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Hands of Color

a Drama
by Kimberly Monks

COMPANY : Synchronicity Performance Group [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Ansley Park Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 5517

SHOWING : June 07, 2019 - June 30, 2019



An unexpected encounter, deep-rooted prejudice and an ill-fated phone call lands Thomas in Robert’s family … and a new identity. This funny and powerful new play examines what it’s like when your world is turned upside down and you are forced to look at life through a different lens. "Hands of Color" boldly asks the question, is redemption possible?

Director Thomas W Jones II
Robert Enoch King
Jesse/Natasha/Jennifer/Miss Kate Emily Kleypas
Stephanie Therecia Lang
Thomas Justin Walker
Sarah/Rebecca Wendy Fox Williams
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Walk a Mile in His Shoes
by playgoer
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Kimberly Monks’ "Hands of Color" merges magical realism with the racial divide between whites and black to tell a story with a murky moral. We first see a fractured representation of a black man being gunned down by the police, witnessed by his ten-year-old daughter. We then see the white couple of Thomas (Justin Walker) and his girlfriend (Emily Kleypas) discussing the "n" word in the current time, while a candle-and-photo memorial to the month-ago murder still remains outside his house. When Robert (Enoch King) leaves his shoes at the memorial, things start getting weird. When Thomas picks them up, tosses them in the trash, and then sees them dropping from his ceiling, things get weirder. And when he puts them on and can’t take them off, he finds himself walking in another man’s shoes through the last period of that other man’s life. Think "Freaky Friday" meets "Ghost" meets racism redeemed.

Thomas W. Jones II has directed a pretty fluid representation of the script, but it’s not aesthetically pleasing. Derrick Vanmeter’s set consists of various white clapboard and white brick wall segments plus a similarly painted bar that revolves to reveal a sofa. The constant movement of the revolving portions of the set often leaves the stage looking cluttered. Mr. Vanmeter’s projections, mostly appearing on two fixed clapboard sections at the edges of the stage, do a nice job of setting scene, but rarely last for long as the script skips from location to location. Maranda DeBusk’s lighting has a dim area down right (at least at the performance I attended) and that detracts from the visual appeal of the production too. Mr. Vanmeter’s costumes and Samantha Eubanks’ props are fine.

Sound design and music composition are by Chris Lane. This sets up some scenes of the play, but isn’t distracting. The vocal projection of the actors is excellent, so the dialogue can easily be heard.

Acting is fine across the board. Justin Walker is forceful and commanding as Thomas, while Enoch King is more subdued as his counterpart Robert. Wendy Fox Williams plays two roles nicely, one a fairly stereotypical wife and the other a stereotypically sassy, back-talking black secretary. College student Therecia Lang gives a winning performance as magic-endowed ten-year-old Stephanie. Emily Kleypas plays four characters acceptably, with costuming and wigs helping to differentiate her roles.

"Hands of Color" involves hot-button issues of race in a way that is likely to give the career of newbie playwright Kimberly Monks a big boost. The feel-good ending may not heal the racial divide in our society, but it hints at the possibility of healing on an individual basis. Thomas W. Jones II and the cast imbue the proceedings with heartfelt sincerity, so the script is certainly being given its due at Synchronicity. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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