Saturday, July 22, 2017

Review of Eclipse Theatre's Megastasis

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Megastasis. It was by Kia Corthron and it was directed by Aaron Todd Douglas. It was about a young man named Tray (Anthony Conway) who had a joint at a party that changed his life. He is trying to find a way to stay out of jail and take care of his kid, but he can't because the judicial system makes it very hard for people of color and poor people to be able to get reduced sentences and rebuild their lives after prison. It is about the strength of family, injustice, and coming home. I thought this was a really good and meaningful show. It had a really powerful story that needs to be told. I loved how much you got to know and see about the characters; I loved so many of them and I was really invested in the outcome of the story.

This play shows you how it is hard to live and how hard it is for anyone to help you, but there are a lot of people that will try to help you. That is something that counts, because it shows that even though they can't always help you, they want to be there for you. That is what made this play so moving. Tray's grandpa, Dex (Darren Jones), really tries to help him out by helping raise Tray's child, but he can't always be there for him. Once he lost almost everything he had, he felt like he was no use to Tray anymore. I think he could have been a lot of use to Tray, even without his resources, but I do understand why he felt like he had to leave. But he wasn't only useful to Tray because he had a house; his being there was useful and his advice was useful, but he gets discouraged because he feels like the system is after his whole family and he doesn't know how to protect them anymore. It is so terrible to think about people feeling helpless because of the power of the judicial system, which will take most of what you have if you give in and if you try to fight back they might take everything you have. Then after you have served your sentence, you get out and you are supposed to be a new person and live a new life, but they don't let you do that either. There is some hope at the end because you see that Tray and the grandpa find a home in each other and his daughter Mica (Martasia Jones). But you are still furious at the world because even though this is a play, there are real people that have to deal with this system. There are other people that want to help Tray, and I think, in the end, they do at least something to help, even if they can't really overcome the powers of the system. Gina (Ashley J. Hicks) becomes a lawyer and tries to help Tray to the best of her ability. She has a full time job, but says he can call her any time. She gets him a job, but she can't change the judicial system or what has already happened. Tray's cousin Dubby (Gregory Fenner) is always there for Tray and lets him move into his house after Tray gets out of jail. He is really supportive and nice, but he can't take care of him forever. Tray has to fend for himself, so Dubby can live his young adult life. Tray should also be able to live his young adult life, but small mistakes with huge consequences get in his way.

There were many bittersweet moments because all the sweet moments had bitterness because they are so real. It is kind of like real life because often moments are not actually fully good because there is sometimes a dark side to a lot of situations. Nakeesha (Martasia Jones), the mother of Tray's child, was giving Tray hope that they still could have a family. The sweet part is that they really seem to like each other and they have this cute flirtatious thing they do. But it was very sad because at the exact same party where that happens, everything falls apart even though everything seemed so good a minute ago. Later, Tray has an encounter with the grandpa, who he hasn't seen in years and years. He gets him Chinese food, which is really sweet, and they talk about what has been happening. The reunion is really nice to see, except you suspect the grandpa is never coming back. At the beginning of the show Tray and Dubby were sitting on the street drinking and talking, and it was really sweet, but then the cops (Darren Jones, Hicks, Martasia Jones, and Christian Castro) keep interrupting. It is really sweet because they are having a conversation and joking around. Then the cops show up and act like Tray and Dubby have just been holding up a bank. They are different cops each time, but they all think, "we have to stop and search these people innocently talking on the street." Throughout the whole play the system keeps ruining everything for Tray, his relationships and his ability to get a job. The play starts with disrupting a conversation between cousins and goes on to taking a man away from his whole life. Throughout this play things escalate step by step from being searched on the street to being put away for many years in prison.

It might be hard to believe, because it was such a sad show, but there were some funny moments. One of my favorites was when Dubby, Gina, and Tray were all in a dorm room and they got these Double Stuf Oreos and they started to eat them. Well, Gina did. But Dubby just started licking the cream out of them. It was so funny because Gina kept staring at him like he was crazy. And he'd look back at her like, what's the problem? I thought it was hilarious because it showed how high they both were and showed you the dynamics of the relationship. There is another funny moment, that was also a little bit sad, when Dubby is visiting Tray in prison and they are reminiscing about their childhood and how they went to the circus and they got cotton candy. Tray kept crying because when he would eat it, it would disappear in his mouth. That was funny, cute, and sad all at the same time. You do stuff when you are a kid that you can't understand later, so it's funny when you look back on it. It was a sweet, genuine, and hilarious moment. I saw this as a bit of a metaphor too. It was kind of saying that Tray gets good and sweet things in his life, but they keep disappearing.

People who would like this show are people who like meaningful stories, bittersweet moments, and eating the cream out of Oreos. I think that people should definitely, definitely go see this show. It is beautiful and heartbreaking with a touch of humor and a little bit of hope. The acting was great and I loved it.

Photos: Scott Dray

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