Message from a Slave (review)
THE PLAY: The first act tells the story of a woman abducted from her African homeland to be forced into slavery in America. Act Two features her granddaughter lecturing the audience with advice on creating a better society.
THE PRODUCTION: This one-woman show exhibits the considerable talent of Pamela Archer-Shaw. She’s an effective storyteller with an open, comfortable style and affecting emotional range. Her young slave woman is full of life and dignity, while her old lady is sweetly charming. Director Shanea N. Taylor could have improved upon Archer-Shaw’s steady cadence by adding variety to the intensity of her delivery and a few pauses to let the emotions sink in. The set by Vinnie Gonzalez features eye-catching cutouts that represent characters, while his lights add dramatic focus. Earlie Joyner has supplemented the story with an effective montage of sounds, but it sometimes overpowers the monologue. As for playwright Margarette Joyner’s script: the slave’s learning of English and conversion to Christianity is inexplicably bypassed, overlooking potential for even more depth. Running time: 1:05
THE POINT: Pamela Archer-Shaw has an easy presence and significant skill in her dynamic and affecting portrayal .
(3 / 5)
A production of the Heritage Ensemble Theatre Company at Pine Camp thru 2/18.
LISTEN TO MY REVIEW (as aired on WRIR)