L.A. Theatre Works. May 2022. 1:13 hrs. ISBN 9781682661635. $6.95. DRAMA
A versatile cast of talented narrators featuring Sophina Brown, Demetrius Grosse, X Mayo, Uyoata Udi, Eugene Byrd, Karen Malina White, and Sharon Lawrence bring out the heartbreak, fear, and anger in Morisseau’s (The Detroit Project) powerful audio play. Voiced by Brown, Nya, a dedicated teacher at a struggling inner-city public school, is devastated when her son, Omari, is suspended from his private school for threatening a teacher. Omari’s suspension shatters his friends and family, from his girlfriend, Jasmine, who is overwhelmed with anxiety, to his father, Xavier, who considers the enormous weight of parenting in a world with many consequences but few opportunities for Black teens. This full-cast production allows an intimate glimpse into the minds of Omari’s community, palpably communicating the depth of their love and their agony as they worry about Omari’s precarious future. While all the narrators deliver nuanced performances, Brown is exceptional, presenting a crushing portrait of a mother who is stretched to the breaking point.
VERDICT With a running time of just over an hour, this brief but captivating audio play is highly recommended. Share with listeners who appreciate YA crossover titles by authors such as Jason Reynolds, Angie Smith, and Nic Stone.
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