In the cozy surroundings of the Greenhouse Theater, director and creator Lauren Wells gives us an eye-opening look into the life and the mind of the African American woman in a very imaginative production. The Playbill describes the setting as “A metaphysical safe space where black women can support one another in growth and love with reckless abandon.” --an indication that something special is about to be experienced. Also in the Playbill, Ms. Wells states that the purpose of this work is to “...offer our narratives and black girl magic, as a way to give voice to the original Mother in all her glory; bringing both understanding and love of self, in turn making necessary space for those just like us.” And, magic is just what happens on the stage.
MPAACT brings truth to the Greenhouse Theatre
Mother of the Dark Water is a lesson in the reality of what it means to be a black woman. As the audience is being seated, a slide show runs onstage with images of black women, famous and not so famous, interspersed with images of the Black Madonna. As the play opens, Mari (Lynsey Anne Moxie) enters the scene with moving vocalizations, eventually joined by Ya Ya (Kiayla Ryann), Titi B (Amariss Harris), O (Jordan Rome) and Kiki (Johari Nandi), each harmonizing along. We learn that each of these women are goddesses, representing different incarnations of the black woman, from the fair-skinned (Ya Ya) who is often scorned by those with darker complexions to the more street-wise (Kiki), who describes Ya Ya as someone who can swim “in a sea of white people.” Together they share the experiences of black women in recent and ancient history.
Entertaining and enlightening
The performance moves from poetic exposition to the rhymes of old children’s games as it dramatizes the very unique challenges of life as a black woman. It rings of truth for those who can identify and is enlightening to those who cannot. They look upon an image of the Madonna as a Caucasian woman, and confront the reality that both history and the Bible makes it clear that the mother of mankind and the mother of Jesus were actually black.
Mother of the Dark Water requires and commands your attention, sometimes there is a lot happening on stage. Though it has many light and humorous moments, this is a serious look at what it means to be a black woman, not only in white America, but in black America also.
Mother of the Dark Water contains adult language and themes.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Through March 3, 2018
Thursday Matinee Performances Jan 25th, February 1st & 8th 10:30am
Thursdays February 15th & 22nd and March 1st 8pm
All Fridays and Saturdays 8pm
All Sundays 3pm
The Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
$22 - $40 single tickets, $20 group rates available
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the MPAACT website
Or call (773) 404-7336
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago
Steve Bellinger was born and raised on the West Side of Chicago by a single mom who worked nights for a printing company. She would bring home books and magazines to encourage her kids to read. This is how he discovered Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and the other masters of classic science fiction. It didn’t take long for him to get the itch to write. Over the years he’s written everything from newspaper articles, comic strips and radio drama to short stories and fan fiction. He is the author of the science fiction time travel novel The Chronocar. His second novel, Edge of Perception, is due to be released in 2018.
Click here to read more Picture this Post reviews by Steve Bellinger