On Friday December 4, Le Petit Theatre began their two-week run of Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison’s play The Bluest Eye. Set in a small town in Ohio in the 1940’s, the play follows the lives and troubles of a dysfunctional group of lovable outcasts. Clayton Shelvin, the director of the play, says, “These characters are familiar to us all despite race, gender or socioeconomic status. Through this play, we are given permission to peek in as all of their dirty laundry is aired out before us.”
Skillfully acted by a cast of almost entirely New Orleans locals, the play is brought to life through the talent of such stars as Constance Thompson as loner Pecola, and La Sharron Purvis and Destani Smith as sharp-witted sisters Claudia and Frieda. Wayne DeHart also steals the show with his portrayal of the eccentric Soaphead Church, though every member of the cast puts on a standing-ovation-worthy show.
The play is an emotional roller coaster of the most entertaining sort, full of tragedy, hope, and humor. It explores such issues as racism, abuse, desolation, and coming of age. Says the director, “Through poetic language and an intense pace, this play has a rhythm that becomes a song of despair, pain, suffering, hope, and community.”
After the show Friday night, the cast and crew mingled with guests upstairs at Tableau at an opening night reception. Among champagne, cake, hors d’oeuvres, photos and flowers, everyone toasted to a successful performance… with surely many more to come.