|Jesse Franklin, Jessica Risco & Tre’Vonne Bell|
Tru is in same cell as Marquis for “loitering” (enough said). When Marquis’s white mom (a very blonde and hilariously ‘color-blind’ Jessica Risco) arrives, she quickly uses her social connections and ‘whiteness’ to get both boys released to her, excitedly convincing Tru to spend the night so that Marquis can finally have “a cultural friend.” The boys begin to establish a friendship where ideas, clothes, and the required pushes and shoves are swapped and shared. And, Marquis begins to learn ‘secrets’ about being black that he is not sure he wants or needs to learn but more and more feels compelled to do so.
|Rebecca Hodges, Ari Lagomarsino & Delaney Corbitt|
Much of the play’s humor and also the playwright’s commentary on the majority society surrounding all African American kids come via the white classmates of Marquis at Achievement Heights Academy. His buds, Fielder (Max Seijas) and Hunter (Peter Alexander), are ever-so-close to being caricatures of the cool guy concentrating on his hair and looks and the jock who is out to make it with one of the cheerleaders. The girls carry telling names like Prairie (Delaney Corbitt), Meadow (Ari Lagomarsino), and Clementine (Rebecca Hodges) and are exaggerations of giddy, selfie-taking gals whose eyes are mostly on boys and on their own looks and rivalries. Clementine does have the hots for Marquis (as does he for her), and her obvious naivite about him as an African American is both sweet and sad to watch.
|Peter Alexander & Ari Lagomarsino|
When Hunter (Peter Alexander) starts reading Tru’s instructional book on being black that Marquis has discarded, something inside him switches as he strives to take on all the black mannerisms, speech, and looks that Marquis largely refuses to consider. Mr. Alexander gives an award-worthy performance that is difficult to watch while also eliciting much laughter. His journey into his black self takes turns that unfortunately echo the underlying message of Mr. Chisholm’s play and the ‘secret’ about the young, black men he so much tries to emulate.