Monday, February 06, 2017

"Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies"

Theatrical adventure #21 was "Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies" at the Atlas Center for the Performing Arts under the production of the Mosaic Theater Company. 
Getting there was a bit of an adventure and I learned a shortcut or two for the next time I attend an event there. The Atlas Center houses a descent sized theater space, 2 smaller Lab theaters and dance rehearsal facilities that host a wide range of performances from acrobats to puppets, to jazz ensembles to the Gay Men's Chorus. 

"Hooded" is a new play and this was it's world premiere. The cast was made up of 8 actors, some of whom played multiple roles. The male leads Keith L. Royal Smith (Marquis) and Jeremy Keith Hunter (Tru) were wonderful and formed the main relationship of the story. Marquis adopted by a white family and living in a upper middle-class white suburban neighborhood and Tru who grew up in the inner city. Tru assumes the task of transforming Marquis into the nigga he's failed to become. The story is written with humor and at times great candor. The author toys with some really interesting plot constructs, dances around a comparison of Friedrich Nietzsche and Tupac Shakur, but in the end fails to say anything of real importance, spins us down a subplot that goes no where logical people live to make a rather banal point--and in doing so looses both momentum and focus until all he's left with at the end is a cliché. I so wanted this to work out well after the first hour, but was left crushed by the simplicity of the "conclusion".  The sets and lighting were curious but adequate. Some of the best text projection for the deaf and hard of hearing I've seen used thus far.
Opening scene with Officer Borzoi (Frederick Strother), and Tru (Jeremy Keith Hunter) and Marquis (Keith L. Royal Smith) in jail where they meet for the first time.
The Ascension Heights Prep School gang: Fielder (Josh Adams) and Hunter (Dylan Morris Myers) horsing around.
Marquis and his "girlfriend" Clementine (Madeline Burrows)--she was another bright spot the acting regime that was all very well done.
The Prep School gang joined by Tru
Tru and Marquis in Marquis' bedroom hanging out.
Marquis and Clementine's first date.
Marquis is visited in his dreams by Apollo (Frederick Strother) and Dionysis (Josh Adams). 
In Tru's crib.
The end...

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