'Blackbird' - "So Evil My Love"
(c) Beyond Chron (a daily internet newspaper)
May 4, 2007
|By Buzzin' Lee Hartgrave
"No one can love or understand me
|Steven Culp and Jessi Campbell in Blackbird
Oh, oh what hard luck stories they all hand me
Make my bed and light the light
I'll arrive late tonight
Blackbird, bye bye" – by Mort Dixon and Ray Henderson."
And so the above IS the play 'Blackbird' in a Nutshell. In the play we hear hard luck stories about an older man who has consensual sex with a minor that encouraged it. He goes to prison for three years. The girl, now grown seeks out the first man that she ever slept with. He is now out of prison and has made a new life for himself. He has even changed his name. The little Lolita is now a grown woman, who wants to burden her first lover with all the troubles that she has seen since he disappeared after that fateful night in a motel. Her appearance borders on stalking.
It's a Cat and Mouse game. One minute she is a purring like little sex kitten and the next she is berating him for leaving her…claiming that she loved him. There is tremendous sexual tension in this play and very adult language that may turn some blue-haired ladies hair white. They freely discuss body parts and what you can do with them on the stage. Shocking perhaps…but not in this day and age. The play takes place is modern times.
However, even with all that sex stuff going for it, and the absolutely terrific acting, the play is not very good. Its very contrived and predictable and repetitious Usually when there is not an intermission is means at least two things. One, the play is thin and doesn't have enough material to make two acts…or the playwright is not comfortable with an intermission for the fear that if given one, the audience will have a chance to escape. "Blackbird" is ninety minutes long. Isn't here some kind of a law that even on an airplane you have to get up and move your legs to avoid getting a blood clot? Then again, ninety minutes is not too bad when you consider that some playwrights expect you to sit through three hours without moving. What Gaul!
The action takes place in one static place. It appears to be a lunchroom where the no longer young girl brings back the past repeatedly. She also makes veiled threats about his job. At one point she even suggests that maybe she should meet his new girlfriend. "Does, she know about me?" she demands?" "Have you told her what you did to me, that you came in me when I was twelve?"
In the room there are a couple of garbage cans. They are overflowing with paper and left over food wrappers. At the end of the play, the older man loses it. He takes the Garbage cans and throws everything on the floor. The place is a mess – the 'Lolita' joins in with him and throws more stuff out of another garbage can. Exhausted they embrace, kiss and almost have sex on the dining tables. He backs off and says "No". I think that the playwright was trying to show that the mess on the floor was like their lives…a mess. And nothing will ever repair it. Then, as he left her when she was 12 years old – he again walks out on her, leaving the audience with some unanswered questions.
Though "Blackbird" is not a great play – it is a gripping exploration of mistakes and punishment and ultimately some kind of redemption.
THE MARVELOUS ACTING ON OPENING NIGHT WAS BY STEVEN CULP (The Older Man) WHO CONTINUED TO ASTONISH THE AUDIENCE TO THE END. HE WAS JOINED ON THE STAGE WITH JESSI CAMPBELL (The Lolita). CAMPBELL IS INTRIQUING THROUGHOUT THE PLAY.
There is a surprise ending that I won't reveal. But, here is a clue. It will bring out possibilities to think about that may not have occurred to you.
RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!
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