14:00 (1h 15m)
This highly emotional performance deals with an array of social issues. Set in the 1950’s, Martin Luther King played by Mark M. Cryer is staying at a motel when he orders room service and gets more than he bargained for. Venue 13 is set in a building usually used as a church hall. But when entering the theatre space you are enclosed from the outside world. The fluency gets faster as the play progresses and as we bond with the two characters: Mr King and a service maid named Camae, played by Kiana Sosa. The few of us who turned up, a total numbering 6, found ourselves laughing at intimate moments.
Bare Naked Theatre challenge the norm by bringing important issues to the fore. A quick search on Youtube shows that the issue of racism is just as relevant today as it was then. There is a refreshing interplay between the two characters in this regard. The set is stark. His room in a motel. The dialogue is crisp and the story is crisper. Emotional ties are examined and become broader and deeper reflecting the importance of King’s very great achievements as a human rights activist. His relevance in the fight for equality resonates with his fellow African Americans who are represented by Camae’s character.
The play uses dialogue in a powerful way building up the story and the subject offering a righteous but humble portrayal of Mr. King’s more personal feelings about what he did and importantly what he did not do. There is a light hearted progression from start to finish and I left the theatre with a broad smile on my face. The maid used the crowd for her method. Watching her engage the crowd involving them with the power of her stare was both tender and touching. When Mr. King spoke his voice demanded to be heard, highlighting the man known for the quality of his powerful speeches. Theatre like this should be seen by as many people as possible. FOUR STARS
Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly