Inola McGuire reviews LINE @ The 13th Street Repertory Theatre
50 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011
Monday, April 4, 2016
The performance that I saw is “Line” written by Israel Horowitz, directed by Jacqueline Wade, stage managed by Eternanda Fudge; starring Danquai Draughon, Eric Willingham, Melissa Denize, Jeremy Horton, and Tony Del Bono.
The audience hears the music of a baseball song, and it sees Flemming lying on the floor on the stage. He gets up and he stands with a bottle in his hand. Another guy appears and he asks Flemming if there is a line. He is Stephen and he continues with his small talk in an uppity demeanor towards Flemming. Some of the conversation goes over Flemming’s head for he talks about Mozart and the opera, The Marriage of Figaro. In order to pass his time standing on line, Stephen sings and shows his appreciation for classical music.
By this time, Flemming gets an education from Stephen about the life of Mozart. He tells him Mozart’s full name. Stephen hints to Flemming how Mozart was the age of Christ, in his thirties, when he did his best work. He states that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had a premonition about his life, and he was a young genius. Later, Stephen wants to trade his wallet with Flemming, and he tells him how he can learn from his wallet. Stephen updates poor Flemming on each piece of his identification in his wallet. After, both of them sing the baseball song together; Stephen continues with his superior attitude about who is first on the line.
Another person joins the line. She is vivacious Molly and Stephen tells her that she’s third on the line. Flemming pulls Molly aside and he tells her all about Stephen’s behavior. Flemming loses his position of being in first place on the line. By this time, the audience sees Dolan, the West Indian, standing on line too. Molly’s husband, Arnall joins the line as well; and he complains about his wife in ability to be domesticated. Flemming tries to get back in the line. He vies for his original position without luck. Molly flirts with the men on the line. Stephen becomes her first victim. He chooses to select classical music to dance with Molly and he ends up on the floor. As a result, he loses his position on the line.
Arnall looks on at his wife’s behavior. Dolan gets his opportunity to dance with Molly to the tune of Reggae music. The audience sees a scene like it is Reggae Festival in the tropics without a beer or other alcoholic beverages in full supply. Molly moves her hips in a rhythmic motion, and Dolan wines in his dancehall style from the back of her with his twist and turns. Arnall and Flemming look on in amazement, and Flemming tries to get in the act before it is too late. Flemming now dances with Molly and they capitalize on the R &B music. Arnall gets his chance to dance with his wife, too. Molly is beside herself with her husband inability to act like a strong man who is in control of his emotions. The audience empathizes with her because he is a weakling. Arnall is too weak to handle his wife’s dancing appetite, and Flemming and Molly go for a second round. They dance to Marvin Gaye’s song, “Let’s Get It On.” Flemming tells Dolan to take another dance, and Stephen manipulates all of them and he moves the line. Molly curses all of the men about their not satisfying her. Dolan tells Molly about herself Caribbean style. They push and outsmart each other to get first place on the line, and Molly breaks all of the rules. The audience looks forward for the bickering among them for first place in the line. Dolan keeps his cool most of the time as to strike when the iron is hot, and he succeeds with his strategy.
Uppity Stephen tries to outsmart the gang with his high level of thinking. Arnall wants to know more about Mozart’s music, and he kindly obliges him. Arnall talks about the drum and he sings about the Requiem. With the exception of Stephen all of them say, “Boom, Boom.” They drive Stephen crazy, and he uses the opportunity to his own advantage. Molly tries to help him and he tricks them. Stephen tells Arnall about himself, and the other say, “Boom, Boom.”
Molly, Flemming, Dolan, and Arnall look for the line. Stephen tells them that he ate it. Molly cries out to the audience surprise. “What if I’m pregnant?” “Flemming never finish.” Molly is in crisis. The audience wants to know who the daddy is, and it sees each guy in front of a line except Stephen.
The writer gets his message across to the audience because situation like this one plays out each and every day on television. The Maury Show, Tabloid Talk show, is a perfect example of what to expect about the paternity of children in America. It could be another scenario where dubious Arnall gets his kicks from seeing his wife’s interaction with other men. This is an old practice that has been carried out for decades.