Seattle Repertory Theatre Seattle Center
April 26–June 2
Recommended by Charles Mudede
The play opens with a character based on Nina Simone, Peaches, playing “I Loves You, Porgy,” the signature tune of the jazz singer/pianist’s pre-protest-song era. The performance, however, is disrupted by the cries of the four girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing. In the second act, Nina meets another black woman, Sarah, in the ruins of the church. It soon becomes clear that Sarah, a committed member of the church, is opposed to Nina's radicalization. "I ain't into that radical business," Sarah says. The question at the core of the play becomes clear: Do we rebuild the church or destroy the current racist society? For Peaches/Simone, the answer is clear: Because there is nothing good about American society, it must be exploded and completely rebuilt from scratch. The ruins of the Alabama church should become the ruins of racism in America.