In spite of its downer of a premise, director Christopher Johnston insists that A Colored Funeral (which opens tonight at Karamu House) isnt all that morose of a play. Its 20 scenes are tied together by death -- people die of AIDS, are murdered, and succumb to various diseases -- but its a mix of comedy and drama, says Johnston. Its celebrating life and whats precious about it.
Gregory S. Carrs play looks at the different ways black people grieve. Scenes range from spare monologues to fast-moving set pieces. Theres not a lot of character development in some of them, says Johnston. Youre just getting the message. The challenge, he says, is juggling 20 different vignettes that vary in tone from weepy melodrama to foot-tapping musical. Youve got to bring out as much as you can in 10 minutes, he says. Johnston adds that despite its title, there are plenty of stories in A Colored Funeral thatll have white people nodding in recognition too. Death is universal, he says. We all celebrate it in similar ways.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: April 13. Continues through May 6
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.