Thursday, October 22, 2009


Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Nathan Louis Jackson's Broke-ology (directed by Thomas Kail) tells the story of an inner city African-American family--father, mother, and two sons--and how they navigate life, death, fatherhood, ambition, and being broke, with integrity and love. Broke-ology has its heart in the right place and it features compelling characters and some extremely moving moments, so I feel a bit crabby to, well, wish it were better. For example, the presentation of information is often clunky; the characters tell each other things they already know or they talk to themselves or objects for extended periods of time. The all-important relationship between the two brothers--the one who stayed home and the one who went away--never quite gels. People's moods seem to change randomly, and certain moments are just awkward (for example, when the father looks at T shirts the mother made, he looks at their backs so that the audience can see their fronts). Most annoying, there seems to be no reason for these problems other than, perhaps, lack of time for another rewrite. However, the play's emotional content and good-heartedness almost make up for its faults, and I'm glad I saw it.

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