Sunday, April 1, 2018

Play a Day: Before Evening Comes

Philana Omorotionmwan
Last April I decided to read a play a day from those posted at New Play Exchange, a program of the National New Play Network. The result was joining a community of new writers across America, learning a great deal about where the work is being created, and how good so much of it is. It was an inspiring experience, and I look forward to experiencing (at least) thirty great new plays in this brief period of time.

Whether I can actually manage the time necessary to read a play a day, and comment upon it, in addition to all other responsibilities is another matter.

For Easter Sunday I read Before Evening Comes by Philana Imade Omorotionmwan, an impending graduate of Ohio University's MFA in Playwriting Program. (Bobcats, represent.)

A Dystopian parable, set in a near-future where all African-American men are legal bound to make a very specific sacrifice to maintain their own survival. In days past, those enslaved told of people who could fly (and escape their captors) and that story is wound up in this, a moving and lyric tale of the men who are complicit in the system and the women who sacrifice everything to save their children from it.

This year I have been reflecting on my own life, as I turn fifty in July. As the morning paper reminds me, in three days it will be the fiftieth anniversary of the murder of Dr. King. The world has moved forward in the past half-century, and yet today it feels as though it is spinning backward, or that it's never moved.

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