Review Roundup: What Are Critics Thinking About AMERICA V. 2.1: THE SAD DEMISE & EVENTUAL EXTINCTION OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO at Barrington Stage Company?
The world premiere of America V. 2.1: The Sad Demise and Eventual Extinction of the American Negro is running now through June 30 at the Barrington Stage Company's St. Germain Stage.
America v. 2.1 is a day in the life of a troupe of historical re-enactors charged with telling the story of what was once was the American Negro, a woeful race once featured prominently in the American landscape, but whose time has been extinguished at their own foolish hand. The troupe finds themselves at odds with the state of their own existences while being painfully oblivious to the parallels and intersections their lives draw to that of the very Negroes whose story they are bound to tell. As this oblivion fades and they are faced with their stark reality, this day in the life of actors, becomes a day of reckoning.
The production's cast features: Ansa Akyea as "Donavan," Jordan Barrow as "Grant," Kalyne Coleman as "Leigh," Peterson Townsend as "Jeffery" and Peggy Pharr Wilson as "The Voice."
The production's creative team includes: Stacey Rose (Playwright), Otis Cortez Ramsey-Zöe (Dramaturg), Kevin Boseman (Choreographer), Logan Vaughn (Director), Luqman Brown (Sound Designer), Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene (Costume Designer), Jack Magaw (Scenic Designer), Cha See (Lighting Designer) and Geoff Boronda (Production Stage Management.
For tickets and more information about America V. 21, tap here.
Let's see what the critics have to say...
Steve Barnes, Times Union: Jordan Barrow, as the youngest member of the cast, excels as several characters including a hip-hop mogul; Kalyne Coleman zestily creates Sparks, who says, "I'm gonna smash that cracker's head" before slashing the throats of everyone on her Alabama bus; Ansa Akyea wickedly spoofs Bill Cosby and Barack Obama; Peterson Townsend brings heart as the cast member with the loudest conscience about the performers' complicity in their theater of lies; and the unseen Peggy Pharr Wilson provides the voice of godlike overseer.
Marc Savitt, BroadwayWorld: Rose's work adeptly weaves together the play within the play and the interaction of the players. We are presented with a large volume of information in an amusing, entertaining, and highly effective way that makes us question whether historical facts, as we have come to know them, are indeed accurate or perhaps, the convenient truths that those with a power base would like us to accept without question. It shows how fragile the truths we hold to be self-evident are. How what some might do in the pursuit of happiness, might not be in the best interest of all involved. And, how that which we consider to be reality might be largely influenced by perspective and circumstance.
J. Peter Bergmann, The Bershire Edge: Coleman plays the youngest character, but one with enough worldly experience to know what is wrong and what is right in the life-path she leads. In no way a shrinking violet, she does pull back from the romantic tasks she has been assigned, tasks that could guarantee that the title of the play is wrongly written. Her belligerence is beautiful and her movements are graceful, making her an ideal representative of the larger human race rather than a significant representative of just one facet of mankind.