Best Of 2006

Best Stage
Production: Dream on Monkey Mountain, Karamu Performing Arts

In theater, there's no reward without risk. Of course, that doesn't stop people from offering up banal and safe productions of dull scripts. So it's exciting when a theater decides to pursue a unique direction. Such was the case with Terrence Spivey's direction and co-choreography (with G. Carlos Henderson) of Dream on Monkey Mountain. This play, written by Derek Walcott, wasn't a perfect production -- there were slow patches in its three-and-a-half-hour progression -- but its rich, rasta-jambalaya of Caribbean patois, pulsing dance, and infectious percussive music more than made up for it. As the hero of the piece struggles on his journey to find his black identity, Spivey's lush visual imagination and smooth integration of disparate performance elements created an enthralling experience.