By Trevor Rhone
Directed by Clinton Turner Davis
Starring Michael Rogers and Joyce Sylvester
Reviewed by Ebele Oseye
What a joy to be in the company of a couple immersed in a love that is greater than love. This is the compassion needed in the contemporary moment. All audiences, young and mature can enjoy the powerful drama unfolding in Trevor Rhone’s “Two Can Play” where the bedroom setting highlights the deep caring and impassioned support two people provide for each other when Kingston, Jamaica, during the 1970’s, is literally under fire, and so many Jamaicans seeking safety, migrate in order to escape pervasive violence.
Even before a single word is spoken, the music of Bob Marley prepares the audience. Many members of the audience are dancing in their seats and a few dancing in the aisle before the play starts. Then the superlatively talented cast of two, captivates our hearts, carrying us to another time and place. Michael Rogers, as Jim, and Joyce Sylvester, as Gloria are so at one with the characters that they seem to have been born playing those roles And through their talent see many other characters who never actually appear on stage.
Tears will roll, tears of hard laughter and tears of grief. This play provokes highly emotional and vocal interactions between audience and players. What happens when a person assumes the identity of a dead person or divorces and marries a stranger in order to create a new identity that will allow them to migrate and be reunited with their original family? What are the dangers inherent in these complicated manipulations?
Some tensions are gender-based and of course the pressures of political disorders exacerbates personal conflicts. “Two Can Play” delivers stunning clarity of the contemporary moment. The audience is family in this inclusive drama, as we watch immigration destroy family. In 2020, children of immigrants are caged and some children allowed to freeze to death.
New Federal Theatre celebrates 50 years of excellence. For fifty years NFT has consistently provided life-sustaining art. The standing ovation delivered for “Two Can Play “ resonates with our continued appreciation for NFT. Thank you for honoring our ancestors through beautiful works of art.
Castillo Theatre 543 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036. (212) 941 1234. Through April 6, 2020.