Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
The Sty of the Blind Pig
Also see Bill's review of Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul
The production is first rate. All four actors form a strong ensemble with the chemistry of a stagnating family. Ron Bobb-Semple as Blind Jordan has been seen frequently on area stages, notably at West Coast Black Theatre Troupe in August Wilson's Jitney. Here he returns to a role he played 30 years ago in New York. He is completely believable in his character's blindness. Cassandra Small as Weedy dominates, as the matriarch of a family tends to do. Weedy is crotchety and set in her ways for sure, but Ms. Small finds the loving part of her soul. Alan Bomar Jones as Doc has also been seen in several August Wilson plays at American Stage, and the excellence of his cumulative work is an important part of those productions. Here he portrays a ne'er do well who carries himself with great style. The way he is able to wear gloves, taking them on and off, demonstrates his skills in bringing characters richly to life. Alberta is the showiest role in this play; in act two she has an extended solo scene in which she lives a religious experience. Ms. Webb handles this scene well, and she is even stronger in the rest of the play. Her sparring with her mother throughout the play has great emotional depth; these people have a long history with each other.
The direction by Mark Clayton Southers is not showy but such extraordinary ensemble acting does not come out of nowhere. He paces the play well and keeps things in focus. All of the technical elements of this productionsets by Rick Cannon, costumes by Ross Boehringer, and lighting by Michael Pasquinifurther polish this gem of a production. Sound design is credited to Edward Costa, and the actors are not miked which I loved.
Next up at Banyan Theater Company is Donald Margulies' Collected Stories a fascinating look at mentor/mentee relationships, August 7-24, 2014.
Banyan Theater Company presents The Sty of the Blind Pig through August 3, 2014, at the Jane B. Cook Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL, 34243. Call (941) 351-2808 or banyantheatercompany.com
Cast: Blind Jordan: Ron Bobb-Semple*
Director: Mark Clayton Southers