Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
It has been said that "home is where the heart is." Those words ring especially true for Cephus Miles, the central character in Samm-Art Williams' drama, Home. Now playing at the Round House Theatre, Home is a tale of love, dignity, and survival.
So, where is Cephus' home? Where does his heart reside? It is soon discovered that his home is the racially segregated Cross Roads, North Carolina. And as for his heart? His heart lies buried beneath the dark, rich soil that he has farmed for most of his life.
However, this man's story extends to a world beyond his farm and, with the help of a variety of characters, Cephus describes his life through three decades. As a modern day Greek chorus dances around him, singing and telling tales, Cephus pleads with the audience to "take a minute with me ... please." Then, through narrative and flashbacks, we are treated to glimpses of his life. From a boyhood spent both praying and sinning, to adulthood where the most basic teachings of his faith inspire scorn in others, it is evident that this disheartened man never abandons his desire to reach the dwelling of his heart.
Everything about this production of Home is melodic. However, despite the occasional burst of song, this is not a musical. Instead, the entire piece just feels like music. Williams' poetic dialogue flows beautifully. Williams has also proven himself to be a skillful storyteller, using subtle references to communicate the racial injustices that have arisen in this country's recent history.
Director, Thomas W. Jones III utilizes his cast expertly, while making full use of Daniel Conway's skillfully designed set. Tony Angelini's sound design and original music further enhance the experience. It is obvious that these gentlemen understand the actor's instrument, and the result is a robust performance.
Home possesses an incredibly talented cast. Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. as Cephus, offers up a charismatic performance. Spanning the years from childhood to adulthood he evokes amusement, hopefulness, and pity. Veteran television actress, Crystal Fox ("In The Heat Of The Night") portrays several different characters, including Pattie Mae, the love of Cephus' life. She shows her versatility in this piece, playing each role beautifully whether it is a love struck teenage girl or a hallucinating drug dealer. Rounding out the cast is Lynn Chavis, who also plays a variety of characters. She demonstrates her versatility as well as she embodies characters that include a young boy, a bible-thumping minister, and Myrna, a party girl looking for sugar daddy.
Cephus is described at one point as having "everlasting grace." The same holds true for this dignified and eloquent play. Be sure to visit Home before time runs out. Home runs through December 2nd.
The Round House Theatre