The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World
The Pershing Square Signature Center
November 26, 2016
|Photo courtesy of Signature Theatre|
Suzan-Lori Parks’ The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World aka The Negro Book of the Dead is presently playing at the Pershing Square Signature Center. The production rings with rhythm and repetition that brings a visceral understanding to Ms. Parks’ intention. The ensemble cast is ignited with passion and deliver vocally powerful performances. Director Lileana Blain-Cruz masterfully blends images, form, and pacing that evoke emotion and a clear connection to Ms. Parks’ themes.
In Ms. Parks’ words, the play is “about a man and his wife, and the man is dying… It is like a funeral mass in a way… his wife is trying to find his final resting place.” She says the play moves like “free jazz” music and correlates it with “poet’s theatre, slam poetry, hip-hop, like a poetry slam.”
|Photo courtesy fo Signature Theatre|
Costume design by Montana Blanco and wig design my Cookie Jordan visually represent the dying man’s heritage, starting from the Pharaohs of Egypt and carrying it through the twentieth century. These iconic visual images show a strength and connection that one person’s life exemplifies. The cast of eleven phenomenal actors embody each of these symbols and fill them with life that supersedes their stylistic representation.
Whether you are new to Suzan-Lori Parks work or an avid follower, this production will evoke an emotional response. See it and allow it to envelop you. The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World aka The Negro Book of the Dead runs at Signature Theatre’s Pershing Square Signature Center through December 18.