Another Man's Poison
It becomes clear that both his wife and his son resent Frankie's absence. So much so, his son barely speaks to him and his wife has never even gone to see any of Frankie's shows throughout their years together.
It's too bad that playwright George O. Brome's play “Another Man's Poison” will end so soon.
Since the play was only slated to run from August 12-23, it’s hardly had time to develop. Unlike the movie “Another's Man's Poison” which starred Bette Davis, the play showcasing at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater, located at 416 West 42nd Street in Manhattan, is about an African American comedian whose entire life's work is finally paying off as his pilot show is about to be picked up.
Teetering on the precipice of success, Frankie Phillips, professionally known as Frankie Masters, is forced to pay a price for his success.
As one is slowly drawn into Frankie's life one realizes that all the pressures, glitter and entrapments of show business extracts a price in loneliness. In order to build his career, Frankie spent a lot of time away from his family and thus left the raising of his son Alan to his wife Pauline.
It becomes clear that both his wife and his son resent Frankie's absence. So much so, his son barely speaks to him and his wife has never even gone to see any of Frankie's shows throughout their years together. When she finally does, it only serves to remind her how much she has given up of her own dreams to be Frankie Master's wife.
Set in the 1970s, Frankie --Leland Ganit-- has developed a female character not unlike Flip Wilson's character Geraldine, except Frankie morphs into Wilhelmena, wherein he uses a lot of situations that happen within his family life as fodder for skits in his show. This is very upsetting to Pauline who feels that she and Alan should not be pawns to Frankie's art. Pauline Phillips --played by Penelope Lowder-- dotes on her son portrayed by James Edward Shippy, a rebellious student, who has a secret of his own, one his father rails against once discovered, but which may be the key to a secret that his father unconsciously shares.
Dennis Hearn and Toni L Stanton bring slight humor to “Another Man's Poison,” via a variety of characters they play as foils to Frankie's Wilhelmena. Unfamiliar with having a Black man as their boss, initially Hearn and Stanton find it difficult to give Frankie the performance he seeks.
Mel Stein --Steve Greenstein-- who plays Frankie's gay agent, is the buffer who secures Frankie his swank apartment using his charm and skills to pull off the manipulations required to balance out both Frankie's business and personal life, smoothing things over, at least for a short time.
Throughout the play which has a creative set designed by Kevin Lee Allen, we find there are many hidden tears behind Frankie's veneer of success. His family doesn't understand his passion for his work or all the hard work and humiliation he has had to suffer to get to the point where he could finally give his family the big payoff.
Unfortunately, his family no longer cares to reap the spoils of Frankie's success since they only wanted him. By the time, Frankie gives his family a glimpse into the tragedies that have defined his life, it’s too late.
Frankie begins to lose himself in his work to mask his pain as more and more he identifies with his character Wilhelmena and the lines begin to blur. This was never so telling then at the plays end when the cast members take their bow and Ganit is missing. The play gets a little confusing at this juncture and leaves the viewer to interpret their own ending.
Playwright George O. Brome's other works include “Before Black was Beautiful,” “Beyond Closed Doors,” “Dream On,” “Unconventional War Play, American Dreams,” “Plea Bargain” “Oh Hell,” and “Good God.”
Directed by Passion Hansome, produced by Sheila L. Speller and presented by Orielle Creative Productions and Broliver Productions, “Another Man's Poison” runs Wednesday through Saturday at 7PM and on Sunday at 2PM.
For ticket information call (212) 279-4200 or www.ticketcentral.com.
The play ends this Sunday, so if you intend to see it, you better hurry.