BWW Reviews: The Tramaine Experience at the ATA
On Friday I caught The Tramaine Experience – An Urban Dramedy at the American Theatre of Actors. Presented through the Araca Project, The Tramaine Experience is one man's journey to escape and then finally embrace his background and in turn himself.
I've seen several productions in the Chernuchin Theatre at ATA; however, The Tramaine Experience is the first to actually make proper use of the space. Tramaine Montell Ford, the production's star, utilized the theatre's two levels as well as the audience. For once, I felt like I was actually involved in an engaging theatrical experience, as opposed to a spectator intruding on a malaise. For a one-man show to accomplish this, credit has to be given to Director Robert Goodwin.
The Tramaine Experience tells the story of Tramaine Montell Ford, a young man growing up the infamous Cabrini-Green projects of Chicago as told through his family. As a former Chicagoan myself, I understand the stigma of Cabrini-Green. Ford, a co-writer as well, does an elegant job of illustrating how the problems of Cabrini-Green were endemic throughout the country, representing larger urban decay happening all over the nation.
If this production were to have any drawback, it would be in its sound design. I found it hard to understand Ford at many points throughout the piece. In future productions, I would like to see some focus given to possibly micing Ford or lowering the other sound levels. It was a shame to miss Mr. Ford's insight at any point.