Going to the River Playwright Series at Ensemble Studio

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This journalist trekked down to the Ensemble Studio Theatre yesterday to view the reading of an Alice Childress writing entitled "Wedding Band: A Love-Hate Story in Black & White," directed by Elizabeth Van Dyke as part of the Going to the River Female Playwright Play series.

The Interracial themed production was housed at Ensemble Studio which is located just off 11th Avenue on 52nd Street, (549 West 52nd St, NYC, on the 2nd Floor). "Wedding Band" was a play (in this instance a reading) worth seeing.

The story line highlighted the love between a black woman (Kim Yancey-Moore) and the cost of it for her and a poor white baker who's love of a Black woman cost him the respect of his family and an inability to marry the woman he claimed to love. He loved in an era wherein he could be imprisoned in the South for marrying someone from another race. This legally imposed penalty was/is not just enforced upon the interracial couple but on their families and communities as well. "Wedding Band" was both amusing and painful.

Currently Racism, although a deadly game still, more and more casts racists in the role of the buffoon. Still dressing in sheeted costumes, these hatemongers continue to push a system that is rapidly becoming more and more difficult to sustain. Their actions all over the media and now these hate-filled players have nowhere to hide, their morbid and ofttimes antiquated ridiculous racist thinking and criminal activity upfront for all to see. Although the Racist System isn't a joke. It extracts a high cost that is imposed on both sides of the spectrum. A cost in humiliation, pain, death and fear upon its victims, and the higher spiritual cost of soul karma, inbreeding, decrease in population, and a race curse on its perpetrators that is coming due.

Although indirectly, I noted The Wedding Band Reading highlighted how change is coming, albeit slowly. How times have changed, yet in many ways have remained the same. Attitudes and perceptions have to heal before any meaningful change comes about. In my opinion, and in the opinion of some who were part of a Q&A after the performance, the change must come primarily through the propagators of the Racist System. Its institution must be dismantled by those who founded and continue to support it.

Although the play was written in the 1960's, its significance has come alive in the era of Donald Trump. As the poster boy for these racist attitudes, Trump has added a new dimension to Childress's play. Racists are now being openly viewed in the Trump era as ignorant, hateful and self-destructing. Not so much to be feared since now the racists' own fears are being highlighted. Their own weakness and self-hating on display, exposed and judged foolish. Their conduct to some degree laughable and judged as mental illness. There is a shift happening. As pointed out in the Q&A, this burgeoning shift is now being viewed by the world in a way never addressed before. Featured in the Reading were: June Ballinger, William Donovan, Richard Kent Green, Cynthia Kitt, Geany Masai, Beethovan Oden, Gail Quintos, Monique A. Robinson, Danielle Sacks, and C. Kelly Wright.

Next up in the Play Series is a new play entitled "Goodnight Tyler," written by Benjamin B.J. Tindal, which will showcase, Sunday, July 16th at 3:00 PM. Continuing the series on Monday, July 17 is "The Only One" by Christina Nieves at 7PM; Tuesday, July 18th "Imminently Yours" by Karimah at 7pm; Wed, July 19th "Bodega Cat" by Desi Moreno-Pension and "A Man of my Dreams" by Leah Maddrie at 7pm.

Go support Black Theater.


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