Review by G. L. Horton
Copyright © 2002 Geralyn Horton.

Bee Luther Hatchee
author Thomas Gibbons
director David Miller
produced by Zeitgeist Theatre

Quick Take . . .

I finally made it to BEE LUTHER HATCHEE, and I'm joining the rest of the "gang" in urging people to get to the BCA tonight to see Zeitgeist's production-- it is a production well worth seeing, with good acting and deft direction. The "issues" raised by author are important ones in need of the discussion the play is sure to prompt. What we-- and this is a personal, citizen's "we", not a theatre critic's or the royal one-- need very badly is a safe, non-judgmental place to have that discussion: the important discussion about bearing witness and identity and empathy and community, not the secondary one author Thomas Gibbons raises about whether it is OK for a writer to use a misleading pseudonym or to pass off a fact-based work of the imagination as nonfiction. "We" owe a debt of gratitude to David Miller of Zeitgeist Theatre for working to create such a safe place, welcoming to all. I just wished after the show that there had been a large and diverse audience, preferably one that felt comfortable responding to the stage action in the way that the matinee audience in NYC at "Having Our Say" or the New Globe audience in London at "Henry V" or "Merchant of Venice" responded, weighing the testimony, confirming the immediacy of the conflicts depicted. Or, at a post-play discussion, I would have loved to hear the cast, who invest so much credible emotion in their roles, talk about how living through this confrontation night after night has affected them.

However, I can see why see why people - black, white, or "other" - might be unsure of being welcome, and hesitate to attend the play. It deals with 2 likable people who long for recognition, but their situation is such that they can only get what they want by betraying what they are. Their confrontation exposes injuries that go back generations and yet are still so raw and painful that most people would prefer to let them fester rather than be in the room when the pain and anger are let loose.

October 5, 2002.


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