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Frederick Kennedy

Native Son

August 9, 2019

Kelley’s adaptation begins with the murder of Mary which avoids preparing us for the limited life of opportunity that Bigger leads in the Black Belt of Chicago. Told in a fragmentary form often with flashbacks within flashbacks, it is only possible to put the chronology together if one knows the novel. Kelley has also eliminated the powerful speech to the jury by Bigger’s lawyer which is one of the most famous of all statements on social racism and the constricted environmental influences on people living in the ghetto. [more]

[Veil Widow Conspiracy]

June 21, 2019

The set designer (Yu-Hsuan Chen) and lighting designer (Reza Behjat) have obviously worked collaboratively to create some effective—and often beautiful—stage pictures. Loops of light are a striking visual leitmotif throughout the show. Costume designer Mariko Ohigashi was given a particularly challenging assignment: imagining garments for three distinctly different worlds. She has delivered the period costumes of the original story (with help from Makoto Osada), the T-shirts with production titles that are worn on the film set, and the simple windbreakers that appear in the futuristic scenes—and she’s done it all with both nuance and flair. [more]