Monday, September 19, 2011

A Play That Would Like You to Take a Leap for Our Children

On a recent Sunday afternoon, I walked passed the famous The Apollo Theater and continued on down 125th Street to Fifth Avenue to The National Black Theatre to see Radha Blank's SEED about single social worker Anne Colleen Simpson and her friendship with Chee-Chee, a bright 12 year old boy from the projects.

The playwright in an interview notes that she is a child of hip hop. Therefore, SEED is infused with with a few hip hop rhymes which are great to listen to on their own. The rhymes ranged from humorous to profound. However, they do not quite weave through the story seamlessly for me. Recently black filmmaker Tyler Perry tried to weave text and poetry during his big screen adaptation of Ntozake Shange's choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf and that did not quite work for me as well.

However, what is great about SEED is its theme about taking a leap for our children. There always seems to be a child welfare story of some kind in the headlines. As I write this, there is a story about a mother who allegedly left her 8 month old in the tub while she ate cereal and then took a nap; this mother is now wanted for negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child. If you are a person interested in cases such as this, if you are a social worker, if you are a person who works with kids, then SEED is definitely worth seeing.  

If you are not a Harlemnite, do what I did and make a day trip out of it  – take in the powerful Harriet Tubman memorial sculpture, browse the Studio Museum store, scoop up some Shea butter and incense and grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant such as Sylvia’s, Red Rooster (from the cute Marcus Samuelsson - be sure to RSVP) or Chez Lucienne.

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