Ensemble Theatre’s ‘The Light’ is a breathtaking trip of pure theater
Rashad (Ananias J. Dixon) and Genesis (Nicole Sumlin) have a thing going on. She is a Principal of an exclusive Black STEM charter school and he a Firefighter. She has her very stylish apartment, he owns a house where his mother and child (from a previous relationship) live. The couple have been seeing each other for two years with today being their two year anniversary. Things are beginning to get serious.
They begin to banter with each other in a playful way, egging each other on as if it is just another day. Then, Damn! He drops a bomb...and Damn! She drops a bomb...then again Damn! Damn! Damn! bombs are going off so fast and furious the audience has to duck to avoid being hit by shrapnel.
Loy A. Webb’s “The Light” is a short (75 minutes) roller coaster ride that will have you on the edge of your seats right up to the very last word. Tightly directed by Jeannine Gaskin with outstanding work by Intimacy Director, Julia Fisher. The play is done in real time as we witness two lives spinning out of control.
At the core is the proposition put forth by Genesis that Black women (if not all women)are at the low rungs of the ladder of society. They are undervalued, unseen, unbelieved and their pain (that they bear silently) unrecognized. Their only wish is to be seen simply as human beings and protected...nothing more.
As for the two person cast, they are phenomenal and word perfect. Ananias J. Dixon as Rashad has the courage to show his heartbreak of emotions as he works himself up into a lather while Nicole Sumlin as Genesis has all the markings of the school principal as she attempts to control a situation that is spiraling rapidly out of control. In the end, nothing is left on the stage as they become their characters. There is laughter, tears, heartbreak and yet hope.
The superb runway style stage set with seating on both sides is brilliantly done by Ian Hinz (who also did the lighting). Costuming is done by Harold Crawford. Sound is designed by Becca Moseley and Jeannine Gaskin.
This is one of those rare theatrical treats that is known as “a complete play” that takes the theater goer on a wild and rambunctious ride while at the same time teaching us a much deeper lesson then we expected to see. Damn! You really must see this play!
“The Light” will be on stage at Ensemble Theatre through June 11, 2023. the theater is housed in the main academic building of Notre Dame College’s Performing Arts Center located at 4545 College Road, South Euclid (take Cedar Road to South Green Road north to College Road and follow the Ensemble Theatre signs). Parking is free. For more information and tickets go to www.ensembletheatrecle.org or call (216) 321-2930.