REVIEW: “Some Old Black Man” at Berkshire Playwrights Lab [Berkshire on Stage]

August 21st, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara
Leon Addison Brown (Calvin) and Roger Robinson (Donald) in James Anthony Tyler’s “Some Old Black Man,” directed by Joe Cacaci, presented by Berkshire Playwrights Lab at St. James Place.

Leon Addison Brown (Calvin) and Roger Robinson (Donald) in James Anthony Tyler’s “Some Old Black Man,” directed by Joe Cacaci, presented by Berkshire Playwrights Lab at St. James Place.

Review by Macey Levin

Berkshire Playwrights Lab, based in Great Barrington, was founded ten years ago by theater professionals Joe Cacaci, Jim Frangione and Matthew Penn with the intent to nurture playwrights and their new works by presenting staged readings several times each summer. Originally based at the Mahaiwe Theatre, they are now in residence at the new performing arts center Saint James Place. They have presented over 40 readings including James Anthony Tyler’s Some Old Black Man, which is now receiving BPL’s first fully staged production. It is an auspicious beginning after a rocky rehearsal period.

Just before rehearsals began, Tony Award winner (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone) Roger Robinson had to drop out because of his role in the TV series “How to Commit a Murder” was to start filming. He was replaced by Adolphus Ward who suffered severe heart issues three weeks ago and is still convalescing. Fortunately, Robinson’s schedule was changed and he was available to resume the role of Donald. It was announced at the opening performance that as a safety factor he may occasionally refer to a script. Though he did, it was not a disturbing element in this taut and insightful production.

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