Review by G. L. Horton
Copyright © 2002
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.