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The Blacks: a Clown Show

ensemble theatre · orig-o-nal theatre company · Ages 15+ · United States of America

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Review by AREN MENDEZ

June 08, 2015
IMPORTANT NOTE: We cannot certify this reviewer attended a performances of this show because no ticket was purchased through this website or the producer has not verified they attended.

My overall impression

Blown away by this show!!! I don’t want to say it’s funny, cuz it’s actually sad. What we are talking about sad stereotypes that have been around a long time, but the Director Craig Gibson does a great job of moving stuff along and making the audience feel discomfort. It definitely lends itself to a dark clown show.

The 1-hr cut of Genet is simply brilliant and moves along with enough humor and physical comedy to anchor us when we get lost in the absurdity. At times I had a hard time hearing the main ringleader Archibald (Arielle Siler) and the lover Village (Gyasi Silas in a energetic and heartbreaking performance) when he was upstage, but there were some wonderful performances by Snow (played to the fullest emotional and physical expression by Precious Ra-Akbar) and The Queen (played by Donna Simone Johnson with such abandon, I couldn’t help but be drawn to her even when the focus wasn’t on the “Whites.”) I also really enjoyed the Valet (Carissa Pinckney, who brought great energy to a small role) and Diouf (a lovely and powerful John C. Sweet who is so strong and arresting, but has honed his vulnerability so well that it almost breaks your heart.)

I could name every actor… everyone in this cast is amazing. I was wowed by the complexity of language, the pace and the crazy events happening usually all at once. I’ll be honest, I think I only understood 40%, but I don’t know a lot of Genet, and so I’ll see it again. The parts I did understand were steeped in the sad truth. Go see this beautiful production !

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