Sunday, April 29, 2012

Scorched Earth

A friend and I saw the play, Scorched Earth, at the Barksdale Theater (Willow Lawn) last night. It is a powerful and challenging production in many ways, not the least of which is the question of whether a mixed race baby, dead shortly after birth, can appropriately be buried in the cemetery of her white mother's church.

That isn't the only thought provoking moral question posed by this play. Based on author/playwright David Robbins' book of the same title, the audience is challenged to respond to conflicts of truth versus justice, forgiveness versus accountability and more.

Don't expect everything to be tied up in a neat little package with all the questions answered. During the play I said to myself more than once, "I didn't see that coming." Since then I've been asking myself, "what happens next in that town," and "did that character do the right thing?" During a Q&A with Robbins and some of the actors after the performance one audience member called out, "sequel" as these unanswered questions were being discussed.

The acting was superb. There's not a weak link in the cast. The set and lighting contributed greatly to the effectiveness of the performance. Director Steve Perigard helped the actors use Robbins' words to craft a great evening. A few ironic chuckles were generated during the show but this is definitely not a laugh-fest.

Scorched Earth is a joint production of the Barksdale and Theater IV and runs through May 20th. Show times and tickets are available here.

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