A Stunning ‘Slashes of Light’ at Kitchen

Read the full review in this Monday’s Tompkins Weekly (tompkinsweekly.com)

Tickets at kitchentheatre.org / Through Sun June 29

Judi Jackson (Sunny) and Ryan Hope Travis (Steve) in SLASHES OF LIGHT (photo: Dave Burbank)
Judi Jackson (Sunny) and Ryan Hope Travis (Steve) in SLASHES OF LIGHT (photo: Dave Burbank)

1967. Revolution. Music. South Side Chicago: “Up South” says 13 year-old Sunny, the protagonist of Judy Tate’s superb drama, Slashes of Light, having its world premiere at the Kitchen Theatre in a co-production with the Civic Ensemble.

Like all her neighbors, Sunny is Black (she’s not sure she likes the new lingo, telling her more militant friend Kaleb that they just managed to get people to capitalize Negro)and she’s trying to explain the way things are to her new history teacher, Mrs. Hedges, the first white woman she’s ever known.

Bright, precocious, in love with words, Sunny is at a cross-roads in her life just as the nation is in great flux, caught between the days of Civil Rights and the days of Black Power and the Panthers, within the rhythms of Motown soul, rock, folk and the blues, against a burgeoning anti-war movement.…

Tate constructs the play as an accumulation of small insights into the complex lives of her characters, where race is not the only factor. There’s also gender, nationality, sex, talent, and temperament…

Tate couldn’t ask for a better premiere, helmed by her long-time director Melissa Maxwell who directs with great precision, delicately layering the performances.

…The acting exceeds wonderful. Judi Jackson captures every sigh, whoop, dejected slump, fierce anger, and starstruck crush of Sunny.

…Sarah K. Chalmers [as Mrs. Hedges]… is simply startling, her terror so stark, her need so deep, that as an audience member it is hard to breath.

…Jelani Pitcher captivates as Kaleb,…Ryan Hope Travis slinks slyly onstage as Steve, with a slight hitch to his head, wary, withholding, yet alluring, pent-up, yet aching for release.…

Robert McKay plays the Conductor with authority…


Ross Haarstad Written by:

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.