‘Ain’t No Mo’ is a tour de force at The Public

Linda Armstrong | 4/11/2019, 4:28 p.m.
“Ain’t No Mo’” is a tour de force. Playwright and star Jordan E. Cooper, a fresh new voice on the ...
'Ain't No Mo' Joan Marcus

“Ain’t No Mo’” is a tour de force. Playwright and star Jordan E. Cooper, a fresh new voice on the New York Theater scene, has created a theatrical masterpiece. At the age of 23, he is making his off-Broadway debut—and what a stunning debut it is! He takes Black people to church, he makes you laugh and when I say laugh I mean holler!

In a variety of different scenes, Cooper depicts in very creative ways—using some very extreme ideas—the urgency of the desperate situations that Blacks face in this country, a country they were brought to as cargo. Some scenarios are funny, some serious. He lays everything out there, painting a total picture, which includes talking about Black-on-Black hatred.

This is a one-of-a-kind experience. Cooper’s creativity bursts off the charts in this emotional juggernaut. He has a gift for giving the audience scenes that, while brief, pack a punch; everything is connected and very powerfully takes the viewer back to the central storyline.

I want everyone to experience this play. It is a wake-up call. It is an audience-participation gem and will bring you into the action. Cooper breaks the fourth wall, and you’re so glad he does.

The emotional rollercoaster that Cooper rides is truly heart-wrenching and I have no idea how he can do it performance after performance. This profoundly thought-provoking, feel-in-your-soul production is playing at the Public Theater, where Cooper is joined by an incredible cast that includes Fedna Jacquet, Marchant Davis, Simone Recasner, Ebony Marshall-Oliver, Crystal Lucas-Perry and Hermon Whaley Jr. Stevie Walker-Webb’s direction is brilliant and powerfully weaves together this devastatingly, mesmerizing, punch-in-the-gut message that white people have taken so much from Black people that there ain’t no mo’ for them to take!

Every aspect of this production gels beautifully, from the over-the-top, fabulous hair, wig and makeup design by Cookie Jordan, to the stunning costumes by Montana Levi Blanco and scenic design by Kimie Nishikawa, lighting design by Adam Honore and sound design by Emily Auciello.

“Ain’t No Mo’” is running through April 28 at The Public Theater, located at 425 Lafayette St., for tickets call 212-967-7555 or visit www.publictheater.org.