Over weekend, I was extended an invitation to watch A Moment of Truth, a play produced by Moses Washington in which my friends, Lyneise Rachelle and Tsachai Sky Maduro, had significant roles. I had been a fan of their artistry for years and couldn't wait to enjoy them on stage. My girls are known throughout the community to always bring their A game, and despite a few unfortunate unfortunatelys, they did not completely let me down. I was captivated by Rachelle’s ability to play wife Nia who had been raped and impregnated. Nia ultimately gives birth to the rapist’s son, and in an attempt to heal, she writes a tell-all book giving her readers a glimpse into her family life beyond the façade.
The story was amazing in concept but it fell flat in multiple scenes. Thankfully, Maduro’s undeniable role as Nia’s public relations manager lit up the stage when she dropped in projecting her voice in an exuberant and believable British accent. She single handedly pulled the story together and gave the audience some much needed energy. Unfortunately, when she excited stage left for the final time, the announcer gave a verbal commercial for Maduro’s personal business in the middle of the play. My eyes almost popped out of my head as I could not believe my ears.
Either way, it should have been riveting to witness the turmoil behind Nia’s million dollar book deal and radio interviews despite her therapist’s advice. Her initial emotional breakdowns were gut wrenching, but after over 3 hours of postpartum depression, I was starving for some #BlackGirlHappiness. Thankfully, the song selections between scenes were perfect pick me ups allowing the audience sing, snap fingers and jook from side to side.
Unfortunately, the storyline, although full of potential, became lost in the overly drawn out dialogue, ridiculously long scenes, badly placed gospel performances and a hidden almost subliminal climax. I attended the play with a few actor friends, and we were about 20 minutes in when we realized that this play was going nowhere slowly. Thankfully, we had each other.
A Moment of Truth could have benefited from a dramaturge, a professional skilled at editing theater scripts and public relations. Unfortunately, it appeared that this was a vital corner that was cut.
My editor once told me that this day would come where in the name of journalism, I would have to speak my truth despite the feelings of others. Yet as I typed this edition of On The Scene, I asked myself who am I to critique my peers, my friends and their art. It would be so much easier to pretend that it never happened, to look the other way and to focus on my own business flaws. Societal norms encourage our communities to remain quiet when we know deep down inside that the truth is necessary for our collective and individual growth. Accordingly, I had to put on my “this is bigger than me” hat hoping that this review would eventually been seen as a push towards greatness.
Regardless, my final unfortunately goes to the actors of A Moment of Truth not Director Washington. While I agree that the play was possibly, quite simply poorly written and directed, a team focused on team rather than flashing lights would have understood that when the leader shines, the entire tribe wins. Quality team members develop effective leaders, and the state of our community demands that we come to terms with this concept.
The great news is, I personally came to realize we all play a role in holding our leaders accountable. That night was probably an embarrassment for the cast of A Moment of Truth, but I know this is only a wrinkle in time for them. God will finish the work he began, and stage lights will shine again for another #MoWashProduction and its cast.
I just hope I get invited back to report the good news.
Check out Crystal Chanel's On the Scene article in The Westside Gazette: http://thewestsidegazette.com/unfortunatelys-local-play/