Nova D Arts Collective Offers Intense Story for Urban Theatre Festival

by Walter Bender

Anjoli Santiago and Hasan Malik star in THE BOY WHO SEES, part of the Philadelphia Urban Theatre Festival running at the Adrienne.

Nova D Arts Collective opened a very limited-run production, THE BOY WHO SEES on September 27th. This show is a very raw look at a young single mother with a blind 14-year old son.

Claire Peterson (Anjoli Santiago) is living in a home with her son, working as a waitress, and struggling to make ends meet. Her friend and would-be lover Frank (Langston Darby) assists her financially and helping her with her son, but cannot fully commit to her because he’s married with two children of his own.

Dr. Douglas (Bob Stineman) home schools and counsels James (Brett Gray), but may have ulterior motives in suggesting to Claire that she send James to his boarding school. Add to this David (Hasan Malik), Claire’s ex-boyfriend who may be James’ father, who appears after 14 years to ask Claire to leave her life and join him.

THE BOY WHO SEES is performed in one act, with several scenes depicting a passage of several weeks in time. Interspersed between some of these scenes are looks into the mind of James…recorded thoughts with the Sun/Son (Justin S. M Bryant) performing interpretive dance movements with the introspective James.

The performances in this production are all first-rate. None of the characters are saints, none total sinners, and the cast does a fine job of bringing out the character flaws in each person.There is no hero, no villain, no one to root for…a slice of real family drama. The interplay among all of the characters is very believable, and the emotion raw and exposed. Director Jesimiel R. Jenkins keeps the audience guessing as to what Claire may ultimately decide to do until the very end. The choreography by A. C. Gilmore in the introspective scenes is very good, enhancing the action in the “real” scenes.

THE BOY WHO SEES is part of the Philly Urban Theatre Festival, a three-week showing of predominantly African American theatre companies at the Adrienne Theatre, 2030 Sansom Street. Over the course of the festival, the works of fourteen different playwrights will be on display at the Adrienne, and two of the outstanding productions will receive $1000 awards. Tickets and information are available through  THE BOY WHO SEES closes September 28, 2011, but other productions run through October 9. Hopefully you will find the time to see this stark production, and others from this great addition to the Philadelphia theatre scene.

Playwright – Davon Williams
Director – Jemimiel R. Jenkins
Choreographer – A. C. Gilmore
September 27 & 28, 2011
Nova D Arts Collective
Philly Urban Theatre Festival
Adrienne Theatre
2030 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA

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