The History of Love … in two plays

Wrda Hussain reviews

Set in a southern jail cell in the early 1940s, the relationship of two lesbian lovers, Anne and Hattie, are tested. W.Tre Davis’ production of Damn Fool conveys a message about acceptance. The production showcases Anna’s conflict with herself about her sexuality; bound by religion and her father, she unable to come forward and accept her identity.

Renika Williams plays Hattie, an editor of a radical black newspaper and Lisa Kitchens plays as Anna, a southern church girl. Renika Williams and Lisa Kitchens displayed great talent with a powerful use of voice. The chemistry between these two could be felt throughout the play. It helped that they had excellent writing – deep plot and well-fleshed characters – to work from as well. Production values – especially the costumes were effective. Annas’ long blonde hair and flowy floral dress amplified her “southerner” mystique and served as fine counterpoint to Hatties’ business casual. Damn Fool displays something that much of the Fresh Fruit Festival programs possess in abundance: the tribulations experienced by today’s LGBT community can be seen in all of us.

The Wild Project is a stunning space and a great venue for off-off Broadway. Couple that with the Fresh Fruit staff and the high production values, it was a great experience.

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It was these high production values that made Village Orpheus produced by Mickey Bolmer, a powerful addition to the duo of plays. It told the story about O’Hara and his lover, Joe, as he takes on the role of Orpheus, the Greek prophet, bringing prosperity and happiness to Greenwich Village throughout the 50s and 60s. The storytelling was soaring and surreal. (of course, Greenwich Village tales would be “artsy”) with top-notch visuals that served as excellent spice to the play. Beautiful costumes, masterful sound and projections gave us an artistic showing of great power.

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