With utility poles that shrink as they approach an iridescent sky, and a stage filled with dirt, the smell of which wafts into the audience, Charles Kirby's outdoor set for Deep Down is, in a small way, as striking and evocative as Bob Crowley's much applauded one for Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center. Also similar to Twelfth Night,Bill Sims Jr. establishes a bluesy feel in Deep Down with a musical performance that begins as an overture and continues throughout the play's many interludes. (It alone is well worth the price of admission.) I begin with these perhaps odd comparisons for a couple of reasons. First, because they remind us that it doesn't always take a great deal to achieve a lot. Second, because they reconfirm that no amount of decoration can overcome a performance that lacks credibility.
Doug Grissom's play may have a valuable contribution to make to the discourse on race relations in America. It explores the footprints of slavery that remain in the consciousness of African Americans, and the ways in which whites relegate the subject to the coffin of "history" while oftentimes continuing to act on its prejudices. Set in 1963 in the rural South, it seems both dated and distant. Perhaps it requires that much perspective in order to be given consideration, yet neither the disjointed story, overburdened with the obvious, nor the lop-sided cast succeeds in helping him artfully make his point....
The review does not get better but can be found here if you are interested...
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