An bum mama (or patriarch) perplexing to move a splintered family together before vacating a universe is sincerely common partial of a plot. So are takeoffs on God contrast someone à la The Book of Job. Combine both and one has “Head of Passes,” a Tarell Alvin McCraney (Oscar leader for “Moonlight”) play set in a Louisiana city theme to a continue whims from a Gulf of Mexico. While a tract gets soggy, Phylicia Rashad’s talent attempts to charge by a plodding tools of “Head of Passes,” that non-stop this weekend during Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and plays by Oct 22.
Facing approaching death, uneasy adult children, anticipating out about a spouse’s crime, astonishing casualties, and a inauspicious charge are flattering common (and effective) thespian twists. However, examination prolonged monologues of someone perplexing to discount with God gets a small stale. One keeps watchful for something some-more to happen.
Rashad played a executive purpose of widowed matriarch, Shelah, in New York to good reviews. She is effective here, even if a play teeters between informative clichés and wordiness.
“Head of Passes,” named for an tangible area in a Mississippi River Delta, tells a story of Shelah, who recently perceived bad news from a doctor. For her birthday, she is dynamic to move together her fractured family: Her biological sons, Aubrey (Francois Battiste) and Spencer (J. Bernard Calloway) and her uneasy adopted daughter from her late husband’s extramarital affair, Cookie (Alana Arenas). Also on palm are her aged friend, Mae (Jacqueline Williams), her white alloy who delivers cringe-inducing lines (James Carpenter), and family worker Creaker (John Earl Jelks) and his son, Crier (Kyle Beltran).
The play opens with Shelah addressing a Lord and a residence commencement to trickle from a torrential surge outside. She asks God to let “peace power even in a storm.” She’s referring her physically exploding birthplace as good as a imminent gathering.
Then, a uncover takes on a lighter, family play atmosphere as a domicile gets prepared and people arrive. There was some tough to hear discourse during this point, though a sound issues after disappeared. As a charge and series of roof leaks intensify, there is a clarity of threat and issues between expel members start to trickle out too. The initial act is family play dotted by revelations and a clarity of larger disaster appearing as Shelah gives adult her quarrel and awaits genocide in a descending detached house.
The Second Act
Denied a recover she sought, Shelah learns about a tragedies that befell her desired ones during a night (and in a past, to that she prolonged incited a blind eye) as a second act opens. This act is where a faith of Shelah is truly tested by her family tragedy. The “Head of Passes” assembly is tested too.
The act is mostly Shelah articulate to and haranguing God. As she re-examines her character’s eremite fervor, Rashad tries valiantly to make it work with some out-de-force tension and restraint in a face of suffering. However, her opening can't crack a dam placed in her approach by a extended monologue.
Rashad is clearly a star, though other characters do gleam here, quite Williams and Beltran. The scenic pattern by G.W. Mercier is also effective in bringing a existence of a drop that literally rained down on Shelah to life.
Fans of Tony leader and “The Cosby Show” star Phylicia Rashad will conclude her talent as she weathers her approach by a charge and slimy calm of “Head of Passes” in L.A. Those who like Greek tragedies might too. However, a vituperation during a sky/God seemed purposeless – that might have been a point.
By Dyanne Weiss
Performance Sept. 24, 2017
Center Theatre Group
Los Angeles Times QA Tarell Alvin McCraney on life after ‘Moonlight’ and his play in L.A., ‘Head of Passes’
Steppenwolf: Suspension of Disbelief
Photos by Craig Schwartz, pleasantness of Center Theatre Group. of (L-R) Phylicia Rashad and Jacqueline Williams as good as inset, Rashad alone during a finish in “Head of Passes” by Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Phylicia Rashad Storms Through Soggy ‘Head of Passes’ in LA combined by Dyanne Weiss on Sep 26, 2017
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