This Week in Theater
Written: by Marcus Gardley
Review by Rose Desena
Shirley Jo Finney directs this epic tale of mystery and tragedy that comes to the small town of Freetown, A place where African American slaves and the Seminole tribe’s people live in agreed harmony.
This intense drama takes the audience on a historical journey through the lives of those who live by tradition, myth and ceremony in a style that is Finney’s signature. We have the witch Half George, with her powers, and Horse Power, the elder who believes he can make it rain with his dancing. Colorado, a gentle soul who is unsuccessful in finding love; he serenades his friends with his beautiful poems.
The head honcho, Trobridge, a Seminole and the chief of the town and Number Two an ex-slave , Both men have a long history together, at one point maybe a little more than either could handle. When Number Two finds out that his daughter, Sweet Tea, is in a secret relationship with Trobridges son a tragedy happens that will shake the town’s peaceful existence for years to come. The well really does run dry and Half George has a bad feeling about the situation.
The story really thickens when an agreement is stuck that requires a sacrifice so deep and painful it will change the lives of everyone involved.
The play moves along with cultural music and dialogue that is mesmerizing as more truths and history come to life at every turn. I was not familiar with the existence of Freetown or its history, but I have been doing a lot of research since, and I am grateful for the introduction to this historical time in American history.
The Road Weeps is a wonderful fable that gives us insight into the hard ships of cultures that were untouched by modernized civilization and racked with inherited tradition that cuts no man or women any slack.
Finney shines here; this is her territory. The play is blessed with great acting, pleasurable music and a valid book. What else is there?
As I was deep in thought on my way home, I couldn’t’ help but think about the culture clashes of today. It must be very difficult for the emergent families that come to America from countries with rules and laws that are the opposite of our country’s freedoms. The younger people are caught in-between the old and the new, and I am sure it is the cause of tension.
If you see this and I think you should take a look at the sites I have included, it will give you a better understanding and make the play that much more enjoyable. http://www.semtribe.com/History/IndianRemoval.aspx ; http://www.johnhorse.com/black-seminoles/faq-black-seminoles.htm
Written: by Marcus Gardley
Directed: by Shirley Jo Finney
Photos by: Ed Krieger
Cast: Darrell Dennis, Elizabeth Frances, Demetrius Grosse, Matthew Hancock, Brent Jennings, Monnae Michaell, Simone Missick, Darryl Alan Reed, Montae Russell, Nakia Secrest and Shaun Taylor-Corbett.
Runs, through November 17. Regular show times: Thurs. & Fri. at 8:00, Sat. at 3:00 and 8:00, Sun. at 3:00.
Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013.