ObamanologuesBy Courtney Ferguson • Sep 30th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint, Washington DC
Through October 11th
Reviewed September 27th, 2009
Obamanologues written by Rickie Peete in early 2009 was inspired by his attendance at the 2009 presidential inauguration. He initially wrote a monologue about that specific event and eventually thought, “why not create additional monologues about Barack Obama’s journey to the White House?” and so he did.
Obamanologues conveys the stories of eleven people and their diverse views and opinions of Obama’s journey to the white house. We follow them from November 17, 2006 all the way to April 29, 2009. From black, white, young, old, democrat, republican, to skeptic and slightly racist, you are sure to find at least one character you either agree or disagree with. For Obama lovers you do get a “rah rah” feeling that will transport you back to where you were Nov. 17th 2006, or Nov. 4th 2008, or Jan. 20 2009. Yes it will definitely make you think about where you were and ignite a sense of passion of how you really feel about Obama.
The show was performed in a small black box theatre with a backdrop that had a mural depicting a gathering of people as well as the American Flag. There was also a single chair and podium on stage both containing the Obama logo. Seeing this show was more of a personal experience, not so much a vicarious one that most of us get when we go to the theatre. I can comment on the technicalities be it acting, lighting, etc., but it was more about the overall message of the play that will grab your attention.
Whether they agreed with their characters views or not, I found the actors to be engrossing. At times a little too much so. Actress Ariana Hodes who performed a monologue titled “Who is Barack Obama?” portrayed Republican harping on Obamas past. In her opinion we shouldn’t vote for someone who is “covering up his radical past. What is he hiding?” she asks. People fear what they don’t know. Her subtle passion in this performance set a flame in those who disagreed with her, and it was definitely felt throughout the audience.
It was emotional at times as Cynthia Dorsey a titled “Victory Monologue,” was so infectious and passionate. She praised and blessed the lord for Obamas victory on Nov. 4th2008. She harbored such a sense of legitimacy and rawness in her performance. It was a beautiful moment when she sang, “Proud to be an American,” claiming that those word felt different on that day.
Ariana and Cynthia delivered only two of what were eleven passionate performances delivered by eleven talented actors. They harbored such a respect for knowing that they were representing real people.
I think you can predict what kind of experience you will have seeing this show. You will go through experiencing an array of emotions caused by the stories you will hear, and you are reminded that these are real people. Initially a concern was; is a play such as this being done too soon? It is a play written about something that has barely happened, but it just goes to show you the impact Obama has had on people from the very beginning. I do recommend this play to everyone. It will allow you to re-experience those emotions you felt on those historical days.
Notes from Writer/Director/Producer
Writer – the goal for Obamanologues is to create a relevant work of art that entertains and educates. I hope for a unique, daring, sophisticated, emotional and thought-provoking play that engenders a myriad of opinions.
Director – It was important to work with a cast that could represent diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Also the opportunity to work with multiple actors for each role was a treat because each actor brought a unique and rich interpretation of their monologue.
Producer –This production was blessed with adequate resources and exceptional good will from its inception.
Obamanologues (pronounced Obama-nalogs) is a theatrical play developed in early 2009. The play’s title is the intersection of the two words: Obama and monologues. The writer (who is also an actor) developed the play’s concept after completing an initial monologue (entitled, “First Day”). The inspiration for First Day came after he attended the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.
Eventually, he thought to himself, “why not create additional monologues about Barack Obama’s journey to the White House?” So he did, writing the monologues from different perspective allowed him an opportunity to fully explore this one-of-a-kind historical event.
Each of the eleven monologues represents a different character (i.e., actor) and depicts an individual perspective related to a particular day/night during the period of November 17, 2006-April 29, 2009. The characters are as diverse as the public affected by Barack Obama’s political campaign.
With stories ranging from rebellious to spiritual to scholarly to controversial, Obamanalogues depicts emotions and behaviors displayed be people in living rooms, classrooms, bus stops, and water coolers all across this nation.
- Hope: Twila Ilgenfritz
- Change: Alex Adrian
- Primary: Karen Hayes
- Who Is Barack Obama?: Ariana Hodes
- General Election: Anissa Parekh
- No Change: Dereks Thomas
- Victory: Cynthia Dorsey
- Inauguration: Christopher Daileader
- First Day: Rashard Harrison
- Fails: Paul Spencer Tamney
- Succeed: Lisa Margarita Nadal
- Lighting and Sound Associate: Theresa Wood
- Scenic Designer: Elizabeth Majette
- Lighting Designer/ Sound Designer: Emma Sumner
- Producer/Media Relations: Staci Gorden
- Stage Manager: Stephanie Collins
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/4216.
Courtney Ferguson is currently a student in the theatre arts program at Howard University pursuing a B.F.A in acting. Her plans are to go on to grad school to study Voice and Speech. Her credits include work on and off the stage, and she can be seen in the upcoming production of The Laramie Project with the Providence Players.