Inda Craig-Galván's "A Hit Dog Will Holler" makes its world premier at the ever socially conscious Skylight Theatre on Vermont in conjunction with Playwrights Arena. Cheri VandenHeuvel as Gina and Kacie Rogers as Dru move the two hander along, spinning off "Wordsmith" Gina's provocative socially relevant podcast that she produces in her Chicago home. When she changes from house slippers to shoes with heels, we know this is serious business. Gina has not actually set foot out of her home for weeks.. or maybe even months?
|Kacie Rogers and Cheri VandenHeuvel|| |
It's early in the year 2020. The pandemic has been poopooed by the 45th president. Gina imagines what a great year this is going to be... for her.
An unfamiliar knock comes at Gina's door from a new food delivery person. After some negotiating through the door, Dru, appears. Herein begins the haunting of the pandemic served up by social consciousness, the story comes to life.
Gina is a hetero and hip black woman. Dru is hip and gay. The story moves along to show how the lives of two black women who are 'fly'; each having 'issues' that manifest to each of them comes to light.
When Gina opens her door, a terrifying blast: an enormous screeching! invades her home. At first this does not happen for Dru. The symbolism is broad and effective.
The women form an odd partnership that builds to their mutual decision to conquer what ever it is that has howled it's way into both of their lives.
Is this the business of Black Lives Matter? The business of, at last, justice beginning to be served on behalf of African Americans? We tumble through fear and conflict waiting to confront ..what? Something loud and threatening. "Out there."
Jan Munroe's evocative set turning on Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" gives the audience the feeling of peeking in... intruding on the lives of Gina and Dru as they play out the angst of morality versus commerce and truth, justice and the American Way.
Time is shown to pass with the projection of newspaper headlines calling to mind actual events, including the murder of Breona Taylor in Georgia and other current tragedies.
As the Gina and Dru get to know one another, Dru becomes (for lack of a better word?) Gina's therapist. Gina's self diagnosed case of "extreme social agoraphobia" has kept her holed up for months, all the while using a green screen to foster the pretense of her being actually on the streets with marchers and demonstrators as burgeoning demonstrations surge.
turns out to be not only the Door Dash delivery woman, but also
"Dru-C-Dru" the instagram influencer / social media rebel who strikes with graphitee and other acts of
social commentary on the streets. Gina has a pending book deal that Dru can help her with, but Dru's personal ethic gets in the way when Gina wants to monetize Dru's agenda.
"Hit Dog.." is a strong political statement with contrasted and very interesting performances. Director Jon Lawrence Rivera steers the production well on Munroe's extraordinary set. Tech credits are great, too.
Gary Grossman and the Skylight have outdone themselves with caution for the audience and the players. Careful adherence to protocols does not impinge on the enjoyment of the show.
There's much to be said for a strong polemic that boosts the social conscience. The message may be a bit over the top but the medium serves the message.
A HIT DOG WILL HOLLER
By Inda Craig-Galván
1816 1⁄2 North Vermont
Opens at 8:30pm on Saturday, November 6th 8:30pm Fridays and Saturdays
7:30pm Mondays through December 12, 2021.No late seating.
All attendees must present proof of FULL
VACCINATION against COVID-19 along with a government-issued photo ID in order
Face masks are required to be worn indoors at all times.
Tickets $15 - $42.
Reservations and information www.skylighttheatre.org
TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE – NO SALES AT THE DOOR
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