Review by: Wilfred M. Phillips Jr.
An otherworldly feel becomes apparent from the very beginning in this new production at Rogue Machine Theatre in Venice, Ca. In an old graveyard, from the afterlife, the characters of Betty, Alvis, George, and the High Priestess come to life. Live musicians perform blue grass music and African rhythms while silhouetted behind backlit scrims that blend well with the entire staging. There is a feeling of being somewhere in the Deep South.
Dionna Michelle Daniel, a young and powerful new voice in American theatre, has created a lyrical and mystical play about the struggle against systemic racism in this country. A musical and ethereal journey, the story effectively marks the destruction of too many lives from the antebellum south through the present day.
Sha’Leah Nikole Stubblefield (High Priestess of Souls) is always present, like the wind that rekindles forgotten tragedies, or a gentle breeze that brings comfort. Her beautiful and soulful voice evokes memories and history. The sound of Gospel Hymns and her gorgeous red gown, for me, brought sentimental memories of my youthful days in church.
On a porch of a rickety building, Betty (Mildred Marie Langford), appears in pre-civil war slave attire. As the sound of gunshots
It is a moving experience that will have you traveling from the past into the present. Donathan Walters (George), in what is reminiscent of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, encourages the audience to wake up and fight for justice for all people. He visits the other side (life and death) and gives the audience a vivid description on what it is like there.
Derek Jackson (Alvis) provides an energetic flair with his talent, dancing and singing throughout.
The excellent production values, sound effects of wind, thunder
As time moves forward to an era that the audience is more familiar with, Betty returns to scrubbing the wooden planks. While naming youths who have fallen by the hands of various police departments, the alarmingly long list seemed to go on forever, reminding us all, “everybody is somebody’s child.”
The chilling ending says a lot about the conditions of the poor, Black, and Brown people across America. Actually not much has really changed since slavery.
The entire cast and crew
An American Saga Revival of Gunshot Medley: Part I performs in July on Friday 12th and 26th at
The Electric Lodge is located at 1416 Electric Ave, Venice, CA 90291.
Tickets: $25 – $40.
Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com