Friday, April 17, 2015

Theater Review: Blues for an Alabama Sky

FullSizeRenderLast night, my husband and I enjoyed  dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Afterwards, we headed to Midtown for a show at my favorite theater. The play, Blues for an Alabama Skyfirst debuted on stage in Atlanta 20 years ago. Congratulations to the playwright Pearl Cleage on the anniversary!
I’ve been waiting for this play since I saw the announcement for it last year. I even bought the play from Amazon.com with plans to read it before I saw the show. Unfortunately, the reading it before the show part didn’t happen (nope, not even with a year to get it done), but oh well. 
It was quite cool to watch the piece come alive on stage. The cast was small – six members, with one who made only two brief (yet notable) appearances. But I loved it! Fewer characters just made it so easy for me to get swallowed up in their thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions. Each character brought his/her own depth to the stage, and it was beautiful. For two hours and some change I was a resident of Harlem, New York in the summer of 1930. A time when the Harlem Renaissance was interrupted by the perils of the Great Depression. 
 
After the show, a modest group of theater enthusiasts, students and fans gathered to hear Cleage talk about the play and other aspects of her career. Oh how I love to hear an artist “talk shop.” To be a part of the conversation in person is an even bigger treat.  Think buttercream frosting on your favorite, family recipe dessert. Sweet, right?
Every dreaming bone in my body began to twitch and tingle as my heart beat to the rhythm of the conversation. Questions and comments from those gathered showed just how successfully Cleage’s work had drawn in the audience. I didn’t ask any questions. I guess I was just lost in the listening.
Believe it or not, we didn’t decide to attend last night’s show until earlier the same day. We certainly couldn’t have planned the evening any better, though.
So, if you’re in Atlanta or plan to visit between now and Mother’s Day, consider adding Blues for an Alabama Sky to your list of things to do. Click here for backstory and an interesting interview with Pearl Cleage.
Do you enjoy the theater? What was the last stage play you saw and how was it?