Rebecca Benedict takes “The Long Rail Home”

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The Soho play house was buzzing with excitement when I arrived, clearly I was not the only person excited to see this play.

Thomas Morgan (Xavier Rodney) Is a Soldier who has saved a little white girl from a burning plantation home in a time where there was more risk and kindness in his action then there was rational sense.

 

 

As an audience we were taken through the scary and violent world of what it was to be a black man during the civil war and showered with realities of emasculation, violence, families turned against each other and taken apart.

We also learned of the social construct set up with in families to perpetuate racism and white supremacy as the young 12 year old Molly Barnes (Jordyn Morgan) finds herself with a Black Soldier who saved her life more then once yet facing her Daddy’s life long racist teachings that equate him to being less then human even though Private Morgan is all she has, even though he keeps risking himself for her safety.

I was so very impacted by the story Mr Morgan and Mrs Barns Share and how we slowly come to understand all the ways they are connected and how much love and guilt is behind the risks that are taken. I was also very effected by the character Coal Car Casey (Anna Hogan) who was an example of how even though it was a war on slavery if you could not align your beliefs with white supremacy you were an enemy to both sides.

This show was such an outstanding experience it educated us, it went to the insides of our humanity and shook us, it asked us to just know the truth. The story was crafted with detailed thought to every characters perspective of life in South Carolina During the Civil war and racial violence and degradation also in the glorified North. Our country needs this play, our history needs this play it is exactly who and what we come from that wont be explored openly even as we still live with in the mess it has made and continues to make. I cannot imagine how it must have felt to work through this script as actors and unpack the emotions living in these characters, living in all of us, complicated and silenced. The director (Brock H. Hill) did an outstanding job with a remarkable cast.

I was in love with this show, I was so thankful for it and upon leaving had to hold back from hugging the writer (Michael Hagins) for making something so outstanding and instead I awkwardly squeezed his shoulder not having words for all of the emotions I was experiencing (sorry again about that Mr. Hagins). Bravo to everyone involved and thank you so much for your contribution and for using the power of theater to effect us so deeply Michael Hagins you deserve every accolade.

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