note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey
Almost two hundred school children came to Roxbury Community College one morning for the spirited premiere of Roxbury Rep’s HEART OF HAPPY HOLLOW, through this weekend only. The stories of Paul Lawrence Dunbar (l872-1906), the first Black poet to be recognized nationally, will remind you of Mark Twain or Joel Chandler Harris or O. Henry---especially the latter in the delightful lesson about giving and believing, called “Defender of the Faith.” Dunbar’s tales touch the heart and tickle the imagination, and in the case of his “The Lynching of Jube Benson,” will stop your blood cold.
Roxbury Rep’s “chamber theater” setting is bare bones: No set. Almost no scenery and the actors are clad in black. The cavernous RCC stage is almost too large for such an intimate piece but artistic directors Marshall Hughes and Robbie McCauley pull it off. McCauley performs, as well, in the delightful, tongue in cheek condemnation of betting at the racetrack. The beauty of these adaptations lies in the simplicity of presentation---Roxbury Rep can take them anywhere, schools, libraries and community centersx