This play is introduced with a Frederico Garcia Lorca quote, “A play is a poem standing up.” That would have come off as pretentious if the text hadn’t absolutely lived up to that assertion. …And Jesus Moonwalks The Mississippi is not poetic in the traditional sense, but the sometimes disjointed, pure emotion sense of poetry is in this play and wrought with a tremendous sense of humor in spite of the sad historic themes.
Most griot, wise mammy, rhythmic, highly devised, look at these deep, cultural BLACK ROOTS!!! types of storytelling make me want to run from whatever venue they are being presented in. There is an element of that here presented without irony and with a seriousness I would be tempted to resist as a director, but it works. There’s no fable here. There is the kind of story that was probably all too true at the end of the Civil War, told with a ‘mysticism’ that is delivered by black characters but is no kookier than anyone else’s idea of ‘holy’ and the result is a showcase of how absurd the whole mess was, and how deep those wounds still are. In a theatre it would be hard for me to make it through the first 10 minutes or so, but it would be well worth it.
Cast: 9 4W 3M 2 unspecified Run Time: 63 pp. 80 minutes? Themes: traditional African American storytelling, slavery, slave children born of the master, American Civil War, death and rebirth, freedom.