivery at intervals, Heartwarming and exhilarating effect. “Good got away like Jordan. When I stepped on the court, the stars would align, the world stopped spinning, gravity stopped, and I was seen jumping higher. Man.. . I used to be no good.”

    beautifully lit on a largely empty stage (with a projection design by Sven Ortel in which Brooklyn realism and painterly flourishes, and, by all rights, notably the Tony Award category for this art form) must resume the call for a) connects the universe into one example almost literally: in a terrifying sequence that sees Burnsides Love reciting a poem against a starry night sky, but with As one, the audience is encased in pin-point illumination, a coup theater that brings all aspects of the production – Scott’s words, Broadnax’s direction, visual and aural design and the actor’s extreme fluidity – together pure. In a moment of transit. “I grabbed my moon easel and cloud palette,” he says, recalling a love at first sight, “and began adding stars to his masterpiece.”

    Amazingly, this is not the only moment, but attempting to name them all will be an attempt to play up the drama here from start to finish. Don’t pay too much attention to this: thoughts of a colorful man One of the best new plays to hit Broadway in ages pre-pandemic Age, to be clear – witty, poignant, complex and intelligent as the seven men and their offstage colleagues who give it breath.

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