Tag Archives: Chay Yew

Berkeley Rep’s Black n Blue Boys / Broken Men is thrilling

Black n Blue
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The world premiere of Dael Orlandersmith’s compelling play, Black n Blue Boys / Broken Men, is now at Berkeley Rep through June 24. Ms. Orlandersmith, sole writer and actor in this powerful production, portrays a handful of abused boys and the haunting effects the abuse has on the men they become.

Black n Blue Boys / Broken Men is carved into searing character studies of abused boys, each of whom suffers a different form of mistreatment. Some of the boys reappear on stage later in their lives as we see them struggle to escape their horrible childhoods. The play has a riveting message that never appears preachy, but it does explore gritty taboo subjects we’d ordinarily avoid. The boys suffer from child rape, alcoholic rages, prostitution, beatings and pedophilia.

In each vignette, Orlandersmith depicts the dialect, body language and affect of the characters, including Puerto Rican, Irish and African American boys. She appears on stage throughout the 90-minute (no intermission) performance. That’s hard work, but Orlandersmith made it seem effortless. Her acting ability is as exceptional as is her writing. In each scene, through her acting and writing talents, she convincingly presents a vivid story of each subject’s life. Yet, the following day, I found that my memory of the characters had run together a bit. … Continue reading »

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