Already closed | 2h 30m | Brooklyn

A Small Oak Tree Runs Red

From 21 member  reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Intense, Relevant

About the show

Inspired by the true story of the 1918 lynching rampage that followed the death of plantation owner Hampton Smith, this New York premiere offers an unflinching look at one of the shameful periods in US History.  More…

Shackled, bound, and trapped within someplace between reality and make believe, lies swollen-bellied, bloodied Mary Turner, the accused murderer Sidney Johnson, and the loving husband Hayes Turner. All are haunted by the voices of the mob. Their torture continues even in the afterlife, where Sidney has reluctantly been given the task of forcing Mary to remember the horrible accounts of her lynching so they both can move on. 

2h 30m | Already closed | The Billie Holiday Theatre (Brooklyn)

Member Reviews (21)


Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Intense, Relevant
Avg Score

Banal, Slow, Disappointing, Boring

See it if Topic could be interesting but not with this play

Don't see it if Just skip it ...

Confusing, Great staging, Intense, Ambitious, Relevant

See it if You're interested in the early 20th Century South.

Don't see it if You lose patience with not understanding what's going on.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Exquisite, Great staging, Masterful

See it if You want a surrealistic retelling of an infamous event not often told by brilliant actors in great staging deftly directed.

Don't see it if You want a straightforward history lesson.

Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing, Dizzying, Ambitious

See it if You are interested in a story about lynching in America. Difficult but worthwhile and moving. Great acting.

Don't see it if You are triggered by portrayals of violence, or are not interested in intense stories of black history.

Intense, Profound, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you want a powerful exploration if how little race relations have changed in the last 100 tears.

Don't see it if you're looking for a light-hearted production

Privilege to have been in the theater, Great staging, Relevant, Magnificent performances, Hard truth telling

See it if You are ready to confront the ugly racist truth of Jim Crow so as to make change You want to see an intense & disturbing performance

Don't see it if You want something light or if you are in denial about the nation's racist history and continued systems of racial oppression

Also The plot centers on the horrific lynching of Mary Turner. https://en.w... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy

See it if Very difficult to review this play as it was about a horrific topic.I found the characters somewhat difficult to understand at times but you

Don't see it if if you like a large cast and predictable endings.It was neither.Also stories about lynching which it is about.About America's history.

Also get the drift of the play as it goes on.Very different than most plays... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Edgy, Good acting

See it if You are interested in Black history and are not disturbed with dialogue that describes violent lynching that actually took place

Don't see it if You are not interested in Black history and are disturbed by hearing about lynching

Great staging, Resonant, Must see, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You like historical play and dramatic pieces, moves between reality and the afterlife.

Don't see it if You are bothered by lynching and the negative language of that time.

Entertaining, Edgy, Great writing, Profound

See it if you're into historical truths

Don't see it if the topic of slavery and lynchings makes you cringe.

Confusing, Repetitive, Thought-provoking, Preachy, Indulgent

See it if you want an in-depth exploration of the generational and moral wounds left by America's racist history.

Don't see it if you don't like another purgatory morality play or don't like being confronted with uncomfortable facts about your country.

Intelligent, Profound, Relevant

See it if You are woke. You understand the problems of racism today exist because black voices have been violently silenced for so long.

Don't see it if You aren't ready for the tears to flow over all the innocent lives murdered in our history. Ties in strongly to today's systemic violence.

Also Very glad we went to see this play because it is so, so important to m... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You have an interest in the history of slavery in America.

Don't see it if You are squeamish, as it involves lynching and other disturbing teams surrounding this country’s history of slavery.

Absorbing, Dizzying, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy discussions about a difficult topic and how culture deals with it. great to talk about history its impact and how to not repeat it

Don't see it if you are confused with alternate or dual placements of a story. the history of the moment were absorbing, but

Also the afterlife/purgatory a bit difficult to follow the purpose and reso... Read more Read less

Superb acting, superb staging. this is a must see theatrical production.

See it if you want to be moved in so many directions. The acting and the writing.

Don't see it if You don't want to be reminded of our horrible past in the treatment of black Americans.

Also All the actors are wonderful and riveting. In the beginning one of the... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You like black theater, historical theater, thought provoking theater, & aren’t averse to being shown the shameful parts of American history

Don't see it if You want to feel completely comfortable with your theater, or if you dont like historical theater.

Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Profound, Relevant

See it if you are a fan of thought provocative, timely, emotional theater that forces the audience to think. Great staging and set.

Don't see it if you expect simplistic writing that spoon-feeds meaning to the audience.

Also I wasn't familiar with this company. I look forward to seeing more of ... Read more Read less

Riveting, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if want to see an A+ performance by Yusef Miller. An important story, that starts off puzzling, lends an eerie poeticism,keeps you captivated.

Don't see it if you cant handle tough racial subject matter.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Profound, Intense

See it if You want to know truth

Don't see it if You can't handle the truth

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Masterful, Must see

See it if You're interested in true stories of the history of African-Americans and their lives having no meaning in the early 1900's.

Don't see it if If you are very sensitive to the harsh treatment and hanging death of African-American families including women and babies.


See it if Historical, painful, fantastic acting and a must see for young people in particular.

Don't see it if The painful history of race relations in this country is immaterial to you...

February 16th, 2018
"Flawed and devastating...The script has its problems, and so does the staging — repetition, sermonizing, a blurriness...Still, the play has a forceful, painful impact...The style, before it shifts into didacticism, evokes a nightmare...The play insists that a reckoning with the past will loosen ...
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