BWW Review: TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET at Pyramid Theatre: Looking Towards a Better Future

BWW Review: TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET at Pyramid Theatre: Looking Towards a Better FutureAs the theatre season starts coming to an end, I find myself reflecting on the amazing stories I have been able to see told on stage and the amazing theatre companies that are telling these stories. Going into the summer, there are a few theatre companies who tend to tell their stories exclusively during the summer months. Pyramid Theatre is one of those Theatres.

If you aren't familiar with Pyramid Theatre, the company was found in 2014. Their mission was and still is, to be a gateway to the arts in Des Moines by shining a light on the presence of black artist in the theatre canon by providing a means of artistic expression for emerging Black voices. I appreciated Artistic Director Tiffany Johnson sharing their mission. I also appreciated that she gave an insight into the shows they choose to produce. The shows they chose are rooted in the lessons of the past in order to serve the needs of the present. Last night they opened their first production of the season "Too Heavy For Your Pocket."

"Too Heavy For Your Pocket" centers around Bowzie Brandon who at the start of the show has found out he has received a full ride scholarship to college. When he goes to summer school, he is faced with a choice. Does he continue with his education, or does he join the Freedom Riders? During the first half of the show, we see Bowzie discuss with his friend and family if joining the Freedom Riders is the right path for him to take. While his friend and family feels it is important for him to secure his future by getting his education, he feels that he needs to join the Freedom Riders to shape the future of the country.
One of the things I appreciated about last night was seeing the impact Pyramid has already had on the people who are involved with the company. The play was written by Pyramid co-founder Jiréh Holder. Since finding Pyramid Theatre, he has continued writing both for stage and the small screen. His writing can currently be seen on the small screen in NBC's "New Amsterdam."

As the show starts I found myself drawn to the performance of Britny Horton as Evelyn Brandon, the wife of Bowzie. During the first act of the show, I felt she brought light and humor every time she came on stage. That comes through the delivery of her lines, and her amazing singing voice. We get to see her range as an actor then in the second act when she comes onstage and sings at a mic center stage. She does a fantastic job of taking the weight of what has lead up to the moment and puts it into singing the song.

The cast is lead by Freddie Fulton, another of Pyramid's co-founders, whose full acting range was shown during the performance. Some of my favorite scenes of his were the moments where he appeared onstage with just a spotlight on him. There is no dialogue that happens during the scenes, but he does an amazing job of telling a story without dialogue. My favorite is the scene where he opens the letter informing him he has a full ride to college.

Throughout the show, there are other scenes where there is no dialogue. While having actors that can tell the story without dialogue is important, you have to have a director with a strong vision to weave the scenes into the story being told. Tiffany Johnson's direction expertly weaves these scenes into the show and makes each of them as impactful as the last. The strongest of the scenes comes at the end of the show. The way it is staged showed the power and emotion Tiffany brings to the show. I found myself moved to tears by the staging.

This production was a beautiful and moving production that I feel everyone in the Des Moines Area needs to see. I know I will be telling my friends to get tickets to this show. Performances continue June 9 and 16 at 2:00 PM and June 14 and 22 at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $15 for students and $20 for adults. You can purchase tickets by visiting https://desmoinesperformingarts.org/events/pyramid/too-heavy-for-your-pocket/

To find out more about Pyramid Theatre Company, visit http://pyramidtheatre.org/



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From This Author DC Felton

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