Played by the playwright himself, the main character travels through space and time on a metaphorical bus. He tells stories of horrific violence against Black people throughout history, both recent and ancient. The similarities between the stories, and the ongoing trend, are unmistakable. He concludes with a simple list of names, the names of Black people killed. The list feels endless, but it only covers 2015. He then adds the familiar names from the beginning of this year, ending with George Floyd; the murder of a Black man like so many others throughout history, but one that started a worldwide reckoning, much like the murder of Emmett Till in 1955 (a story also recounted in the play). A sobering bus ride indeed.
The play is fully staged, complete with set, props, and video and lighting effects that all aid in the storytelling (projection design by Emmet Kowler, lighting design by Karin Olson, with Tomas Leal as videographer and editor). It looks like there could be cuts between scenes when the lights fade to black, but still, it's a fantastic performance by Antonio playing all of these different characters and emotions.
Each Zoom performance is followed by a discussion with the playwright and director (Ellen Fenster), which is helpful to work through the heavy themes of the play. The year that is 2020 has changed us, and theater, irrevocably. These are the kinds of stories theater needs to be telling as we move forward, to connect our history to our present and forge a better future.
Tears of Moons will be streamed Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as a Sunday matinee. Click here for details and to purchase tickets.