Mostly Anger hid the Truth
18th and Union, operating out of the New City space in the Central District, this past year has produced and hosted some incredible shows of the small cast variety, which have been a continuing source of creativity and joy. However, the latest show at 18th and Union, produced by the Training Grenades, however well-executed, was not exactly joyful.
Truth Be Told was four unnamed solo pieces, only one of which I would call a ten-minute play, the other three were solo monologues. Although the subject matter of three of the pieces were not quite my cup of tea, the actors, who all emanated from the graduate M.F.A. program at the UW, certainly demonstrated incredible talent and fine training.
The second piece written and directed by, Bridget McKevitt, in my opinion was the most interesting, as it most closely resembled a well-made play even if it was only ten minutes. A clear conflict was introduced; there was character development and a resolution. McKevitt played a mother being questioned by the police about the death of her child. Like many mothers, including the children of some of the big Nazis, she had been concerned that her child may have inherited some rather unfortunate genes. The performance and the writing drew in the audience, left us with a satisfied ending and the dialogue as well as the dramatic structure did credit to the author.
The first piece by Bria Henderson demonstrated that the actor had enormous energy, fantastic vocal and movement ability, and was a wordsmith par excellent. For what it was, it was done exceptionally well, the problem was WHAT it was. After the curtain rose, a black female actor appeared in Blackface, in a bizarre outfit, in front of a sign that said SLAVE AUCTION. Everyone in the audience was given a bidding number and a fake slave auction took place. We were also asked, several times, to call her the n-word. It fell flat.
The third piece by Porsha Shaw, who played the mythical Lilith, the first wife of Adam, I can’t describe as I didn’t quite understand it, but it seemed to have something to do with feminism and all the children who had been killed in warfare, by men. Ms. Shaw’s costume was as beautiful as she was; it was a dress Elizabeth Bennett would wear in Pride and Prejudice.
The last performance, by Allan Miller III was again, a highly talented performer and writer, who wrote in rhyming couplets, and in that form is how he spoke. Towards the end, he started raging so that like a grenade it demolished all positive emotion and just left destructive non-emotion. Anger is an absence of emotion, and hides the truth, destroying any positive connection with the audience.
One wonders who directed these pieces, to let such talented performers risk offending the audiences.
Truth Be Told. Training Grenades. At 18th and Union. Fridays 7:30 June 9-23; 18th and Union. 1406-18th Avenue Seattle 98122 (Central District) corner of 18th and Union. Bus |48, #2, Street parking is plentiful