Today (Sunday) at 3 p.m. is your last chance to catch Jubilee Theatre’s production of Black Boy Fly, young Jordan E. Cooper’s powerful 40-minute drama about racism, anchored by the George Zimmerman trial.
The setting is the scarcely furnished apartment of Clyde Johnson (Chris Piper), a black Harvard Law student interning for Zimmerman’s defense team, and his white fiancé, the bubbly and slightly neurotic Heather (Alden Price), who is frantically preparing for the arrival of Clyde’s brother, Vaughan, who has just been released from prison. Clyde is much less excited, thinking of his brother as just another felon. Heather remains optimistic even as she answers the door to discover not Vaughn but Vanessa (Whitney Coulter), Vaughn’s lawyer and Clyde’s childhood neighbor and ex-girlfriend. A black radical, Vanessa goes on one rant after another after hearing of Clyde’s new position, and, naturally, not all of her anger is misplaced –– sometimes being black is like the blues, and, on a much less important note, Tyler Perry does perpetuate racism with his caricature-filled flicks.
There’s some comic relief, courtesy of Heather (who loves the Madea movies, by the way), but heaviness rules –– touching on everything from the n-word to abortion, the subject matter elicited varied reactions from the audience on Thursday night’s opening performance. There was laughter and then snorts of disapproval and then more laughter and then, near the end, even some tears.
Though the acting was exceptional, the real star of the show was the script.
Admission is pay-what-you-can with a suggested $5 minimum donation. Proceeds from the four-day run are going toward a scholarship to pay for 18-year-old Cooper’s college tuition. Cooper is Jubilee’s 2013-’14 artist in residence.