Very nice curtains

Bwog sent a staff writer Vivian Klotz to the opening performance of Black Theatre Ensemble’s Festival of One Acts last night. Always in search of a good deal, the writer appreciated being able to see four plays for the price of one. The show is running once more in the Glicker-Milstein Theatre, Saturday, March 25, at 7 pm. Tickets are $5 with CUID/BCID and $7 without.

The first play, Colder than Winter, opened with a dimly lit stage, bare, with the exception of a single man. Soft music played in the background, the warm sound of the saxophone, overlaid with his voice, rising and falling. The audience had no choice but to be caught up in his words and be held captive as he moved around the stage.

This first scene lay the groundwork for the rest of the production and the three that followed. All four writers proved that they didn’t need fancy scenery or musical numbers to be memorable; in fact, the lack of distractions is precisely what made this festival great. One of the most memorable moments dawned the first play as a young black girl lay dead on stage, her friends gathered round, one of them telling the story of her first encounter with death. There’s no background music for life, and accordingly, silences in her monologue were thunderous.

The four plays explored important ideas; the first play emphasized the tendency for many straight, black men to be blind to the privileges that he may experience that black women and queer black people do not, and the third included a black wlw who attempted to make her friends realize that wlw is more than an attraction, just as black is more than a skin color. The second play took the audience on a journey to find truth in all her terrible forms, and the final one provided a humorous, original take on a haunted house story as a ghost attempted to scare a family out of their home, only to find that she wasn’t the only ghost home. Some of the stories told were uniquely black stories, but many also included characters who just happened to be black, providing space to prove that white doesn’t have to be the default.

Black Theatre Ensemble is well respected for its history of making high-quality productions, and this is no exception. Tech had a few brief moments of slow lighting changes, none of which detracted from the plays being visually interesting with great lighting choices and high-quality, well-chosen music. Overall, it was an exceptional performance on the part of all involved.

The next and final showing is today at 7 pm in the Glicker-Milstein Theatre. Tickets are $5 with CUID/BCID.

license free photo from pixabay