The entire play takes place in the meeting room (in the sparse and intimate SPACE) of the fictional organization Colored People's Advancement Advocates, a grass roots Civil Rights group in Baltimore. Mundane meeting logistics mixed with catching up on gossip soon give way to more serious issues. A few hours ago, Freddie Gray has been thrown into the back of a van, in obvious pain, and nothing has been heard about him since. Two police officers arrive to have a discussion with the leader of the organization (who never shows up) in attempt to ease the people's fears and stop the rioting. The group's VP (Dana Lee Thompson) has a one-on-one conversation with the lieutenant (Andrew Erskine Wheeler), while the rest of the group (Brianna M. Daniels, Joann Oudekerk, JuCoby Johnson, Pedro Juan Fonseca, and Siddeeqah Shabazz) give the other officer (Anna Hickey) a hard time when she claims she's just there to help. The two sides try to come to an understanding, but disagree about the next course of action. The disagreement escalates to an ending so sudden and so shocking that when the lights came up, I thought it was intermission. It was only when the cast came out for the curtain call that I realized that was the end of the play. There's no resolution, only sudden silence, hopefully to be followed by a continuing conversation.
|the cast of Baltimore is Burning on the sparse set|
(photo courtesy of Underdog Theatre)
Just four more performances of Baltimore is Burning remain, with a ticket price of only $10. Check it out for some thoughtful, engaging, powerful, relevant theater by a promising new company.