Author Archive for Abdul Ali

Robert O’Hara Tweaks The Mountaintop for Arena Stage Co-Production

The Mountaintop, Katori Hall’s award-winning play about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the night before he was killed at Memphis' Lorraine Motel, is enjoying a post-Broadway life at Arena Stage. But those who saw the work on Broadway should go into the new production with no preconceptions, because this version promises to be radically different.
In [...]

Strange as Fiction: A Chat With Trouble in Mind Director Irene Lewis

At once sobering and edifying, Alice Childress’ 1957 Trouble in Mind, currently running at Arena Stage, is a biting backstage satire of the theater world of the 1950s.
The play forces us consider the internal struggles that artists of color face during theater rehearsals. Here, a white director leads a well-meaning but stereotype-ridden drama about lynching, forcing the [...]

There Goes the Neighborhood: Why Clybourne Park Doesn’t Do Right by Its Inspiration

“There’s no way to escape the fact that I’m a racist,” Bruce Norris told New York magazine this February, two months before his play Clybourne Park won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. During his childhood, his family fled Houston in part because of school busing; until he was about 14, Norris said, his main exposure [...]

Outside the Black Box: A Chat With Robert O’Hara

Robert O'Hara's Bootycandy is rich in '80s-specific references—Jheri curls, the moonwalk, Superman underpants—but it's mostly about examining associations and stereotypes, not conjuring them. The play takes on sex, sexuality, and the challenges of growing up black and gay, and audiences have responded with their wallets. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has extended its run of the [...]

The Jury of Live Theater: A Chat With A Time to Kill‘s Sebastian Arcelus

A Time to Kill is now enjoying its third life. The play is set in Mississippi in the 1980s, when two drunken white men gang rape a 10-year-old  black girl. Fearing that the men will receive a mere slap on the wrist, the girl's father Carl Lee takes the law in his own hands, shooting them as they [...]

“These Stories Are Important to Share”: Silent Shame at the African Diaspora Film Festival

Filmmaker Dalia Tapia's debut feature, Silent Shame, premieres at the National Geographic African Diaspora Film Festival Saturday at 12:30pm: It's a well-paced drama with tough subject matter—a man confronts the HIV-related death of his mother, who contracted the disease from his estranged father—that hits all the right notes. It's suspensful, and its characters are authentically [...]