BWW Reviews: REPAIRING A NATION at Crossroads is Extraordinary

By: Mar. 05, 2015
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"It's truth, then reconciliation."

-Repairing a Nation

An absolutely superb play, Repairing a Nation, is now on a limited engagement at Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick through Sunday, March 8th. Brave the winter weather this week and be sure to see this one. It is written by Nikkole Salter and masterfully directed by the theatre's Producing Artistic Director, Marshall Jones, III. Each and every moment of the show is entrancing, a complex yet entertaining family drama with style and meaning. It is a story for the ages.

Repairing a Nation is set in 2001. The Davis family gathers for what should be a joyous holiday celebration in their native Tulsa, Oklahoma. A young community organizer, Debbie has been invited for the holidays to join the family and see her former beau, Seth who is home for the holidays from law school at NYU. Seth's Mother, Lois is a contentious sort and does not get along with her cousin Chuck or his wife, Anna. With Debbie's support, Lois becomes insistent that Chuck, as the family elder, sign papers to have the family take part in a class-action lawsuit for reparations for the 1921 Tulsa race riots. The family's division becomes evident as long held grievances surface along with some surprising family secrets.

The Tulsa race riots are considered one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history and it is believed that as many as 1,000 African Americans were killed or injured over a two day period as businesses, homes and hospitals in Tulsa's Greenwood district were burned or vandalized.

There are many layers to Repairing a Nation. Salter's script is skillfully written and captures true feelings. You will be brought right into the living room of the Davis family. While profiling their trials with drama, heart and the right dose of humor, Salter also reveals the complexity of social disorder. Lois is striving to gain justice for herself with the reparations and Chuck has moved on. Chuck and Anna have enjoyed an upscale lifestyle that they have shared with Seth, treating him as their own child and giving him the advantages that Lois could not afford. Injustice takes center stage in this play, both personal and historical.

The cast is stellar in their roles. Angel Moore as Debbie is completely charming, feisty and energetic. Landon Woodson portrays Seth wonderfully, with just the right measure of seriousness and affection. Chantal Jean-Pierre is perfect in the role of Anna, a poised, sensitive woman who strives to maintain order. Phil McGlaston is ideal in the role of the family patriarch, Chuck Davis. He is a stubborn, bombastic yet likable type, a role that McGlaston has mastered. Stephanie Berry as Lois really rounds out this cast. As the person in the center of family conflict, Berry makes her character work for every scene, alternatively sympathetic and humorous.

The creative team has made Repairing a Nation a completely authentic theatrical experience with sound design by Matt Bittner, lighting design by Jeff Carr, costume design by Sasha Corrodus-Odum, scenic design by Gennie Neuman Lambert and projection design by Alan Peters. The Production Stage Manager is Karen Parlato.

Gather your group and see Repairing a Nation. It will be at Crossroads Theatre Company through Sunday March 8th. The theatre is dedicated to creating and producing professional theatre of the highest standards that celebrates the culture, history spirit and voices of the entire African Diaspora. Crossroads Theatre is located at 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ in the heart of the city's bustling arts district. It is easily reached by car or mass transit. For ticketing, call (732) 545-8100 or visit www.crossroadstheatrecompany.org.

Photo Credit: William M. Brown



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