Author: Lee Sachs

Welcome Home Sonny T

Welcome Home Sonny T Seeing any theater centering on black culture the day after Nelson Mandela passed, is only made more vivid and meaningful against that backdrop. While race riots may be further in our past than the death of apartheid, times have only changed so much. Though protests may seem muted when compared to the literal explosions of 60s radicalism, violence remains prevalent as a scorched earth reaction to the same problems that troubled us back then. Taking place in the present-day, “Welcome Home Sonny T” begins with echoes of Black Panthers and racial tensions from the 60s in the memory of Reverent Miller played with controlled urgency by Richard Pryor Jr. The Reverend broadcasts a radio show from a community center in Staten Island where the story centers around a welcome home party for Sonny T, a neighborhood boy-turned-soldier coming home from duty in Afghanistan. The action develops smoothly introducing a young sister to Sonny T, Lashawn (played by Brittney Benson) and a middle brother Rodney (Kadeem Ali Harris). Initially, the polarity between these two characters seems as simple as good sister/bad brother but the actors fill in the roles with comic energy and street smart dialogue. The same follows as we are introduced to minor roles Big Boy (Brandon Mellette), Carlos Mendez (Nestor Carrillo), May Walker (Verna Hampton) and the particularly expressive Levern Williams as Funkygood, one of those comic elders in the hood who can still cut through the...

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Another Medea

BY LEE SACHS Drama is practically synonymous with surprise: a character’s true nature revealed suddenly, an incident from the past in the third act that changes the nature of all that came before. But sometimes the surprise, the unexpected comes in unexpected ways.  Settling in before seeing the solo show, “Another Medea” part of the “All For One Festival” and reading the blurb, there’s mention of the disturbing and shocking turn of events that are about to be dramatized.  My first reaction, sitting in the Cherry Lane Studio theater, in front of a black box stage with a folding...

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