By Megan Mooney
Days have been crazy, and I’m not sure where time is going. In fear of time slipping away completely, I’m going to do a ‘quickie’ review of the Nightwood Theatre and Obsidian Theatre Company production of Yellowman, playing in the upstairs studio theatre at Berkeley Theatre these days. The really quickie version would be ‘I loved it. The end.’ but I’ll give you a bit more than that.
The production isn’t what I would call a ‘typical’ play (although, there’s so much variation these days, typical is a bit of a misnomer). In fact, it almost doesn’t feel like a play at all. It’s more like staged storytelling.
Sure, there’s some acting-out of things, some playful voices when the actors are children, some palpable tension when there is violence in the words, but really, this is two people sitting on a porch, telling us a story. Not two people ‘putting on a play’.
Sometimes they interact. Most of the time they don’t. We’re hearing their story, and, although they share core parts of their stories, they actually only intersect occasionally. They only interact when they’re telling a part of their story that included both of them.
There were some things that drove me a bit batty, like, why does the playwright have them repeat things so bloody often? I suppose for rhythm, or emphasis, but, honestly, I found it more distracting than anything else. There’s a strange bit near the end of the play where the ‘mother’ is supposed to be speaking strong Gullah/Geechee, but suddenly sounds West Indian – It threw me off, pulled me out of the piece momentarily. That was a bit of a shame.
But really, those are pretty little things. Mostly I loved the piece. I loved having these two people tell me their stories.
I’ll go into more detail later, but the show closes soon soon, so get out there and buy a ticket!
– Yellowman is playing until November 14, 2009 at the Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs (26 Berkeley Street)
– Showtimes are Monday to Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday 1:30 pm and Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.
– Ticket prices range from $20 – $45
– Tickets available by calling (416) 955-0101 or online at www.nightwoodtheatre.net