Category Archive for: ‘Kedar K. Adour’
The Legend of Pink by Kheven LaGrone. Directed by AeJay Mitchell. Rhino Theatre, The Gateway Theatre (formerly the Eureka Theatre), 215 Jackson St., (at Battery St.) SF, CA. www.TheRhino.org. Sept. 13 – Sept. 30, 2017
The Legend of Pink is a World Premiere work in progress at Rhino Theatre. Rating:
Tough, poetic, action packed and socially relevant The Legend of Pink has many of the qualities with “legs” to move on to another venue. It is Kheven LaGrone’s first full length play and he has not fully acquired the art of play writing and it detracts from an intriguing storyline. It depicts a slice of life in West Oakland revolving around a black drag Queen named Pink (Charles Pope III) and her influence on individuals and the neighbor“hood.” Throw in an attractive outsider with his own sense of alienation and the “hood” erupts into violence.
The play’s construction from the opening scenes needs the touch of a pro. It is front loaded with exposition and the following scenes seem tacked on rather than integrated. Whereas the protagonists Pink is well delineated through her words and actions LaGrone uses a meta-theatrical monolog to give verisimilitude to Bradford alias Deshawn (Muarice Andre San-Chez) who is ambivalent about being a black man. He delivers a poignant rendition of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” that is representative of his life as a “good black” in semi-affluent white neighborhood in San Francisco.
That monolog arrives in the third scene after he has met the fabulous Pink who half-jokingly tells him “You dance like a white boy.” Later in a scene lifted directly from “M. Butterfly,” a play by David Henry Hwang he removes the white makeup he has applied and storms out never to allow the world to “only see us, while We wear the mask.”
Pink who dresses in pink lives in the basement of an abandoned “crack house” infested with cockroaches but has created a livable space decorated in Pink. She has a boyfriend Ace (R. Shawntez Jackson) who forcefully insists the interloper is trouble but Pink has hopes that Deshawn is her ticket out of the “hood.” Ace’s tirades are parried by Pink and she gives as good as she gets at which point the audience shouts (as they do many times) “You tell him girl!”
Drugs are rampant in the hood and Deshawn insists that he is only interested in “weed” but inadvertently uses the hallucinogenic PCP that is the stimulus for a cataclysmic ending. The fourth character in the play is the androgynous Nikki (Phaedra Tillery) who is a one woman Greek chorus earning many of the audiences, “You tell her Girl!” The introduction of an unseen Pastor Brown is very cleverly introduced and is integral to understanding how Pink became what she is and is needed for the epilog to make sense.
Charles Peoples III who was a star in Pricilla Queen of the Desert adds another star to her/his CV with a controlled performance that bursts out in anger when being maligned by R. Shawntz Jackson playing Ace with a vengeance. Muarice Andre San Chez has the most difficult role as the multifaceted Bradford/Deshawn as he morphs from initially wearing the mask to his violent outburst under in influence of PCP.
Aejay Mitchell’s direction attempts to keep the play in balance but is hindered by the play’s construction and inept scene changes. The opening night audience bringing dozens of bouquets for the actors and director would suggest The Legend of Pink is a must see play but in actuality it earns accolades as a good first play with a social conscience while exploring the psyche of a specific drag Queen living in the black “hood” of West Oakland. Running time is about two hours with an intermission.
CAST: R. Shawntez Jackson (ACE); Charles Peoples III (PINK); Muarice André San-Chez (BRADFORD / DESHAWN); Phaedra Tillery (NIKKI).
TECH CREDITS: AeJay Mitchell (Director); Sarah Gasser (Stage Manager); Sean Keehan (Lighting Designer); Kitty Muntzel (Costume Designer); Bert vanAalsburg (Scenic Design and Construction).
Kedar K. Adour, MD
Courtesy of www.theatreworldim2.com
Shawntez Jackson as Ace and Charles Peoples III as Pink in THE LEGEND OF PINK by Kheven LaGrone, directed by AeJay Mitchell.
A Theatre Rhinoceros Production at The Gateway Theatre (formerly The Eureka Theatre.)
Photo by David Wilson.