Night and Day: Wednesday, May 09, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Five Women, One Floor

How many stage plays can you name that offer not one, not two, not three, but four complex roles for African-American women? Redressing this historical imbalance has been the mission of playwright Cheryl West, who burst onto the theater scene with her 1989 AIDS drama Before It Hits Home, and who recently found success on Broadway writing the book for the Shakespeare-and-Duke-Ellington-inspired musical, Play On!

Her second play, Jar the Floor, debuted in New York in 1991 with a starry cast that included Regina Taylor, Lynne Thigpen, and Irma P. Hall. The raucous comedy is about four generations of women in one family who gather for the 90th birthday of the great-grandmother, Viola, whom the others call “Madear.” Each succeeding daughter has tried to make her own way in the world: Madear’s daughter Lola maintains her sexual appetite and aggressiveness well into middle age, while Lola’s daughter Maydee is an unmarried college professor who has given her career top priority. Maydee’s daughter Vennie is a musician with a shaved head and a girlfriend who’s white. Men are prominent in the story by their absence onstage, but the problems that come with them are given ample discussion. The play has encountered criticism for trying to tackle too many social issues, though when it comes to playwriting, a dash of overambitiousness can be a good thing. It goes without saying that Jubilee Theatre is the ideal troupe to take on this material, and their talent should carry the day.

Jar the Floor runs May 10-Jun 9 at Jubilee Theatre, 506 Main St, FW. Tickets are $5-20. Call 817-338-4411.


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