The Good Negro Review

June 1, 2010
When it comes to seeing plays, I’m generally the type that likes to see fiction over non-fiction plays. However, after seeing The Good Negro, my perspective has changed. The Good Negro was a moving piece about social reforms during the Civil Rights Movement in the South. It was written by playwright Tracey Scott Wilson and directed by Chuck Smith. Tracy Scott Wilson did a phenomenal job at writing an entertaining piece to the audience about social movements and relating the movements to American History.
The Good Negro takes place in the heart of the American Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama. Reverend James Lawrence (Billy Eugene Jones) and fellow companions Henry Evans and Bill Rutherford (Demetrios Troy) form a nonviolence support group to James Crow. Lawrence first started to rally when an African American women named Claudette Sullivan (Nambi E. Kelley) comes running into his office, because she got arrested with her daughter for using a “white’s only” bathroom. The racist local that turns her in, Gary Thomas Rowe (Dan Waller), believed that it was necessary for her to be arrested. He believed that it was putting her in her place in society. Later on, Gary gets called into the FBI to talk about the incident and the FBI decided to have Gary join the KKK to do undercover work. The FBI gets distracted from the Civil Rights movement when they find out about the Reverend’s affairs and when Gary bombed a family’s house to prove to the KKK that he wasn’t with the FBI. All of these events lead to the march that Reverend Lawrence forms with his church.
I thought the Good Negro was a remarkable play. I liked how the play showed a variety of perspectives from a local African American preacher, an African American family, local Authorities like the FBI, and a member from the Klu Klux Klan. With such simplicity for the scenery and use of props, they were really able to make the play come to life through there words. Even with scene changes you were still able to figure out where they were and what was going on. All of the actors really got into character and were able to send the director’s message about how racism had such a major impact on society during that time. My favorite scenes were the soliloquies. I liked how the play wasn’t biased and didn’t make you pick sides. Everything was to be looked at with an open mind. I liked how it showed every character’s flaws. I thought that the play was a tad too long, but other than that it was a truly remarkable play. This play wants to make you to make changes in society by looking forward, after reflecting on the past.

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