I was invited by a friend to a play last night in which her boyfriend has a part. It was one of those great little pleasures in life for those of us who enjoy the intimacy of small theater. The actors and the audience were separated by no more than 10 feet. You could see the emotions in the actors' eyes and at times even hear their breathing.
It was a small theater—less than a hundred seats—but well lit, with great sound all the way around. The play itself, titled How to Love a Black Woman, How to Love a Black Man, was endearingly funny and entertaining.
The story centers around an African American woman who works hard to improve her marriage and her relationship with her African American husband. He is a psychologist who counsels others on how to have a healthy relationship, while his own wife struggles to keep him interested in his home and family.
The story comes full circle during a symposium put together by the husband to help a group of young, black men understand who they are and how they can get the love they deserve.
Each of the men attending the symposium have their own character flaws and issues, and the actors who play these young men all hit the mark. They were able to entertain us with loads of laughs as well as make us reflect and think of our own characters with a little depth.
The play is written and directed by Rene Margary, who also plays the main character in the play. Now, I'm no expert on theater productions and don't have the background to rate this play. However, from the point of view of an eager audience member who sees plays for entertainment and perhaps some perspective, I can honestly say that this play was both enjoyable and thought-provoking.
The characters were complex and well sketched out—the kind that most of us can relate to one way or another. The acting was superb. Because it was the opening night, there were a few kinks and mishaps, but the show proceeded smoothly. No nerves were detected in the actors voices, and a bit of improvisation and interaction with the audience created a very comfortable and intimate atmosphere (isn’t that why most of us go to small theater productions anyway?).
A friend of mine named Billy Porter is the only white actor in the play, and he wonderfully portrays a very colorful Puerto Rican character. By the end of the show, I felt very close and attached to all the talented actors in this very funny and upbeat play. I highly recommend it.
The play is on from August 2 through August 12 at Stage 52 Playhouse, located on 5299 W. Washington Blvd, 90016.
Click here for more information about the play and tickets, or visit these two websites:
I took the accompanying photos with my cell phone, and they are not of great quality, but you get a little idea of the energy on stage. Hope some of you will get to see this play and support this talented group of people.