If you are going to see one local theater performance this year, it should be Loving at the new Pure Life Theatre in Raleigh, NC. Peter Manos’ play tells the story of an interracial couple’s fight to live together as husband and wife in 1960s Virginia.
Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested and jailed for violating Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws, which effectively made interracial marriage illegal. Deftly directed by Deb Royals Mizerk, this production has something for everyone.
The educational value of this play is reason enough to see it. I was about 10 years old when the action takes place, and it is still shocking to me that this sort of discrimination could have happened during my lifetime and in my country. I’m also frankly shocked that it persists to this day. Your children will also be amazed by this. It will also allow them to put today’s racism into perspective.
Aside from the educational and social value, the play is extremely well acted and presented. Sean A. Brosnahan (Richard Loving) and Aya Wallace (Mildred Loving) showed the perfect balance of love, adoration, frustration, and pathos. Equally wonderful were JaJuan Cofield (Brother), Rodney Martin (Narrator), and Chanda Branch (Narrator). The latter three are fine performers who acted as a sort of Greek chorus, who alternately added narration, dialogue, and song to further the story.
Ronzel Bell’s music direction was outstanding as the aforementioned trio harmonized beautifully to a mostly prerecorded score. Again, while this was not what you might typically call a musical, the traditional rural songs enhanced the mood and feel of the story. Tracy Davis (Cohen) comes late into the show as the ACLU lawyer who helps get the case to the United States Supreme Court.
This is the first performance at the new Pure Life Theatre (in the former Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio space); and if Loving is any indication, this group will be a welcome addition to the local theater scene.
This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your kids to live theater. The combination of an innovative production, an intimate venue, an effective set, and an important and moving story make this a must-see production. The show runs through Saturday, Feb. 29th; and there are plenty of seats available. The tickets are a little more than the price of a movie, but this show is 10 times more memorable.
SECOND OPINION: Feb. 13th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods: https://indyweek.com/events/loving-pure-life-theatre-february-2020/.
Pure Life Theatre presents LOVING at 8 p.m. Feb. 14 and 15, 3 p.m. Feb. 16, 8 p.m. Feb. 21, 3 and 8 p.m. Feb. 22, 3 p.m. Feb. 23, and 8 p.m. Feb. 28 and 29 in the Historic Royal Bakery building, 3801 Hillsborough St., Suite 113, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.
TICKETS: $30, except $24 matinees.
BOX OFFICE: 919-272-1551, firstname.lastname@example.org, or https://www.purelifetheatre.com/buy-tickets.
SHOW: https://www.purelifetheatre.com/buy-tickets and https://www.facebook.com/events/476341023064842/.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: https://www.facebook.com/pg/purelifetheatre/videos/.
PRESENTER/VENUE: https://www.purelifetheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/purelifetheatre/, and https://www.instagram.com/purelifetheatre/.
Loving (play): https://www.dramaticpublishing.com/loving (Dramatic Publishing).
The Script: https://www.dramaticpublishing.com/media/pdf/excerpts/exLovingLM1.pdf (Dramatic Publishing).
Peter Manos (New York, NY playwright): https://www.dramaticpublishing.com/authors/profile/view/url/peter-manos (Dramatic Publishing) and https://newplayexchange.org/users/3849/peter-manos (New Play Exchange).
Deb Royals Mizerk (Raleigh, NC director): https://www.facebook.com/deb.royals (Facebook page) and http://www.abouttheartists.com/artists/507872-deb-royals (AbouttheArtists bio).
Robert O’Connell is new to the Triangle, but not to the stage. As a playwright, he has had dozens of productions and awards throughout the world. He has an MS degree in Management Systems Analysis. A lifelong educator, O’Connell has also published three novels at http://www.flashmobthenovel.com/ and two humor anthologies from his blog, https://thesmartestguyiknow.wordpress.com/. He and his wife have settled in Cary, NC. Click here to read his reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.