Soho Rep presents Daniel Alexander Jones' new play with music, which marks the return of his stage alter ego: the vivacious Jomama Jones. More…
Comprised of three parts and developed in collaboration with director Will Davis, 'Duat' marries Jones’ long-form solo autobiographical improvisations with his musical work as Jomama Jones. Both an alter ego and an archetype, Jomama is a musical sensation that Jones channels and fully embodies. In this triptych, two halves of a soul hunt through a hall of records; a librarian breaks the seal of a mysterious archive; and a teacher and her class prepare the pageant to end all pageants. 'Duat' conjures a spell of disintegration, transformation, and regeneration through a performance that's a little bit vaudeville, a little bit rock and soul.
"Directed by Will Davis, 'Duat' is a powerful example of the dynamism of collaboration and personal inspiration. Distinctly unique and featuring a young and effervescent ensemble of actors, in 'Duat' Daniel Alexander Jones has created a wonderful homage to his alter-ego and life in the form of a memorable and rousing piece of theater." Full Review
"A luxury of theatrical overabundance. Writer-performer Daniel Alexander Jones and his ’80s soul superstar alter ego Jomama Jones are serving up a kind of gourmet tasting menu—a flight of Joneses, or Jones three ways. Each section in the evening's triptych is in a genre by itself...After many pleasures, we finally move into the piece's most musical sequence and we are stunned by the talents before us...Jones is fully capable of measuring our hearts, but he doesn't. He lightens them instead." Full Review
"'Duat' is a most sincere and ardent confession, delivered with a kaleidoscope of a theatrical magnum opus. Daniel/Jomama Jones does not spend a single moment on stage without being thoroughly captivating. The writing is simply breathtaking...'Duat' certainly promises an experience to be remembered, and moreover, to be pondered upon, as the audience exits with seeds of hope planted in their hearts." Full Review
"There’s something beautifully unapologetic about where 'Duat' goes, conceptually and staging-wise. Its horizons keep broadening, into the cosmic, the metaphysical, and you go with it...This is a show that sprawls all over the place, but does so in a way that embraces the poetry and possibility of failure...'Duat' is fierce, funny and mournful; a sung, sometimes whispered, ode to race, queerness and difference. It profoundly touched me." Full Review
"Up and very coming director Will Davis and Jones are a good match. Together they create a reality/fantasy that surpasses one lifetime...There is not one member in this cast that isn’t extremely talented and all are to be applauded, especially the very young and talented Colimon and Gund-Morrow. But make no mistake: this is Daniel/Jomama Jones' show. There is not a moment on stage that isn’t well thought out and breathtakingly simple. The writing is clear-cut and captivating." Full Review
"The rare theatre production that divides audiences in its label of either insanity or genius, which is what theatre is supposed to do: break boundaries...A layered theatre experience with nuances and symbols that will come off beautiful and intelligent to some viewers, while to others it will be a moot point...'Duat' is a theatre production for the intellectual who likes to uncover the hidden meanings that make the story surpass its telling to become a discussion of morality. " Full Review
"Jones’s hearts-and-flowers-themed exploration of life and what lies beyond. This buoyantly didactic show takes gentle pains to remind us that our next breath could well be our last...This sui generis performance piece has been given a sumptuously homemade production under the direction of Will Davis...The sequence is defiantly unlike either of the other two parts in 'Duat,' yet it is also thoroughly of a piece with them...For Mr. Jones, there’s comfort in eclecticism." Full Review
"'Duat' is a show unlike any other playing in New York...'Duat' brims with ideas, not all of them fully developed. Under the laissez-faire direction of Davis, the piece jumps between Jones' personal narrative to sections about Egyptology and pop divas...A lack of narrative clarity regularly leaves us feeling lost in Jones' expansive spiritual and intellectual kingdom...Still, the enchantment of discovering a world so big and unexplained is a feeling one rarely encounters outside of childhood." Full Review
"Having worked hard, and effectively, to establish a certain mood in Act I, Jones executes a sharp left turn, dragging the show into someplace altogether different...Where did the poetry go? If the director, Will Davis, can't reconcile the show's opposing halves, he has cast the production well and maintains a warm, affable feeling throughout...There are many, many fine things in 'Duat' but, as it stands, they are in need of sorting out." Full Review
"'Duat' is a complicated piece whose ideas are too big to work onstage. One gets the sense that Jones and his director didn’t want to leave anything out of this overstuffed production...Jones has a scholar’s love of black art, but everything gets further confused in the second part of the show...In 'Duat,' Jones is dramaturgically at war with his most inspired creation, one that benefits from the freedom of his imagination, not from the limitations of his 'truth.'" Full Review
"Its high concept is American avant-garde art...The goal of these themes to connect, however, was a fail, resulting in the opposite: a play that couldn’t make up its mind about what it wanted to be, with no apparent arc, no journey, and nothing new to say...To his credit, the cast of talented performers gave Jones and director Will Davis, who helped develop the piece, 100 percent...'Duat' ends up feeling like a self-indulgent piece that needs to go back to the drawing board." Full Review
"Attractively designed by Arnulfo Maldonado (sets), Oana Botez (costumes), and lights (Solomon Weisbard), and uniformly well performed, ‘Duat’ is the kind of thing Soho Rep has been doing for years. Aficionados of this strain of downtown theatre may flock to it, but, while appreciating bits and pieces, and even laughing now and then, this viewer often longed for a Rosetta Stone to decipher that Jones boy's artistic hieroglyphics." Full Review
See it if You want to be completely immersed in a play you know absolutely nothing about. If you like long discussions on "what just happened??"
