Triangle Arts and Entertainment – News and Reviews Theatre Dance Music Arts

In Mr. Joy at PRC, An Attack on a Chinese Immigrant Rallies His Harlem Customers

Tangela Large stars in PlayMakers' production of <em>Mr. Joy</em> (photo by Huth Photo)

Tangela Large stars in PlayMakers‘ production of Mr. Joy (photo by Huth Photo)

For the final production of its consciousness-raising 2016-17 PRC2 second-stage season, PlayMakers Repertory Company will present Mr. Joy, a one-woman show written by African-American actor/singer and playwright Daniel Beaty and directed by PlayMakers‘ first-year producing artistic director Vivienne Benesch, on April 26-30 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Dramatic Art. The show stars Tangela Large, who made a memorable PlayMakers Rep debut last September as Bunny in Detroit ’67, under the direction of Lisa Rothe.

The audience talkback following each performance will include comments by the cast and the show’s creative team, which also includes scenic designer McKay Coble, lighting designer Kathy A. Perkins, and production stage manager Jennifer Rae Moore.

In announcing the show, UNC’s professional-theater-in-residence said:

Mr. Joy tells the story of a Harlem community after Mr. Joy, a Chinese immigrant of a neighborhood shoe repair shop, is the victim of an attack. The play is a tapestry of monologues by nine of Mr. Joy’s customers and neighbors, as they reflect on the impact he has had on each of their lives, and on their community. The nine characters, all played by [Tangela] Large, include 11-year old Clarissa, the story’s narrative guide, her ‘gangsta granny’ Bessie, a 16-year old aspiring poet, and others dealing with the very topical issues of race, gentrification, and social integration.

“‘I am thrilled to close out our 2016-17 season with this heartbreakingly beautiful work, which very much embodies the theme of transformation we have been exploring at PlayMakers all season,’ says Vivienne Benesch. ‘In choosing this play, I was inspired by something playwright Daniel Beaty said about it: that individual transformation, and individual contribution, is a core path to social transformation.'”

She adds, “With this play, our goal is to access the feelings and motivation behind each character, not just intellectualize them. The extraordinary Tangela Large, who breathes life into all of the play’s characters, will take the audience on a journey that explores what — and who — binds a community together, and how faith in the possibility of change can heal.”

NOTE: For more information about this show, click here. Click here and here for video previews. To purchase tickets, telephone 919-962-7529 or click here.


Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

Tagged as: , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: Features, Theatre Feature