4/27/2013 1:17 PM
EMERGENCY by Daniel Beaty is unlike pretty much anything else out there, in New York theater or otherwise. When a slave ship emerges out of the Hudson and right up to the Statue of Liberty, the world as we know it is turned on its head, and rightfully so. Beaty’s brave exploration of being African American in America today is well-constructed and thought-provoking. It is a solo play and Beaty plays a number of distinct, memorable characters, bouncing back and forth seamlessly from distinct members of our community—ones we recognize and ones we are markedly still getting to know. The show can be performed by one person, or expanded into a larger cast. I would argue that EMERGENCY’s strength is in Beaty’s performance, and I question the piece as it stands without his masterful acting and knowledge of his subject matter. Still, EMERGENCY prevails as thought-provoking, challenging and fresh.