I loved Blackberry Daze because it was one of the only times that I’ve seen a show with a cast made up of just people of color. Which I absolutely loved! Blackberry Daze was unapologetic in its telling of a story that sadly still takes place today. It was truthful and didn’t sugarcoat real issues.
The show talked about rape, the mistreatment of African American people in the military and the way we tend to neglect the needs of ourselves and others.It held up a mirror to show us “Hey! There has been a lot of absolutely amazing changes in America but there are still somethings that are the same.” This show takes place in 1919 after World War 1 and it was almost said the similarities in that time and now. I loved the storytelling of this story with the jazz, blues concepts used.
My absolute favorite thing about Blackberry Daze is that there are only 9 people in this cast, including the Herman Camm alt. and the show’s musicians. Speaking of the show’s musicians Ms. S. Renee Clark and Mr. Spencer Bean were playing those instruments! I loved the choice to add them into the show and when they opened Act 2 I loved every second of it.
Another huge thing I loved about this show was the intimacy. I love seeing actors walking throughout the audience and being so close to the cast that you could high five them. Being that close draws you in so much more instead of huge tours at 1,000 seat theaters. It’s what I value about local theater the most. We are here with you in the moment and while you may tell the same story after I’m gone it won’t be the same. It is what theatre is in its purest form, but let’s get into the breakdown.
TC Carson as Herman Camm: This performance was what I like to call “old school”. He allowed the character to live in every inch of every limb. It was total character embodiment, every wink, glance, nod it was all in place. Well thought out, every moment calculated but still given space to breathe and live presently in the moment. I loved it and it showed me what every performance it should be. I think physically this was the best performance I’ve ever seen.
Christy Clark as Ginny, Annie May, Hester, and Bessie: If you don’t go see this show for anything else go for her performance. This woman was everything! She was the audience’s go to for an “amen”. One thing I can say about this cast is that you can tell they were raised in church. She pulled each character from someone everyone In the audience knew. We were glued to every character, every riff, run, and whatever she had to throw at us. She came to slay and did just that.
Brittany Inge as Pearl: This lady has some serious pipes! After seeing her in this show I’m a fan and I will be seeing her in “Holler if ya hear me” with the True Colors Theatre Company. She’s a force to be reckoned with, this was the first time I’ve seen her perform and every time she was on stage I was drawn to her. Most importantly she played off her cast mates. She listened and that propelled her performance so much farther. https://www.brittanyinge.com/
Naomi Lavette as Mae Lou: This woman right here is a treasure. If you simply look at her resume on her website you’ll know that this woman is the real deal. This was the perfect role for her. This is a praying woman, she’s one of those people that you can feel a presence over. This plays right into her strengths almost as if it was written specifically for her. Needless to say her performance seemed natural which is the goal for any role you play. http://www.naomilavette.com/
Christian Magby as Willie/Simon: I’ve known Christian since the first show I’ve ever did. I have always looked up to him and this guy gets better every time I see him. In this show he’s switching between two characters. He picks up between each role without missing a beat, which is super hard to do! This guy kills everything he’s in and this is no different. http://www.christianmagby.com/
Ayana Reed as Carrie: I would say this is a singin’ woman but Ms. Reed is a Sangin’ woman! She came through and put some vocals down that would wipe the eyebrows clean off your face. She was given a hard role with some rough material but she took it and molded it into a real person. Its raw, it’s bold, but most importantly it’s truthful. For her to simply be truthful in this role, she made the whole show for me. http://ayana.staxagency.com/
This is not a show to miss! It’s amazing and should be shared with as many people as possible. Go see Blackberry Daze at the Horizon Theatre playing now through August 27th! You can also buy the book that this show is based off of at https://www.amazon.com/Blackberry-Days-Summer-Novel-Presents/dp/B00B5591HC