Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Excellent “Blue Door” at Moxie is a must see.

I recently attended what was to be the final performance of Tanya Barfield’s emotionally charged and captivating “Blue Door” at Moxie Theatre, but an announcement from Jen Thorn, one of the founding mother’s of the theatre that four more performances have been added to the calendar. (Through March 5th)

My recommendation, get your tickets now so you won’t have missed two premiere performances by two outstanding actors in what already seems to be a blockbuster season for Moxie.

First let me say that San Diego is at the hub of some pretty exciting theatre theses days. From an excellent solo performance by Shana Wride in “The 2.5Minute Ride” at Diversionary to a two man tour de force performance at Moxie, small theatres rock!

Cortez L. Johnson and Vimel Sephus
Lewis (Vimel Sephus) is a math professor struggling with his past as a Black Man. He is also an accomplished mathematician living in a white man’s world. Even his white wife is fed up with him because he refuses to march in the Million Man March on Washington. That’s just one of the issues that we hear about as a reason for the demise of his sixteen year marriage.

On the other hand, Simon (Cortez L. Johnson) IS his past and refuses to let him forget it. Simon represents four generations of his family, his ancestors and his present. All of these memories or nightmares happen in Lewis’ head as he fitfully tries to sleep in his now empty house.

The present time is 1995 but the story toggles back and forth from 1851 to1995. As mentioned, Simon/Rex/Jessie accelerate the memories.  He brings the truth of Lewis’ past home while Lewis agonizes over it. He makes excuses for his actions in ways that seem plausible, but the battles in his mind rage on giving way to his finally coming to grips with his humanity and the beginning of yet another journey into self without denying his past.   

Vimel Sephus and Cortez L. Johnson
The awesome threesome made up of director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, Vimel Sephus and Cortez L. Johnson drive this realistic and gut wrenching play. Johnson is a force to be reckoned with as he takes on the characters of great grandfather, grandfather, father and brother all in different contexts, different time frames but with a familiar thread that explains in detail their violent history leading up to the present.

He’s animated and saunters from one end of the stage to the other. He shows us an appealing charm when he talks of his first love and brutal when making a point of truth to his brother Lewis.

Sephus is more cerebral in his facial expressions, his body language and at once funny in trying to explain his experience with an all white gathering of his peers and their significant others. For the most part though he is guarded with his realizations of his past trying not to remember. I can’t say enough about their performances. Both rate five stars.

Cortez L. Johnson
Shelly Williams’ costumes are a direct contrast between past and present. Sherrice Mojgani’s lighting and Emily Jankowski’s sound with Victoria Petrovich’s scenic design of five see through panels give the set an eerie look and sound of what might be hiding behind each panel.

Oh, and the Blue Door? At one point in the story Lewis’ mother suggests, on her dying bed, that he paint the door to their house blue to keep the evil spirits out.

With only a few more performances left, I strongly recommend you head to Moxie and get a real taste of what drives theatre companies and staff to do what they do.  

See you at the theatre.

Dates: Extended through March 5th
Organization: Moxie Theatre
Phone: 858.598.7620
Production Type: Drama
Where: 6663 El Cajon Blvd. Suite N. San Diego CA. 92115
Ticket Prices: $30.00
Web: moxietheatre.com

Photo: Daren Scott


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