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The Very Last Days of the First Colored Circus

Phenomenal. Stupendous. Superb. Magical. Spectacular. Captivating.

These are just a few words to describe the impression that RESTORATION STAGE INC. cast of "The Very Last Days of the The Fist Colored Circus" left on it's audience members.

Tonight was my first time in the Anacostia Playhouse Blackbox Theater Space. I sat on the front row, stage left next one of the play's lead role character's, Ollie, back when the play first ran. That explains his contemplative manner, focus and attention to detail and appropriate break-in moments to acknowledge the talent that was before. And indeed, we were sitting in the presence of stars.

The play is a enactment of the life and times of being Colored Circus life in the early 19th Century. The script by Steven A. Butler was witty, humorous and historically riveting as we entered into the world as it was back then. You felt the anguish, the joy, the wonder of it all whether in laughter or in tears... Each moment of the play highlighted the characters unique identity and origin that led them to entertaining the masses under the tyrannical management of a cheap chauvinistic White Man held the family business over Ringmaster, Ollie's head- threatening to take and keep everything that they are.

Although the strong in a Colored person lays in their ability to laugh and smile in the face of adversity, belittlement and uncertainty--these characters were not spring chickens. They'd been in the business long enough to know a thing or two about responding to the daily call of "Darkie" or "Coon". They'd learn to tar their souls with costumes, singing and dancing and even shoeshine grease enough to keep up with their one meal a day pay.

There's so much more....I bought the DVD so you can take a look for yourself *wink*

The set was just as impressive as the actors. Authentic vintage clothing feathers, and overalls, glass jars of hooh, a large cedar wood trunk, microphones from the television radio days, an Asian divider panel for changing, the use of hay straw to emphasize that we were indeed at the circus.

A special thank you to all the actors and actresses for sharing their gift.
I am inspired and grateful that storytelling, art in the making is still alive and in the hands of truly gifted artists.
An even special thank you to my friend and colleague Sara Hernandez (Congratulations on living your dream! I'm so proud of you and happy to be here to witness these precious moments of growth and truth in you.)



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