NCCU's Home | On the Boards | Indy Week
Pin It

NCCU's Home 

click to enlarge 10.1ae.fri.home.8.gif

Home
University Theatre, NCCU
Through Oct. 12; tickets: 530-5170

The stage directions to Samm-Art Williams' 1975 play, Home—the story of a black farmer's journey from the Carolinas to New York City and back again—begin with two women singing a Negro spiritual in darkness. Over the course of the play, these women ("Woman One" and "Woman Two") inhabit more than 20 characters—aunts and uncles, American soldiers, welfare caseworkers, drug dealers and prostitutes—in a looping, musical dialogue. The verbal athletics are part of what makes Home so exciting: Three actors (the two women and Cephus Miles, the play's protagonist) encompass a rapidly shifting terrain, which moves from prison cells to night clubs, a Vietnamese rice paddy to a South Carolina farm.

The NCCU production, which resumes this weekend for three performances, makes its artistic departure from Williams' original, minimalist intentions clear from the start. Nine actors, led by senior Alexander Jackson, belt out a resounding, brightly lit performance of "In That Great Gittin' Up Morning," choreographed by Stafford Berry of the Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble.

Director Karen Dacons-Brock's decision to add six additional actors and 18 musical numbers establishes a strong sense of place—a rural Southern town steeped in African-American song, humor and storytelling—but distracts from the play's rapid-paced dialogue, itself a musical event. The opening and closing numbers are powerful and appropriate, but other choices, such as "Go Tell It on the Mountain," sung on a bus, feel incongruous to Miles' conviction that he has been rejected by God—who, it seems, is vacationing in Miami. Despite being enjoyable, the group numbers inevitably subvert Miles' loneliness—though the chorus line's interaction with the character are at times hilarious, recalling Woody Allen's visual gag in Mighty Aphrodite. Freshman Alphonse Nicholson, a standup comic from Greensboro, shines as Miles, capably shifting from a shy country boy in love to a reckless player in the city, haunted by the memory of his past. The performance exhibits a hardened conviction in constant threat of imploding, a stunning feat for such a young actor who, according to his program bio, has no prior theater credits.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in On the Boards

  • American Dance Festival's 2010 lineup

    They're back to a full schedule of 13 presentations. Once again, the season tilts heavily in favor of companies and artists seen before.
    • Mar 31, 2010
  • Choreo Collective's Current Collection

    The limited and decidedly legato movement dynamics we saw too frequently in most of the seven works suggested deflated kinespheres whose slow leaks, over time, remain in need of repair.
    • Mar 31, 2010
  • <i>Caleb Calypso and the Midnight Marauders</i>

    Caleb Calypso and the Midnight Marauders

    Local playwright Howard L. Craft's new work explores the lives of U.S. soldiers stationed in West Germany with realism and humor.
    • Nov 4, 2009
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

This is very embarrassing situation for those two women who accidentally wears similar dress.
www.karinherzog.com …

by carissachurchill on Five Women Wearing the Same Dress; Urinetown: The Musical (On the Boards)

Excuse me but, if the company created a performance of Skriker which was oblique and the audience left feeling confused …

by Edwin Davies on The Skriker; more (On the Boards)

I was wrong about the HAIR cast/age issue. The play's creators were in their thirties when they played the leads, …

by Cherryholmes on Burning Coal Theatre's Hair (On the Boards)

I had a mixed response to Burning Coal's HAIR. Overall I loved it, much because it brought back an exciting …

by robertsegal on Burning Coal Theatre's Hair (On the Boards)

I saw "Hair" during its opening week and was very disappointed in this production. It appeared to be underrehearsed, which …

by Cherryholmes on Burning Coal Theatre's Hair (On the Boards)

Comments

This is very embarrassing situation for those two women who accidentally wears similar dress.
www.karinherzog.com …

by carissachurchill on Five Women Wearing the Same Dress; Urinetown: The Musical (On the Boards)

Excuse me but, if the company created a performance of Skriker which was oblique and the audience left feeling confused …

by Edwin Davies on The Skriker; more (On the Boards)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation