Aired on KSDS-FM on 3/31/18
RUN DATES: 3/23/18 – 5/25/18
VENUE: Cygnet Theatre
Rap is all about agility and facility with words. Using it to stunning effect, to punctuate his world premiere, “The Wind and the Breeze,” award-winning playwright Nathan Alan Davis makes it clear that he’s punch-drunk on language.
Sam is the fulcrum of the piece. Everyone in his small African American family-by-choice pivots around him. But he’s rooted to one spot—a lawn-chair on the State Street Bridge in Rockford, Illinois. He first saw fireworks there with his father, who said, “Don’t move,” and he’s taken that to heart. It’s February, but he’s waiting for the 4th of July, to see “the sky explode” again.
In his little world, Sam is a legend, a prophet, a hero. As a rap master-poet, he can “rhyme with the best of them.” But he’s stuck in his past; he’s lost his mojo. His friends snag a long-desired studio recording session in Atlanta, and beg him to come along, but he stays in place.
Every one of these colorful characters is at an existential crossroads, Sam most of all, and each of them tries to pull him out of his funk and help him re-think his life.
The push-pull of change and patience courses through this provocative, extraordinary play, which is about friendship, love and acceptance of who you are and where you’re going. At the enigmatic ending, we’re not sure what Sam will do, but change is gonna come.
For six years, Cygnet Theatre associate artistic director Rob Lutfy has been with this slice-of-life drama, and he’s made it a wonderful, aching experience.
His cast is outstanding, and they nimbly handle the gorgeous metaphorical language. The design is superb, with its beautifully lit skyline and bridge, underscored with textural, contextual sound.
Once again, Lutfy has brought an unusual play to Cygnet and made it sing. He’s one of the finest directors in town, taking risks and enticing the audience to accompany him—to places they wouldn’t imagine they’d go. As one character puts it, in a question that could apply to theater, or life: “Why not turn on all the lights in your house?”
©2018 PAT LAUNER, San Diego Theater Reviews