Why you should go see “Zooman And The Sign”?
Theatre Review by Kenyon Hill Staff Writer of Sacculturalhub.com/THE HUB Magazinel
Anti-Violence is the Theme for ‘Zooman & the Sign’. Several important themes not discussed enough in the Black community form the basis of ‘Zooman and the Sign’ a play shown at the Guild Theatre this past month. Far too often, crimes in the community where both the perpetrator and victim are Black are usually a recipe for a cold case. When key witnesses fail to step up and assist in solving a crime, it often leads to desperation from the family of the victim.
Such is the case in ‘Zooman’, where the killing of a young girl turns a small community against itself. The play, written by Charles Fuller and directed by Lisa Lacy, centers around the Tate’s, a family reeling from recent tragedy, and Zooman, a self-destructive felon who thrives on mystery and intimidation. A convincing performance from Romann Hodge as Zooman is the key to the production. He comes across as brash and uncaring, fully convinced that his crime (the murder of young Jenny Tate) was justified because she was at the “wrong place at the wrong time.” His performance gives a slight glimpse into the mind of so many young Black men who feel betrayed by society which lead them on a self-destructive path.
The play also gives the audience insight into the feelings of loss and guilt often felt by the victim’s family; in this case, the suffering of the Tate family. Reuben and Rachel Tate,(played by Rob Anthony and Charla Johnson & Donna Armstrong), beset by marital troubles, struggle to find answers for their daughter’s death and their neighbor’s lack of assistance in finding her killer. The play brings to light the issue in the Black community where the reluctance of eye-witnesses to come forward leaves many crimes unsolved. Distrust of the police in combination with the sometimes violent repercussions of coming forward leaves many families with the same feeling of despair as felt by the Tate’s.
The cast of ‘Zooman and the Sign’ put in a stellar performance throughout the production with standout performances by Ricky Taylor as the cranky Emmett Tate and Voress Franklin as the nosey, but good-hearted Ash Boswell.
Despite the many issues that arise in the play, the most important theme is the effect of violence in the community and how it has an adverse affect on both the victims and the perpetrators. The production serves as a wake up call and a plea for help to help stop the cycle of senseless violence in the Black community.
Images Theatre Company (ITC) of Sacramento present “ZOOMAN AND THE SIGN”, written by Charles Fuller and directed by Images Founder, Lisa Lacy which opened Friday, April 10 at the Guild Theater, in Sacramento and runs through May 10.
SHOW DATES: The show opened on April 10, and runs through May 10, 2009. Performances are on Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm at the Guild Theater, 2828 35th Street (35th and B’way), Sacramento, 95817. Tickets prices range from $15.00 for children (12 and under) to $20.00 for adults. Discounted groups rates are also available for groups of 10 and more.
Tickets may be purchased:
- 1) BUY ONLINE at www.imagestheater.org
- 2) Get tickets in person at Culture Collection, 6391 Riverside Blvd, (Riverside and Florin Road next to Baskin Robbins in the Greenhaven area) in Sacramento
- 3) Get tickets in person at Underground Books, 2814 35th Street in Oak Park – Sacramento
For additional information visit www.imagestheater.org or call (916) 428-1441 for reservations.
About “Zooman and the Sign”: Set in the early 1980’s, ZOOMAN AND THE SIGN is the heartfelt story of the Tate family after their 12 year-old daughter is tragically killed by Zooman, a petty criminal and gangbanger. The play unfolds as the Tate’s struggle to make sense of the tragic and untimely death of their daughter, and to find justice. Their neighbors refuse to come forward to identify the girl’s killer. Mr. Tate in his frustration posts an accusatory sign calling his neighbors cowards. The neighbors react with aggression. The play raises the questions of how young men like Zooman become so lost and alienated in our world that they kill without thought or conscience, and how we as a society can prevent youth violence. In addition, it urges us to look at how non-violent people respond to the epidemic violence as well as our own complacency and acceptance of murder within our current society. ZOOMAN AND THE SIGN stars well-known local actors, Rob Anthony as the father, Rueben Tate, Romann Hodge as Zooman, and newcomer Charla Johnson in the role of the mother, Rachel Tate. Also, featured are Voress Franklin and Ricky Baylor in strong supporting roles.