2/22/23: Crumbs from the Table of Joy
What: Keen Company presents a revival of Lynn Nottage's memory play about two young Black teenage sisters in the 1950s whose born-again father relocates them from Pensacola to Brooklyn.
And? Perhaps not my favorite Lynn Nottage play, but her writing is always worth my time. Shanel Bailey and Malika Samuel are especially good as the two sisters, Ernestine and Ermina.
|Shanel Bailey and Malika Samuel as Ernestine Crump and Ermina Crump.|
Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
2/24/23: The Coast Starlight
What: Lincoln Center presents a new play by Keith Bunin, about six strangers on an overnight train to Seattle, and their imagined interactions as they wrestle with what to do with their lives.
And? I loved it. I don't want to get too much into plot, because spoilers but also because part of the treat of this play is the slow unpacking of each character. I love when theater plays with liminal space, the heartbreak of the what-if moments that never happened, the endless possible futures spiraling out. With each beat I found myself investing more. The cast is a bit uneven, but not enough that it detracts from the performance itself. The lighting design doesn't always offer the full coverage the show needs (if you're going to have actors address all angles of the curving thrust stage, you need to light their faces when you do it), but still makes some compelling and affecting choices. If I had one bigger complaint about the play, it would be that for all that we have a diverse cast, at the end it is the white male's story and its outcome that are held as the central focus for the rest of the characters. It's still a really cool play and it's the first new-to-me show I've seen since the new year that I've fallen hard for.