”BROKE-OLOGY” A STUDY IN SURVIVAL OF LIFE’S JOYS AND PAINS

BONNIE GOLDBERG

If you can remember back far enough to when records were vinyl and often got stuck in a groove, playing the same notes over and over again until you lifted the needle to reset it, you can imagine what it must be like if your life were like that record.  Frustrating doesn’t even begin to touch the feelings.  The King family may have a regal sounding name but their existence is clearly of peasant stock.

Living in a ghetto neighborhood with other African-American households struggling to make a living, the Kings had thought their apartment, detailed realistically by Luke Hegel-Cantarella, was a stepping stone, part of a five year plan until they could move to a better Kansas City, Kansas address.  Until Sunday, October 24, the Kings will be calling TheaterWorks at 233 Pearl Street, Hartford their temporary residence as they present the emotionally riveting comedy/drama “Broke-ology” by Nathan Louis Jackson, with taut direction by Tazewell Thompson.

The family has suffered the loss of Sonia, (Gina Daniels) mother to two sons Ennis and Malcolm, wife to William, fifteen years before, but her absence is still poignantly real.  She dances into William’s (Frank Faucette) memory as he tries to cope with the muscular dystrophy that is robbing his vision, movement, memory and quality of life.

Son Ennis (Royce Johnson) is locked into a dead end job at a local chicken restaurant as he anxiously awaits the birth of his first child.  His wife Tammy’s maternal needs have made him irritable and short of temper.  Add to that his worries about his father’s health and his brother Malcolm’s (David Pegram) prospects of moving to Connecticut for a teaching career and you have a volcano close to eruption.

Ennis believes Malcolm’s loyalties reside at the King home and he resents the “escape” from family responsibility Malcolm may be planning.  While both boys are bright, only Malcolm has hopes of achieving his dreams.

For tickets ($39-61), call TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford at 860-527-7838 or online at www.theaterworkshartford.org.  Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and weekend matinees at 2:30 p.m.

Come a little early and see the fascinating display of quilts by Sasha Wahl in the art gallery upstairs.

 

Let Ennis introduce you to broke-ology, his science of the study of being broke, of which he is an expert, and then stick around for a lively game of dominoes and a dance to a tune by the Temptations.

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