Posted by: workerbee 07:14 am EST 02/12/24
In reply to: SUNSET BABY - tonight - singleticket 10:47 pm EST 02/11/24

inspired, I think, by the life of Afeni Shakur, of the Black Liberation Army who died with a sever drug addiction- the play has a great subject: The children of seventies radicals who accomplished little and caused themselves and others great harm. A few - both Black and white- served long prison sentences or spent decades underground-have a story to tell. Unfortunately there are some major flaws in this play.

First of all the life of the daughter is so extremely abject, she is both a drug dealer and a violent person- guns are key to her life, living in extreme poverty (the play says "East New York projects" but the set looks like a crumbling tenement with a bathroom in the hallway.) More believable is her vulnerability to a selfish and dangerous man, given the bad choices her parents made.

But the biggest problem with the play is the way formerly incarcerated revolutionary father expresses his politics. His vision is so muddily expressed and so cliched that it is boring. And the playwright loses the opportunity to reveal the vision that originally existed in his ideals, and how it was shaped by being in prison and in the contemporary world. She gestures towards that, but can't really understand it. If we could have been inspired by what he has come to understand, even if he is a flawed and frightened individual now, the play would have been amazing.

The theater has always had trouble conveying real political ideas, perhaps because the structure of what is allowed to be seen depoliticizes everything. Sunrise Baby is a story that demands social insight but is actually without politics and that is why it fails.

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