Compliment: Native [Hillsborough, NC]
There are so many adjectives that could be used to describe the performance of Native, a play by High School drama teacher Ian Finley and directed by Serena Ebhardt and starring David zum Brunnen as Paul Green and Josh Henderson as Richard Wright and produced by EbzB Productions, that this review would just be too long.
Set in 1941 before America enters WWII in a hotel in New York City between the Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Paul Green and the author of "Native Son" Richard Wright to finalize the script adaptation of Wright's book into a Broadway play the story starts off placidly, but quickly escalates between the two men as to how the final scene should end. Flashbacks of childhood and into the heart of the story of Native Son are interspersed to bring the audience into the minds of the men and their backgrounds. One a well-known southern professor and playwright, the other a black author born poor in Mississippi and later raised in the Chicago slums. Although the setting is 1941 it could just as easily be 2017. Both actors give strong performances to pull the audience in to their struggle to present the Truth about the villain/hero of the play they are finishing and how the final scene should answer that question. When the performance ends there are so many questions left with the audience to answer for themselves as to who we are as a people and who we are as Americans. Have we really improved as a nation over the last 75 years and can we do better? The performance that I saw was at St. Matthew's church in Hillsborough, NC as part of their Faith and the Arts series. What better place to see this play that questions man's morality than in a holy space.
What an incredibly powerful play and performances by great actors. If Native is showing anywhere near you it is worth the trip to see this.
-Charles Thomas, Patron