Review: FANNIE - THE MUSIC AND LIFE OF FANNIE LOU HAMER at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Fannie - The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer continues through April 2nd.

By: Mar. 19, 2023
Review: FANNIE - THE MUSIC AND LIFE OF FANNIE LOU HAMER at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
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Fannie - The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer

Written by Cheryl L. West

Directed by Tim Bond

Theatreworks Silicon Valley

Fannie is an American horror story and were the events portrayed in the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer not true, one would think it was an imagined social dystopia like A Clockwork Orange or Orwell's 1984. Hamer, a poor, uneducated sharecropper from Mississippi rose to become a major player in the 1960's civil rights movement, withstanding the torrents of violent racism and hatred leveled against her. Horribly beaten, jailed, and a witness to the horrific murders of Medger Evans, Martin Luther King and Emmett Till, Hamer was never beaten buoyed by her faith and determination to raise all boats through equal rights.

Writer Cheryl L. West had created the perfect vehicle for this bio drama, merging Hamer's spiritual background with her emerging struggle for access to voting rights. Helmed by director Tim Bond, Fannie smartly utilizes projections by Miko S, Simmons in lieu of a set and introduces a wonderful three-piece band (Morgan E. Stevenson, Spencer Bean and Leonard Maddox Jr.) as Fannie's backup.

Review: FANNIE - THE MUSIC AND LIFE OF FANNIE LOU HAMER at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Greta Oglesby is Fannie Lou Hamer

The entire production lays on the back of Greta Oglesby, who delivers a tour de force of stunning depth, power and nuance. Delivering precious lines like "truth ain't never been the enemy, 'less'n you in the business of worshipping a lie", Oglesby charms and encourages, expressing the determination and hope Hamer represented. With a beautiful alto voice, she sings hymns like "This Little Heart of Mine" and We Shall not Be Moved", rousing the audience already sold wholeheartedly on her bravura performance.

It's hard not to be moved by Fannie, a story of a true American hero and a much-needed reminder of those that came before us paving the way with the mantra of "Nobody's free until we're all free."

Fannie - The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer continues through April 2nd. Tickets available at https://theatreworks.org/ or by calling 877-662-8978

Photo credit: Kevin Berne




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