YOUNGSTOWN - Opening night of The Oakland’s “The Colored Museum” brought satire and comedy into the ever-evolving issues of racism and oppression.
Unlike the ugly terms, the cast performed the show with class, dignity and grace. George C. Wolfe’s play, under the direction of Johnny R. Herbert, was filled with laughs, and made you think about everyday life.
As opening nights often go, the show was filled with spoofs and stutters by seemingly nervous actors and actresses, but recovery was quick, and it showed the audience that perfect isn’t always best.
The play itself told a modern-day story of the trials and tribulations blacks deal with in everyday life. Each vignette told a different story from a different viewpoint, so it was like watching 11 mini-plays, each independent of the other.
The evening’s most stand-out performance must go to 16-year-old Samantha Daisher. The Chaney High School junior did a stellar job with her monologue in “Permutations” where she was a very young pregnant girl. Emotions and feeling filled the stage and she obviously captured the hearts of many who viewed it.
Carla Gipson, who most notably played recurring character Miss Pat, had the audience crying with laughter in the first and the last scene. Her seriousness and sarcasm in the first scene set the tone for evening, allowing the audience to laugh while experiencing and given some understanding of oppression.
Youngstown State University theater major Brandon Martin also did a fabulous job of portraying a soldier gone mad after serving his country. The glow and expression in his eyes appeared to move the audience and provide a convincing portrait of a possibly insane man.
When: Saturday, February 16, 2008, 8 p.m.
Where: Oakland Center for the Arts, 220 W. Boardman St., Youngstown
220 W. Boardman St., Youngstown
“The Colored Museum” didn’t only cover sensitive issues, it was also filled with fun and flair. Cast members danced and laughed during different party scenes and the carefree spirit embraced the audience.
The Oakland’s “The Colored Museum” is a fabulous way to celebrate, embrace and learn about Black History Month, and I suggest anyone with, or without, any interest in the subject should make a point to attend.