I had heard of playwright Samm Art Williams, had heard mention of the play Home – but it was learning that Lyle Benjamin was involved that convinced me. Whatever Lyle is connected with is going to be three things: 1) challenging, 2) illuminating and important and 3) outstanding theater.
Home is the American black experience of the 50’s through the 70’s as lived by one farmer from rural North Carolina. The tragedy that was the Vietnam War, the tragedy that is drugs in America, the tragedy for many that is our near-total urbanization, our prison system, segregation’s tattered remnants, male-female roles in those tragedies. Lots of truths in Home, and enough smiles to keep you going, excellent staging, costuming, actor-made sound effects and singing,
I’m sure most of us were a little dubious at sitting through 105 minutes of a play without an intermission. But we never actually noticed, so engrossed were we in the story of Ceephus Miles.
Seeing Home – which is a wonderful experience – also enabled me to see and explore some of the School for Creative and Performing Arts. I had attended a civic meeting in the school, and, like all of Cincinnati, had been delighted to watch it being created bit by bit at its grand Central Parkway site. But I wanted to see the wonderful theaters I’d heard about, and now I’ve seen the Mayerson – state of the art, very comfy, high touch and high tech all at the same time. This play was, truly, great theater in a great space.