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BWW Review: THE BLUEST EYE at Synchronicity Theatre


Running through October 24th, 2021

BWW Review: THE BLUEST EYE at Synchronicity Theatre

Synchronicity Theatre's production of THE BLUEST EYE (directed by Ibi Owolabi) is an adaptation for the stage written by award-winning playwright and professor Lydia R. Diamond honoring Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison's essential American classic of the same name. Written as a fictional account of the African-American experience after the Great Depression, the release of the book was met with controversy due to its difficult content including racism, rape, and incest. Diamond's adaptation does not shy away from these issues.

When Diamond adapted the novel for the stage in 2005 as a commission from Steppenwolf Theatre, she was quoted regarding her personal experience with Morrison's novel as being, " of the first times I'd read a book that centered around young Black girls as the teller of the story." In Owolabi's production at Synchronicity Theatre, Morrison, Diamond, and Pecola (the novel's protagonist) seem to share a mutual legacy, and this significance adds a magnetism to this production, to say the least.

THE BLUEST EYE is about Pecola Breedlove, a dark-skinned African-American girl who's segregated preteen life is filled with heightened childhood injuries. She believes she can overcome her family's (and subsequently, her community's) injustices if she could only see the world through the same blue eyes as her Shirley-Templed counterparts. The recount-styled narrative, centered around Pecola and her young friends, is told with shared narration overlaying delicate reenactments of various scenarios that mold the innocent heroine's journey. These traumatic events ripple through the characters as well as the small town society who witnesses them.

The Synchronicity production features a hypnotic Niara Simone Robinson as Pecola, as well as the superb and engaging Daisean L. Garrett and Brittany Deneen Hines as the young girls. The exceptional ensemble includes Enoch King, Tanya Freeman, Kerri Garrett, Dionna D. Davis, and Aminah Williams who each take on a variety of eclectic roles with nimble precision, clarity, humor, and depth. Most of the characters in Diamond's play have a transformative moment that lifts the literary experience to a theatrical one, and each of the performers delivers these moments with finely tuned skills.

Kudos to lucid costume designs by Alan Yeong, heightening each characters' role in Pecola's story, and expertly denoting the variety of personalities and seasons. The carefully formed and functioned set design by Natalie Hart creates clever passages of time and assists in delivering meaningful action. Toni Sterling, Mikaela Fraser, and Bradley Bergeron's light, sound, and projection designs are also a great success towards building Pecola's intimate, heartbreaking, and enlightening world.

How To Get Tickets

THE BLUEST EYE runs until October 24th. Clear your weekend and get your tickets today!

Photo: Cassey Gardner Ford

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