Editor’s Note: Our apologies for not properly noting in the original review that Cameron M. Turner performed, unfortunately due to an unexpected illness Turner was not able to perform. It was Patricia E. Hill on Preview Night and also on Opening Night who thrilled the audience with “Motherless Child” and “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”
By Sonja Washington, NDG Contributor
Teco’s production of Black Nativity by Langston Hughes shines the light on the classic work which tells the story of the hope available through the birth of the newborn King Jesus Christ. The message of Christ’s birth and its significance has been communicated in many different approaches throughout history. Whether you are a believer or not you cannot deny the impact that his birth has on our daily lives. One example, is how historians address time through using BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini-which means year of the Lord). Therefore, since this story is well known a person would question why would you see yet another production about this event.
Teco’s production of Black Nativity eloquently conveys the story in two facets. The circumstances of the humble conditions of Jesus’s arrival and the impact his existence has on current day worship. There are touches of humor throughout the play that enlightens the concept that we can laugh at ourselves throughout life’s journey. There is a message of perseverance, demonstrated through Joseph’s struggle to find an adequate place for Jesus arrival. Many individual performances will leave you full of emotion that will cause you to drop a tear invoked by their amazing ability to glorify Christ’s gift to us.
The director, Jiles King did not hold back in selecting the best of the best for the musical and vocal talent to support the score of this production. Each voice held its own in order to convey the meekness a selection required or one that needed to hit the rafters. Another impressive aspect was collectively all their voices blended perfectly, of which I know is extremely hard to achieve with so much individual talent.
Two performances stood out to me, Patricia E. Hill can hit the rafters and cut the soul. Deon Q. Sanders version of Changed is so powerful it causes you to reflect and want to praise how Christ has impacted your life.
Teco’s Black Nativity is extraordinary therefore it enthralls the audience into the production. Several members vocally and visually demonstrated their enjoyment of the performance. All age groups were engaged the entire time. This is definitely a family event that will not disappoint you.
Although this is a familiar story that most of us know well; this is not presented in a way that you have experienced before. My party that included ages of 8-66 agreed it is worth seeing a second time before the season is over. A profound statement for how busy this holiday season is for all of us to consider to go back to again.
Black Nativity is running now through Dec. 20 at the Bishop Arts Theatre Center. For available showing times and ticket sales please visit http://www.tecotheater.org/index.php.