By David Wilfong, NDG Contributing Writer
Down for #TheCount is an annual series hosted by the Bishop Arts Theatre Center focusing on female playwrights. It features six one-act performances by six different writers and presented by a recurring slate of actors.
The pieces in this year’s selection focus on changes in people’s lives, from the selling of slaves after a plantation owner’s death (“Under the Liberty Trees” by Emily Mann) to a woman leaving her husband to live with a son who turned out to be gay (“Uncommon Revelations” by Gabrielle Denise Pina).
The tempo is fast, and the performers move easily between multiple roles in this production; which delivers both provocative thoughts and hilarious moments. The cast does a wonderful job of bringing diverse stories to life, using a minimalist set and invoking the scenes through pure artistic expression.
Kassy Mannoua Amoi stands out in this production, handling two very difficult characters; a slave father preparing his son to be sold and an overbearing husband watching his wife walking away. On the more mirthful side, Rhonda L. Green leaves the audience in stitches with her portrayal of the mother in “The Talk.”
Ultimately, Down for #TheCount is an important annual event, giving the audience the opportunity to not only discover the Bishop Arts Theatre Center but also to highlight talent which is often overlooked.
Following the performance, Pina and fellow playwright Blue McElroy joined director Camika Spencer for a live Q&A with the audience. They emphasized that events like Down for #TheCount are important as only 28 percent of American professional productions are pieces penned by women.
One note to remember; this presentation deals with sensitive subjects and contains both strong language and adult content. It is not a performance for younger audiences.
The show continues through April 7. Tickets and info here.