The Color of Our Hearts is ambitious, but not as cohesive as the best of the We Are Here! Festival at 18th and Union.
The Color of Our Hearts includes one-act, one-man plays Kenju DOO-it? and Black and White and Read All Over. Individually, the pieces are strong enough, but together they lack a solid through-line. First, there’s Kenju Waweru’s Kenju DOO-it?, a personally felt dissection of immigration and blackness in America. The second, Greg Kleciak’s Black and White and Read All Over, is a multi-character fiction about the internet’s ability to isolate people. The first show is confessional, the second is more thesis-driven and feels far less personal. The pairing is odd, and it hinders both pieces.
However, taken individually, each play finds moments of grace. Waweru’s piece particularly starts strong and ends stronger as he describes the difficulties of immigrating to the U.S., bringing with him his amiability and candor. The mark of a great We Are Here! entry seems to be this confessional capacity, and Waweru demonstrates this effectively throughout his short.
On the other hand, Kleciak seems to have less to confess. The worst thing that can be said about Read All Over is that it lacks the personal quality of the piece it follows. Kleciak is charming as he shifts voices and postures to embody multiple characters, but his almost too-conventional approach to storytelling lets very few of them breathe. The abbreviated three-act approach is a far cry from the looser structures of other works at the We Are Here! Festival, and it doesn’t entirely fit with the nature of the one-act show.
The Color of Our Hearts is an earnest but not entirely effective hour of theater. It’s worth checking out as an interesting part of the We Are Here! Festival, but it’s not as intuitive as some of the other shows.
The Color of Our Hearts is now running at 18th and Union. For tickets and more information, go to https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10363246.