CAROLINA FILM NETWORK
By: Andrew Gajadhar (Executive Director)
Conceding to the reality that there has been a vast amount of talent surfacing over the course of 2016, one must sit back and enjoy opportunities to be in the presence of a live stage play with Carolina’s finest in Confessions of a Good Man. It was very affordable for a high-quality play. For just a few more dollars, you would be able to lounge in the VIP room with an all-inclusive dinner, desert during the intermission, a live performance of David Glymph on the saxophone easing the mood, and front row seating during the play. The staff was very friendly, the environment was pleasant, and the production was prompt. The new lead singer of The Root Doctors, Cyreeta Crowell, was also in attendance. Who could ask for better accommodations? The story was about a family living with many secrets of their past that eventually had to be exposed in order to grow and progress in their individual circumstances. There were many stages of conflict that made this a great dramatic production. The father seemed to be the ideal husband that was God-fearing and a role model for all his sons. His sons led diverse lives. The eldest inserted himself as the father figure of his cousin’s son and was best friends with the boy’s mother, all-the-while trying to fight against his true romantic feelings for her as she had the same for him. The cousin was a man that didn’t have the male role model of a father to guide him growing up to be a good man and father for his only child, so he kept to the streets the only way he knew how with mischief. Another one of the brothers was in an unhappy marriage based on one incident that was exposed in the past that was unbeknownst by the wife of already being exposed yet already had a dramatic effect on their marriage. The last brother was a successful lawyer that lives a life of controlling and dictating what his woman does in order to, in his mind, secure his investment in a relationship. His approach to his behavior is based on a past relationship that effected his insecurities, and he feels like he has to always be in control to feel adequate. The mother is a very religious woman that is deeply in love with her husband and supportive of him, despite any past that he may have, also with her own skeletons in her closet. The story unfolds and takes many turns as it goes along. The climax begins to unravel itself the more that the cousin continues to assert himself into the picture and challenge the very balance of everyone’s covert lives. With the unexpected guidance of other people in their lives that are at the heart of some of the conflict, they have to pull themselves together and accept life challenges as they are and move on as a family.
The setting was organized with security in place, ropes to guide traffic, and staff with clearly visible markings attached to lanyards. There were several tables set up with memorabilia along with other keepsakes as well. Entering the auditorium, you’re met with an usher that helped with seating on both sides as well as reserved seating. The auditorium was a Proscenium Arch Theater with a bordered valance in front of a fly space above the stage, and the pit was out of view.
The production made perfect use of the set design. There were two sides of the set, looking through the fourth wall perspective. The far-left side consisted of a 45-degree wall with a doorway that simulated a kitchen on the other side of it. The back wall had three elements, a stairway that went in an upward direction to the left, a wall with a door that ran perpendicular to the back wall that separated the living area of the house and the outdoor front porch and yard, and a wooden fence with an opening going 45-degrees as its opposing side to signify exiting the property. On the apron of the stage were set props of a dining room table, couch and lounge chairs on the inside of the house, while a small bench, wooden stump, and raised deck with a patio set signified the front yard. The only hand props that were in the production were mostly used to signify accessories of some of the actors. All these elements were brilliant ways of suggested realism.
The lighting only changed three different ways. While there were performances on stage, the lighting remained leveled across the viewing plane because the actors had maximum usage of all blocked areas of the stage. Interestingly, transitions between scenes consisted of music playing and lights dimming for the most part; however, they also created somewhat of French Scenes as well with the continuance of characters entering and exiting the stage while one or more characters stayed on stage for the following scene. This created great fluidity for the play. There was only one particular scene where the lighting was shifted to a more focal point of a conversation between certain characters. The timing was appropriate. There was one thing about the wardrobe, in combination with the lighting, that could have had circumspection to keep the attention on what was being portrayed by the actors. This was the jewelry. The jewelry and brilliance of some of the accents of the wardrobe reflected significantly into the audience. There were a few times that these light reflections noticeably caused audience members to flinch, squint, or temporarily look slightly away from the performances. However, it did not happen often enough to be problematic overall.
The wardrobe and makeup seemed natural for the setting as well as the characters. There were clearly differences in age of all the characters, but the wardrobe enhanced the effect of their respective ages without having to do anything extra with the makeup to accommodate the character. There were times that straight makeup still could have been touched up or applied to members of the cast that would have eliminated glaring from oily skin. The attitude and persona of each character was well played with their wardrobe as well. Particularly, the character of Warren Roberts, played by Darian Hill, gave an instant insight of how he was to be portrayed before he even spoke a word. He wore a tailored suit with an almost shiny grey color, as if to be polished in appearance. Instead of a tie, he wore an ascot that matched his handkerchief under his lapel. His jewelry was very shiny, he was well groomed, and he kept an erect posture everywhere he walked while making subtle movements to keep his suit from gaining any folds or obstruction. As soon as he spoke, the words that was said completely matched his appearance. This was just one example of how the wardrobe complimented the characters.
The plot of the story was captivating, and there was never a dull moment. The characters injected humor as well as pathos into their roles that the audience could clearly relate and empathize with. There were great moments of soliloquy that were also personified through song. They even completely broke the fourth wall at the snap of a finger to freezeframe the scene while one character addressed the audience directly and came off the stage to interact with them, once with a woman addressing the women and the other time with a man addressing the men. The level of excitement and involvement of the audience showed an amazing reaction that made this play one-of-a-kind. They would then return back to their placement and continue right where they left off at the snap of a finger again. Towards the end, the cousin broke the fourth wall the same way, but his purpose was to educate the audience of how the way his character was portrayed was, in fact, the way his real life was. His heartfelt speech showed how hard it was for him to relive his role on stage time after time but how appreciative he was to have the opportunity to do it for others. His method acting was very real and genuine.
In conclusion, I would not only recommend this stage play to couples everywhere, but I would also tell every boy and man to see this because it teaches us things about ourselves that we overlook in our lives that effect how good we truly have the potential to be. I commend the directors, Tangie Beaty and Donna Johnson of WOW Productions, for a phenomenal production appropriate for the whole family.