Monday, September 17, 2007
OUT 259--STAGE REVIEWZ-THE BLACK REP kicks off 31st season with BOESMAN AND LENA AT EDISON THEATRE- playing til Sept. 23, 2007
BOESMAN AND LENA is familiar territory for Black Rep
by Marcus Ma'at Atkins
The St. Louis Black Repertory's 31st Season opened last weekend with the Award-winning play, BOESMAN AND LENA that is currently staging at Washington University's Edison Theater.
This production, which will be performed until Sept 23, marks the start of the Black Rep's start of its season titled, "Year of the Griot."
Written by South African Activist Athol Fugard, BOESMAN AND LENA tells the tell of two South African evictees Boesman (played by Black Rep producting Director and Founder Ron Himes who also directed this production) and Lena (played by Woodie Award winner and Black Rep fave Linda Kennedy) who spend their days surviving on temporary dwellings on South African riverbanks and coping the loss of their homes via aparatheid.
During one of their rested jouneys, Boesman and Lena is met by an old African man (played by actor Erik Kilpatrick) who seeks solace on their dwelling and to whom Lena makes company with during her and Boesman's rested travels.
Overall, Boesman and Lena is definitely a play for those who enjoy authentic South-African culture and aesthetics. Its set alone, which was designed by Brian Purlee, of a tattered and swamped out riverbank, gives the realism of destitution--just picture an episode of the reality show Survivor where islanders try to survive off of the nature of the land.
As far as Himes and Kennedy, who are reprising their roles in this play first in 1985 then in 1993, they give inspiring performances and easily evoke the anxiety and anquish of a unforssen future in surving (their familiarity with the roles don't hurt either). In other words, picture a black version of the beckett's existentialist play, "Waiting for Godot." Himes and Kennedy defintely have a chemistry and their performances don't seem acted out, but more grounded in their familarilty of working with each other for several years.
Kilpatrick's character , who speaks African , is mostly used as a plot device and doesn't really do much as far as getting an understanding as to why he is there, but his performance was to be recognized as well.
I definitely recommend this play. We all have been there as far as not knowing what are future holds but to still have tenacity and fortitude to keep on keeping on.
BOESMAN AND LENA
Through Sept 23
Friday and Saturdayt at 8 p.m.
Sunday matinee 3 p.m.
tickets are $35, $5 discount to seniors and students. Student rush tickets (30 minutes prior to curtain) are $17.50. For ticket info, call 314.534.3810 or go to http://www.theblackrep.org/