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Reviews
THE ANTIPODES Road Less Traveled Productions/RLTP Theatre
Annie Baker’s “The Antipodes” is more of a series of audition monologues than a coherent play.

Jan 26, 2020, 23:49

Reviews
JUMP Paul Robeson Theatre/African American Cultural Center
Through February 9
JUMP Paul Robeson Theatre/African American Cultural Center

Charly Evon Simpson’s “Jump” is about that most awful of family tragedies, suicide.
The story of this family is shadowed by a giant bridge.
We don’t know where this city is and that doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that the bridge is a central element in a community, used often by people passing from one section of the city to another and, clearly, a place where some people in utter despair jump.
Even before we learn much about the family at the center of this play, we meet Hopkins (Marcus Thompson Jr.), who actually started climbing past the safety railing to jump and suddenly pulls back.
He just can’t do it and moves back up to stare at his city and ponder the present.
That’s where he meets the equally troubled Fay (Aqueira Oshun), another denizen of the bridge, who is clearly considering jumping.
She’s living in her own place, scrabbling to get along.
Fay is recovering from the cancer death of her mother and her estrangement from her father (Andy Finley) who has moved to his own place and is trying to move along from his wife’s death.
There’s also sister Judy (Dayane Araujo), also distant from the family but who seems to be doing far better than her younger sister.
Dad has decided it’s time to clean out the family home and sell it and the sisters are needed to decide what they want and help him pack up the rest for distribution somewhere.
For the sisters and for Dad, there are memories of the good days and the sisterly rivalries of a family and Mom running the house and also taking the kids up on the bridge walkway to look over the city, effectively using a wonderful set design and construction from Al Garrison and assistant Larry Garrison.
This isn’t some dream, like the stage manager in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town, describing the scenes in Grover’s Corners to the audience members.
Instead, it’s a fully realized bridge and bridge walkway, requiring less imagination from the audience.
On the bridge, Hopkins and Fay meet.
A lot of this is dramatic misdirection from the playwright, shifting viewpoints and locations.
It also builds a sense of dread since it becomes increasingly clear someone will jump and die.
The question is who is the suicide and the result is surprising.
“Jump” is a shift for the Robeson.
While this theater often deals with social and family problems in the Black community, I don’t remember any dealing with suicide and the audience was clearly a little tense as the story unfolded.
Who wants to admit someone in a family lost hope and killed himelf or herself?
If you look just at the statistics, a lot of Americans commit suicide by gun and many more use other methods, like jumping off a bridge.
It happens here, even with the awful attraction of Niagara Falls.
It happens and trying to understand the reasons are important because a family member might realize a relative or even a sibling is in that stage past despair and needs immediate help.
Director Paulette D. Harris keeps this relatively short show going quickly, with fast scene changes and a strong cast led by Oshun and Thompson.
For the audience, it’s a play which looks at an ordinary family hit by one tragedy and then by another and who, ever, wants to be there.
That’s true whether you are dealing is a legal family or an informal grouping.
Each needs to know what can happen if a member of that grouping despairs.
Prospective audience members need to understand there are lessons for all of us on the Robeson stage and see “Jump.”

A.W.

Jan 24, 2020, 17:22

Editorials
WBEN's Tom Bauerle can dish it, but apparently can't take it.
Tom Bauerle a longtime radio personality on WGR and now WBEN has a history of stirring up the emotions of his listeners for his, and his station's, monetary gain. For example, in 2001 when he worked for WGR as a co-host with Chris "The Bulldog" Parker in a program entitled "Bauerle and the Bull Dog". His stint on this show earned them at least one complaint to the FCC ( PRESS STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER GLORIA TRISTANI ). Tom Bauerle while while trying to be WNY's alt-right shock jock tries to foment political hate through skewed commentary.
Jan 18, 2020, 15:35

Reviews
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY Kavinoky Theatre
Ah, the traveling man and the farmer’s daughter.
Actually, in this case it’s the traveling man and the farmer’s wife.

Jan 17, 2020, 15:50

Reviews
COPS AND FRIENDS OF COPS First Look Buffalo State Productions/Compass Performing Arts Center
Cops are just like a lot of others, stopping in for a drink or two after work.
Jan 12, 2020, 00:13

Editorials
New York needs Voter Registration Reform to include controls
We should not conflate the lack of controls in our election law relative to insuring that only those who are eligible to vote are registered to vote while not disenfranchising any of them with the Green Light Law.
Jan 4, 2020, 09:23

Editorials
Is the West Seneca Ethics Board - unethical?
I have to say I am very disappointed at the apparent conflicted state the West Seneca Ethics Board has proven itself to be in.
Nov 1, 2019, 22:48

Reviews
MAN AND SUPERMAN With Don Juan in Hell Festival Theatre/Shaw Festival
George Bernard Shaw loved words, small words, giant words, an endless flow of words, flowing like a great river to meet his goals of spreading a gospel of his values.
Oct 2, 2019, 10:44

Reviews
VICTORY Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre/Shaw Festival
“Victory”?
Over whom?

Sep 6, 2019, 15:34

Reviews
CYRANO DE BERGERAC Royal George Theatre/Shaw Festival
The nose is back.
In innumerable scripts, adaptations and translations, the story of Cyrano de Bergerac remains fascinating to the theater audience.

Sep 6, 2019, 15:26

Editorials
Rep. Tom Reed should represent the citizens of New York State rather than the Seneca Nation
Rep. Reed can put an end to the issues we are having with the Seneca Nation. First, he can put to bed the perennial fight over the Thruway. He can do this by introducing a bill and urging its passage to gether with all the other members of the House and Senate that represent New York citizens codifying the United States long held position that acts that created the right of the Thruway to cross the Seneca Nation land was proper and barring any claim in any court or other forum.
Aug 27, 2019, 17:42

Reviews
THE GLASS MENAGERIE Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre/Shaw Festivaleatree

Aug 3, 2019, 21:33

Reviews
THE LADYKILLERS Festival Theatre/Shaw Festival
The wages of sin center “The Ladykillers.”
Jul 27, 2019, 23:09

Reviews
SEX Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre/Shaw Festival
This is the Shaw Festival.
Even George Bernard Shaw would certainly have a little problem with naming a show “Sex,” but not a problem with a show about sex.

Jul 20, 2019, 16:49

Reviews
MOTHER'S DAUGHTER Studio Theatre/Stratford Festival
After playing any number of major roles as a performer, Kate Hennig apparently took to heart that frequent jibe to actresses: If you don’t think there are enough good roles for women, go write your own.
Jul 11, 2019, 11:22


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Reviews
THE ANTIPODES Road Less Traveled Productions/RLTP Theatre
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