My heart is full and my head is spinning as I sit down to capture my thoughts and emotions after having attended the opening performance of "The Taste of Sunrise - Part Two of The Ware Trilogy" by Suzan Zeder. This play serves as a prequel to "Mother Hicks," which was presented recently by Emerson Stage. You may want to take a moment to read my review of that play using the link below.
White Rhino Report Review of "Mother Hicks - Part One of the Ware Trilogy"
In this play, the playwright fills in the back story of Tuc. We learn how he became deaf after a bout with scarlet fever that almost took his life. We learn of his struggles to communicate with his father, the mixed blessing of his years at the deaf school in Carbondale, and his return home to be with his dying father. Wheelock Family Theatre is hosting the second segment of this World Premiere event - the first time that all three plays in the Ware Trilogy have been produced in the same city. All three of the plays are performed bilingually in English and American Sign Language (ASL).
If this is Tuc's play, then it is also certainly Elbert Joseph's play. He is the deaf actor who portrays Tuc. We see his words projected on the upstage wall, we hear his words being spoken by Ethan Hermanson and Cliff Odle, who also plays Tuc's father. And Mr. Joseph conveys his words with ASL. As effective as these triple means of communication may be, they are almost redundant. For the actor's expressions and movement and stage presence are so compelling and so clear that there is never any doubt what thoughts and feelings and intentions he is radiating. This is one of the finest performances by an actor I have seen on a Boston stage.
|Elbert Joseph as Tuc|
. Photo by Craig Bailey, Perspective Photo.
EJ is playing Tuc in all 3 plays of The Ware Trilogy.
The fine ensemble cast includes:
- Elbert Joseph as Tuc
- Cliff Odle as Jonas Tucker
- Kathleen Patrick as Emma Flynn
- Brittany Rolfs as Nell Hicks
- Donna Sorbello as Dr. Alexis Graham
- Daniel Bolton as Dr. Grindly Mann
- Lewis D. Wheeler as Clovis P.Eudy et al.
- Jen Alison Lewis as Izzy Sue Ricks et al.
- Matthew J. Schwartz as Roscoe
- Amanda Collins as Maizie
- Ethan Hermanson as the Voice of Tuc
- Sirena Abalian as Alma et al.
- Steven Cosnek as Voice of Rosce et al.
- Erisette Cruz, Reignyah Miraculous Grant, Ingrid Jensen O'Dell, Suleyka Suarez and Arthur Wheelock-Wood as the Deaf Student Ensemble
- E. Sho Ndukwe and Christopher S. Robinson as additional Ensemble
In leaving my seat following the standing ovation and the deaf community's enthusiastic waving of hands to indicate applause, I found myself part of an instant community. It was the community of those of us - dozens of men and women - who needed to pause, remove our glasses and wipe the tears from our eyes so that we could see to find our way out of the theater.
Go see this show and be moved as we were.