Last year's virtually sold out Minnesota Fringe Festival show Black Wall Street: Dreamland Theatre was a visceral and immersive experience that "doesn't try to tell you what happened on that tragic day, rather it makes you feel what happened." It opened with the showing of historical Black films of the early 20th Century, and then we experienced what happened in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa as if we were inside the theater. For this production, creator Doc Woods has worked with playwright Altese Robinson and nimbus theatre in what is less a remount of Black Wall Street than a companion piece, or another play in a series. It's structured more as a traditional play, with scenes playing out prior to and after the moments depicted in the original piece for a fuller picture of the event and people involved. It's less visceral, but just as affecting.
|Loula (Kira K. Spears) with her son William
(Jeremie Niyonkuru, photo courtesy of nimbus)
Doc Woods directs the talented cast, which also includes Black Wall Street cast members Quintin Michael, Emmanuel L. Woods, Camrin King, Michael Galvan, and B.E. Kerian reprising their roles. The sparse set includes the sweet shop counter on one side of the stage, and the Sherriff's office on the other, with the courthouse steps always visible in the background. The cast is dressed in period clothing that shows us the success of this community (scenic design by Tyler Krohn, costume design by the Costume Collective).
While Black Wall Street was a visceral experience that made you feel like you were inside the burning of Greenwood, this iteration shows us more of what was happening around town. It's a powerful play about a devastating moment in our history that's important to remember. See The Burning of Greenwood at the Crane Theater through June 25.