From the Mississippi Delta – Review by Marlene S. Gaylinn

This biographical play by Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland takes place during the 1940’s -50’s which gave birth to the civil rights movement and more equal opportunities for black folks to climb the ladder of success. It’s about a young girl “From the Mississippi Delta” who manages to overcome poverty, prejudices, rape, jail etc. and eventually achieves a college education and a professional career.

Three women referred to in the program as “Woman One” (Claudia Logan), “Woman Two” (Tameichia Peterson) and “Woman Three (Erin Margaret Pettigrew”) narrate and act out the playwright’s experiences. Along this life’s journey through 2 Acts and 11 scenes, they play young, old, black and white women and men identified by the flick of a scarf and a tip of a hat.

If you can decipher rapid-firing, colloquial accents and follow the quick-paced scenes, directed by Goldie E. Patrick, you may realize that “Woman One,” who takes in wash and delivers the poor folk’s black and babies, represents the playwright’s real mother. She goes by the odd name of “Aint Baby.” “Woman Two,” is “Phelia,” her daughter (Playwright Holland). I assume that “Woman Three” is “everyone else” in the author’s life.

While the huge, barnlike, interior set by Jason Ardizzone-West is very impressive, it does not represent the typical, “shot-gun” house in Mississippi. Heidi Hanson’s Thrift Store costumes are appropriate however, they clash with new-looking designer shoes and boots.

Despite its flaws, the acting, singing and dancing is superb, the message inspiring, and Westport’s Sunday Matinee audience gave everyone a standing ovation.

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