Monday, November 13, 2023



Full disclosure.  the director of "Freight", Joseph Megel, is an old friend.  Chatting with him tonight I learned that this play was developed with the current star almost ten years ago..  I highly recommend the show, but please try to arrange to sit in the center of the audience.  This is to have full access to the excelletnt video projections.  

Playwright Howard L. Craft sits us down,  and thanks to some well produced technical theatrics, we journey through the history of one Black Fella:  an actor:  Mr. Abel Green portrayed by the very able Mr.  J. Alphonse Nicholson.  

Nicholson, almost all  on his own, captures us and holds us hostage with presentational  tales from the early Twentieth Century through five specific episodes to the early Twentyfirst Century.  Craft has imagined  a story that turns. a bit.. on the Buddhist notion of reincarnation. 

An unexpected  and beautiful garnish boosts the story elegantly. Ms Sidney Edwards with fluid gestures becomes a sort of dancer koken to keep the flow of the story moving. She is present and at the same time never obtrusive. She is gorgeous!

Abel, of course,  guides us on his one hundred year journey including  incarnations that turn on stereotypes and some adventures which may sound familiar.   In this West Coast Premiere, the ease with which Nicholson melds his 'Abel' into the other characters prominent in each segment  is fluid and confident.  I wonder if he'll print this review out and carry it in his wallet?

Director Joseph Megel's deft  touch allows Nicholson the latitude to "kick out the jams" so to speak to bring to life the soul of a Brother whose adventures include brushes with the history and culture of a Black American's American  scenario.   

The technical crew turns in a fine "performance." Scenic designer Joel Daavid, lighting designer Alison Brummer, sound designer Marc Antonio Pritchett and video designer Eamonn Farrell.  The professional touch in The Fountain's tiny space is, as usual: simply excellent. 

 Having had this story under his belt for almost ten years, Megel noted that with time and experience, the presentation has matured. Nicholson is a big guy with  sustained power that never falters.  The delicate moments are fine counterpoint to the physical episodes, especially the surprise turn with the buckets.. 

In all we travel.. literally.. on a train that becomes a subway car and other locations as we advance from 1910 to the early 21st Century.  We feel the fun of being a black minstrel player in black face..and the shame of how in another incarnation, Abel takes the high living road to the low low road and into his future.

I loved catching up with Joseph Megel and am happy to report that the Fountain Theatre has made a good choice to bring this show to Hollywood.  The opening night audience was on its feet and not without good cause.

Additional crew!

Costume designer Danyele Thomas and props designer Rebecca Carr. The production stage manager is Kaitlyn R. Cramer. 


Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green

• Written by Howard L. Craft
• Directed by Joseph Megel
• Starring J. Alphonse Nicholson
With Sidney Edwards
• Produced by The Fountain Theatre

Previews: Nov. 9, Nov. 10, Nov. 11
Performances: Nov. 12 – Dec. 16
• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Nov. 9 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 10 (preview); Nov. 17; Dec. 1; Dec. 8; Dec. 15 (dark Nov. 24)
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 11 (preview); Nov. 18; Nov. 25; Dec. 2; Dec. 9; Dec. 16
• Sundays at 2 p.m.: Nov. 19; Nov. 26; Dec. 3; Dec. 10
• Sunday at 7 p.m.: Nov. 12 ONLY (opening night)
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 20; Nov. 27; Dec. 4; Dec. 11 (dark Nov. 13)

The Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90029
(Fountain at Normandie)

$25 $45:
• Premium Seating: $45
• Regular Seating: $40
• Seniors 65 or older: $35 (regular seating only)
• Students: $25 (valid ID required)
• Monday nights: Regular seating ($40) and Pay–What–You–Want (subject to availability)
• Previews: Pay–What–You–Want

• Valet parking available
• Street parking available in the neighborhood north of Fountain Ave.
• No parking after 6 p.m. on Mariposa or Alexandria Avenues south of Fountain Ave.
• Allow extra time to find street parking; make sure to read all parking signs

(323) 663-1525





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