MIAMI – The African American Performing Arts Community Theater (AAPACT) has yet another play performing until May 31 at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center.
This time, it’s for adults only. Director Teddy Harrell Jr. takes the play, For Your Love…Sucker! and puts his AAPACT spin on it.
For Your Love is about Arthur (played by Andre Gainey), who is a man whore. Any woman he can be with intimately, he is. He has broken up with Lydia (Stacey Morrison) and met Renee (Janet “Toni” Mason). But Lydia isn’t prepared to let Arthur go so easily. Renee is determined to hold onto her man.
At first, the old-school attire threw me off. I wasn’t expecting the characters to be older. Arthur, Renee and Lydia are in their late 40s. The setting appears to be the late 1980s, early 1990s in the Bay Area of California.
As a woman in her mid-twenties, I wasn’t sure I could relate to the threesome of such older people. However, the issues that plague this trio are the same things that plague my generation.
Ed Bullins, who wrote For Your Love, was a playwright and pioneering artist in the Black Acting Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Most of his plays seem to be centered on issues concerning the black community. In this case, For Your Love addresses how many black men have many different lovers. Honestly, it’s not just black men who have this issue, but Bullins wasn’t writing about other ethnicities.
Harrell’s directing has improved. He made the play enjoyable, even through the hot- under-the-collar scenes of necking and moaning. But the credit can’t all go to Harrell. Mason, who gets to do all of that moaning, handled herself pretty well. She is excited without any bashfulness, which brings realness to Renee.
When I first met Mason, she was the stage manager for another AAPACT play called Sisters. She was quiet and reserved. But, in For Your Love, she is happy, anxious, funny, loud, and comes to life. What a transformation.
Gainey as Arthur is somewhat believable. Arthur is supposed to be a ladies’ man, but I didn’t get that vibe from him. Then again, I don’t understand the physical attraction some women have to Jack Nicholson. But, that’s neither here nor there. Gainey is a great guy off the stage and charming to boot, but I didn’t see the dandy side of him as Arthur.
One of my favorite AAPACT players is Larry Robinson. He usually plays the old man with the wicked tongue, who drinks a lot. But Robinson’s characters always serve as the comic relief. Whenever Robinson, a classically trained actor, is on stage, funny things seem to happen or be said.
I would also like to honorably mention Madame Butterfly herself, Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns. She performs a song/poem at the beginning of the show; a staple for AAPACT performances. All AAPACT shows begin with a routine to grab the audience’s attention, like a warmer.
Butterfly also plays one of Abu’s girlfriends’ voices. Abu (William Barnes) is the African man who lives behind Arthur. Abu is supposed to be
African, but his voice is distinguishingly Jamaican. I say that because Barnes is never on stage until he takes his bow. So, the only thing I can critique is his voice, which does convey feeling.
Likewise, Butterfly and Keo’vonne Kenna as his wives never take the stage. Their voices are the only signs of their acting. So I can’t necessarily critique them, as they don’t have too many speaking parts anyway.
All in all, For Your Love is a good play. I wouldn’t necessarily bring any kids to watch it because of the language and sexual exploits, but I would recommend it for the “grown and sexy.” The play also explores relationships and how we all have issues letting go of exes.
Lydia, even though Arthur has broken up with her, still gives him money; which he gladly accepts. When Arthur is finally finished with Lydia, Renee starts to give him money. This is a shame, considering Arthur’s age. The only reason why Lydia is giving him money is so she can keep him. But that’s not the way to keep a man. Then again, who would want a man who is always taking money from you and all you get in return is a quick roll in the bed?
What’s great about this play is that it examines some of the wrongs in a relationship and causes the audience to think about their own relationships.
The question of this review is whether or not you should spend a hard-earned $25 to see it. Usually, Act One is not as good as Act Two. But in For Your Love, Act One is well worth the $25, just don’t bring the kids: You’ll have a lot explaining to do on the car ride home.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: For Your Love…Sucker!
WHEN: May 29 and 30 at 8 p.m., May 31 (final performance) at 3 p.m.
WHERE: The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 NW 22nd Avenue, Miami.
COST: Tickets are $20 each. $10 for people in groups of 10 or more.
CONTACT: Teddy Harrell Jr., 305-638-6771 www.aapact.com.