'Saviour?' will have you cheering
LINDA ARMSTRONG Special to the AmNews | 10/21/2011, 10:50 a.m.
Never have I experienced a play with such a powerful message as "Saviour?" at the Dwyer Cultural Center. This play, a superb drama by journalist and WBAI radio personality Esther Armah, tells the story of a white man, Billy Hall (Jimmy Aquino) and his Black attorney, Michael Jamal Williams III (Michael Green). Billy works for a nonprofit organization that fights against racism, but when the position of CEO is given to a Black woman he declares it reverse discrimination.
Billy is a white liberal who feels that he deserves the position because he participated in marches and has dedicated many years of his life to making things better for Blacks. He is the poster boy for white privilege. Billy proclaims that the woman who got the job did so by sleeping with the organization's former CEO. As his lawyer, Michael has to figure out how to win the case. He gets Billy to level with him about everything currently happening in his life aside from the discrimination case.
Michael proves to be an in-your-face type of lawyer, constantly recording "notes to self" on a handheld tape recorder. He makes a note to self and then a "note to Black self," and the second note is candid, profanity-filled and hilarious.
Michael is a bold character who is also desperate, as his career has been moderate at best and this case could take him to a different level. He has to decide which course of action he will take: Represent this white man and discredit a Black woman or choose another course. What he decides and the reason for his decision will have you inspired and leave you in shock. This play lifts your spirit in so many ways and will cause you to cheer, "Yes, hooray!"
Plays like this start conversations and are sometimes followed by Q&As with the cast, playwright and director.
The actors do a moving job of delivering their roles with a dedication and passion that will engulf you in the storyline. The play moves quickly and is only 75 minutes long, but at the end of that time you have received a great deal of food for thought.
"Saviour?" will play through Oct. 30. Make plans to go to the Dwyer and be inspired by this thought-provoking production by Armah. It is presented by Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group and Take Wing and Soar Productions. For more information, visit www.takewingandsoar.org.