Aug 14 - Sep 14, 2013
by Nathan Louis Jackson
Directed by Candace L. Feldman
ENNIS: Yes, Broke-ology. It is a complex new science that examines two things. One, being broke. Two, staying alive despite your brokeness.
MALCOLM: Sounds very complex.
ENNIS: It is. And more importantly, very useful.
In spite of economic and emotional hardships, the King family has survived thanks to their love for and dedication to one another. William, the father afflicted with MS, still lives in the house in which his sons grew up, continuously grasping at the memories of his late wife and the dreams they shared of a better future for their children. Ennis, his elder son, takes care of William despite the pressure that comes with having a baby of his own on the way. Malcolm, the younger son, is a college graduate recently returned home after a taste of life outside the asphyxiating cycle of poverty and struggle in which he was raised. When the offer of a job in Connecticut tempts Malcolm into leaving for good, he is forced to decide between his duty to his family and his refusal to further defer the dreams of his father.
Broke-ology is a funny, moving, and thoughtful meditation on the intersection of Economics and the plight of the American family. Playwright Nathan Louis Jackson developed the play while studying at Juilliard and based it on his real-life experience growing up in an impoverished neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas. Theater Alliance’s production of Broke-ology was our inaugural production in the brand new Anacostia Playhouse.
“The performers respond well to the script’s earnestness, and so do the designers.” “There are endless opportunities for the play to preach or preen, but all are thankfully declined. Instead, the audience is treated to a work that is thoughtful and reflective throughout.” “That’s a good illustration of how this production works on you: It’s unassuming but persistent, and when you feel moved to dismiss one of its writerly excesses, you find that you can’t.”
The Washington Post: BROKE-OLOGY (review)
DC Theatre Scene: BROKE-OLOGY (review)
Washington City Paper: BROKE-OLOGY (review)
“The performers respond well to the script’s earnestness, and so do the designers.”
“There are endless opportunities for the play to preach or preen, but all are thankfully declined. Instead, the audience is treated to a work that is thoughtful and reflective throughout.”
“That’s a good illustration of how this production works on you: It’s unassuming but persistent, and when you feel moved to dismiss one of its writerly excesses, you find that you can’t.”
Cast and production
Sonia Tricia Homer
William G. Alverez Reid*
Malcolm Marlon Russ
Ennis Jacobi Howard
* Denotes member, Actors’ Equity Association
Director Candace L. Feldman
Assistant Director Mark Hairston
Assistant Director Julian Elijah Martinez
Stage Manager Tré Wheeler
Scenic Designer Harlan Penn
Lighting Designer John D. Alexander
Costume Designer Reggie Ray +
Sound Designer Marcus Darnely
Properties Designer Kevin Laughon
Original Music Kris Bowers
Assistant Costumer Luqman Salim
Production Manager Bree Sherry
Assistant Stage Manager Sideeq Heard
Set Construction Harlan Penn
Master Electrician Rob Fabrizio
Light Board Operator Ryan Swain
+ Denotes member, United Scenic Artists
To engage with our immediate neighbors in Anacostia, especially local families to participate in a discussion about family.
We opened the show with five Radical Hospitality performances, inviting our audience to pay what they wished in order to see the performances.
We initiated a partnership with Calvary Women’s Services on Good Hope Road. For four weeks, Katie (Director of Education and Outreach) met with a group of 12-15 women, 95% of whom had never seen a play. They read Broke-ology aloud, taking turns playing the four parts, and discussed the play from a literary and sociological standpoint. The discussion ranged from character breakdowns to the responsibility of African American playwrights to the wider black community. The group then attended an evening performance of Broke-ology and spoke with the cast and artistic team about the experience of watching the piece after studying it for a month.
“I liked the father. Everyone knows someone like him coming up. He didn’t want to be too dependent on his kids.”
“I thought it was awesome! I liked how the boys interacted with the father. I would not have changed a thing!”