By Portia A. Scott (www.atlantadailyworld.com)
“The Colored Museum” by George C. Wolfe is a sophisticated satire that explores how the past meets the present. Directed by Jasmine Guy, it runs through April 17 at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center in Decatur. A production by Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, the play is hilarious; yet it brings an honest balance to a sensitive subject matter that is our history — race. It is a must- see production.
The play opens with Miss Pat, a perky flight attendant who announces that “shackles must be worn at all times during the flight” to Savannah, Ga. She also reminds the audience to “Please refrain from calls and responses between cabins because it could lead to rebellion.” Miss Pat, played by Amber Iman, a veteran actress who is no stranger to Atlanta or True Colors (“Black Nativity” and “Gut Bucket Blues” and the Horizon Theatre (“Shakin the Mess Outta Misery”). She plays a number of roles in the production, including the girl in the “Photo Session” exhibit, the woman in “The Hairpiece” exhibit, and the sister (Medea Jones) in the “Last Mama-on-the Couch Play” exhibit. Iman, a Howard University graduate, does a superb job in this play and seems to enjoy interacting with the audience.
Joining Miss Pat is the humorous Miss Roj, a flamboyant drag queen, played by Enoch King. King also plays Walter Lee-Beau-Willie-Jones and strikes a fine balance between comedy and the self-analysis of a people. King gives a superb performance that captures the pain and suffering of African Americans of the past and present. His wit is the gospel truth, as told by Miss Roj.
Others who make up the cast include: Ali Amin Carter, who plays the percussionist, the guy, waiter, the man, and the “Soldier with a Secret” exhibit; Je Nie Fleming, who plays Mama, Aunt Ethel, Lala Lamazing Grace, and Danielle Deadwyler, who plays Normal Jean Reynolds, Lady in Plaid, and LaWanda in “The Hairpiece.” On Saturday, April 2, Yakini Horne played Janine in “The Hairpiece” exhibit. Horne played the ballerina in “Amazing Grace” at the Horizon Theatre, recently, and Lady In Blue in “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf.” She is a member of the all women’s African dance and drumming company, Giwayen Mata, and graduated from Georgia State University in theater.
“The Colored Museum” debuted off-Broadway in 1986 and is a sophisticated satire of African-American culture from slavery to present. It should be seen by the young and old, so we can all appreciate from which we came.
It is exciting to have Guy back behind the scenes executing the manner in which we tell this story. The stereotypes that grew out of this classic play are real and represent the history of our culture. We are grateful for the playwright, the director, the artistic director, Chrishaunda Lee, managing director, and all the actors who helped bring to life a timely production that is just as relevant today as it was in the 1980s.
The Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center is located at 3181 Rainbow Drive in Decatur. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $20.
For ticket information call 1-877-725-8849.