Diversionary Theatre Debuts a Solid New Space with a Solid New Play

One in Two will bring out emotions, shake them up, and put them back in.

Kevane La’marr Coleman is 2 in One in Two by Donja R. Love. 

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti
It is practically impossible to not share the air, sentiment and all the feels happening around theatre openings right now. Many spaces took the absence as a strength and worked on some maintenance. Diversionary Theatre revamped the whole thing in a bedazzled and functional manner.

The two-story venue has new comfy and colorful seats as well as a spacious, gorgeous bar with a performance area that includes a piano and will welcome a cabaret series during the week. With all those happenings, a solid new space had to open its season with a solid new play like One in Two by Donja R. Love. 

Coming into the theatre and seeing all different colors within the aisles, contrasted nicely with an all-white and subtle set design by Victoria Petrovich in her Diversionary Theatre debut, complemented by the deep and warm lighting design by Minjoo Kim.

 Durwood Murray , Carter Piggee and Kevane La’marr Coleman  in One in Two by Donja R. Love
One in Two (in this performancefeatures Kevane La’marr Coleman (as 2), Durwood Murray (as 3), and Carter Piggee (as 1).  In an interactive dynamic at the beginning of the show, the audience will choose which actor will be what number so the actors know which role they will play in the story they want to tell. Something that seems practical and not a big deal at first. A 1-2-3 activity shows three boys playing and sharing anecdotes innocently. Not grasping innuendos or intentions of any kind. It is viewed with the innocence and trust of a child. Different scenes, apparently unrelated follow, flashing diverse paths, lives, and a deep, too real twist that becomes the thread of this story.

Donja R. Love screams between the lines of this piece. Three Black men onstage, a turn ticket dispenser, and a counter. They are -just numbers-, like any other statistic lost in another bunch of numbers. Why the oversight? Why does this happen?. The playwright also explains: It is about culture, systemic issues, and accessibility. The HIV epidemic in the 80s is still taking people in the 21st century. Black people and Latin American people leading the line amongst other underrepresented groups (I refuse to use the word "minority").  

The three actors are fine in sync and deliver powerful, reaction-worthy lines like "the beautiful nuances of the N-word " or "you are not gay if you don't kiss it"... Durwood Murray with his signature deep, velvety voice, leads the group with the many challenges and role-playing that has to be done. Carter Piggee in his Diversionary debut, in this performance, carried the weight of being number 1, showing us that just like in life, being number one, is not always the best. Kevane La’marr Coleman lands the script well with his unique delivery. Local theatergoers will enjoy a little inside joke to a particular line where 2 makes a reference to acting roles he will not be considered for. It might seem I am talking in code, but rather you go, see the show after reading this and then laughing when knowing which plays he's referring to.

 Carter Piggee, Kevane La’marr Coleman, and Durwood Murray   
in One in Two by Donja R. Love
Mason Pilevsky with the sound design, the clean set design, warm lighting, and Brooke Kesler's simple costume design, consisting of pants, t-shirts, and everyday outfits, had the purpose of making this story shine across. And of course, taken care of by the wonderful stage manager, Beonica Bullard.

I also have to say, portrayed by three different, beautiful Black men, routing the page-to-stage effort by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg that showed a careful curation and treatment of feelings yet with a strong, putting the foot down, enough is enough tone that will bring out feelings, shake them and put them back in. Amongst the scenes containing heavy issues, there is one in particular that is complex to stage. Sonnenberg's direction brought a tasteful and artistic outcome.

One in Two is currently playing until October 24. Different activities are happening, check it all out at their website.

And shameless plug, listen to me talk to awesome artists and the arts in our wonderful podcast From Another Zero. Latest episode is "Disability Thinking Twice with Valerie Salgado".

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