Theater Reviews: “Sunshine for a Midnight Weary”

    by Neal Weaver
    (LA Weekly - June 9, 2005) Sunshine dominates the title, but it’s the darkness that prevails till almost the
    end of November Dawn’s choreoplay, which eloquently celebrates the strength of black women and
    anatomizes their miseries and travails. Written in verse and rhythmic prose, it takes a sharp look at
    poverty, dead-end jobs, drugs, male violence, and homophobia, judgmental church ladies, black men
    obsessed with white women, and AIDS. The Chopin Funeral March provides a grim prelude, followed by the
    nine women chanting in the darkness, "Give me some light so I can see!"

    Light and darkness provide the central metaphors, in subtle as well as obvious ways: Though light
    illuminates, it also reveals unwelcome truths. One sometimes sympathizes with the character who says,
    "I get tired of all the sob stories," but at its best, the play generates real power — particularly in the tale
    of a mother (director-choreographer Angela Matemotja) who discovers her man has seduced her retarded
    daughter while she was out working to support them. Matemotja leads her cast (including Tasia Sherel,
    Tammi Rashonda, Brandy Maddox, Renee McSwain, Erica Pitts, Shannon Shepherd, Baadja and the
    one Caucasian, Brianna Brown) in a deeply committed, highly charged performance.


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