By Walter Rutledge
Off Broadway is to live theatre, what the concept car is to the automotive industry. It allows the public to participate in the process of creation, where memorable productions transition into unforgettable theatre. Ritual, a play conceived and produced by Stanley Bennett Clay is a clever one-act drama that reveals the secrets of an “ideal” upper middle class Africa American Family.
To everyone on the outside looking in, the Becker Family of Baldwin Hills was living the American dream. Leon (David M. Raine), a successful lawyer, and his beautiful wife Sylvia (Q) are the proud parents of two children daughter Teresa (Latresa Baker) and son Mason (Reginald James Albert). Teresa is a dutiful daughter and younger brother Mason is the brilliant son attending an Ivy League School. From the moment we are invited in to their living room we quickly discover humorist, the late Erma Bombeck, was correct; “The grass is always greener over the septic tank.”
Playwright Bennett skillfully takes us on a fast paced ride with more twist and turns than a Peyton Place cul de sec. This is the tale the American Dream becoming a domestic nightmare. Power struggles, familial alliances, incest and betrayal of modern-day Borgia-que portions rock the Becker Family to their very core.
Ritual fulfill the first rule of good theatre by allowing the audience to experience the unexpected. The production concluded the initial run of Saturday afternoon performances at the 777 Theatre, 777 8th Avenue, on November 15th; but returns for a new Sunday run beginning December 14 at 2pm. For more information or to reserve tickets call 866-811-41111 or visit theatermania.com.