Free Man of Color (review)

Free Man of Color (review)
Free Man of Color (review)
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THE PLAY: This is based on the true story of the first black man enrolled at Ohio University in the early 1800s. He lives with a white couple during his education, which is primarily in preparation for his future leadership in Liberia.

 

THE PRODUCTION: This is basically a history lesson in 3 characters. They’re portrayed more as archetypes than people, while the play is more debate that drama. The trio of actors approach their roles with serious sincerity, but lack depth in their portrayals (Mara Barrett is much too young to play the mother of a 19-year-old). Most of the responsibility rests with the simplistic direction by Toney Q. Cobb. There’s little variety in the pace and the staging is often static. There’s unmotivated wandering or the opposite, confining the actors behind 1 of the 3 desks. Margarette Joyner has designed a pleasant period drawing room (that big painting is at least a century early). Her creation of brocade coats and dresses attractively reflects the era. Geno Brantley’s lighting is more elaborate than most of this company’s productions. Running time: 2:15

 

THE POINT: The play is a dialogue-leaden, civil discourse that’s not helped by one note performances and bland direction.

 

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

 

A Heritage Ensemble Theatre Company production at Pine Camp thru 2/17

 

Mara Barrett & Ken Moretti (Photos by Kielle Shaw)

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