Don't see it if You prefer straight forward storylines and if you don't like themes around racism and homosexuality.
See it if U like experiments in form, beautifully crafted language, great music, and overall ingenious theatricality
Don't see it if U dont like the above likes or having transcendental moments in the theatre! Just do urself a favor and see this!!
See it if You are interested in a highly original and moving presentation of a mixed-race and homosexual childhood.
Don't see it if You are looking for a linear plot or are uncomfortable with depictions of homosexuality or racial tensions.
See it if you are interested in issues of identity. You enjoy non-linear, thought-provoking theater.
Don't see it if You are uncomfortable exploring various forms of identity including race, gender, and sexuality.
See it if you like original productions with a cast that works hard to deliver entertainment with meaning.
Don't see it if you purely want to be entertained as this material is well thought out.
See it if you like both the introspective storytelling staring a queer person of color of the first act and the spectacle of the last
Don't see it if you want the storyline to even resemble something linear
See it if you are open to theatrical surprises. The first act is completely unlike the second. Both acts have beautiful singing and poetic writing.
Don't see it if continuity is important to your theatrical experience. There are three deeply varied and only normally connected sections.
See it if you like hearing from queer, non-white voices, if you enjoy compelling performances, or if you like being a little out of your comfort zone.
Don't see it if you want your story to be completely resolved or if you don't like the breaking of the fourth wall or interaction with performers.
See it if your looking for the downtown theatre experience. Theatre that is cleverly written, creative but challenges the traditional narrative.
Don't see it if If your not comfortable with the gay-themed stories, musically heavy or a text-heavy production.
See it if The first section is thought-provoking if long with some great talent, the second difficult to understand the vocals, and the final piece...
Don't see it if ...is not nearly as good. Becomes campy and predictable and possibly decent songs are lost in the less successful and tiresome acting.
See it if you enjoy autobiographical shows, want to see some talented young performers singing.
Don't see it if you want to see a coherent show, lived through the 60s, 70s and 80s yourself, dislike navel grazing.
See it if You have a thing for sentimental growing up homosexual (rather than queer or gay) stories and some fine young performers.
Don't see it if You are not a fan of honeyed music, mannered presentation, a sincere and earnest aesthetic.
See it if you're game for an adventurous, deeply moving & deeply felt portrait of queer becoming; if you want to catch superstar-to-be Jacques Colimon
Don't see it if you need plot; if you have no interest in layered stories shared in elliptical & contemplative ways; if you don't know from 70s/80s kidstv
See it if You're game for a non-linear narrative...a fantasia on race and sexuality that is lyrical, poetic, exciting and sorta verges on overwrought.
Don't see it if You want an easy, not particularly challenging evening out at the theater. This is heady and dynamic and overblown in a sometimes good way.
See it if Jones is a charismatic and eloquent guide through a funhouse autobiographical cabaret. Messy, mysterious, frustrating and charming
Don't see it if There isn't much by way of drama, so maybe skip if that's important to your enjoyment.
See it if You're up for a well acted though uneven meditation on self and sexual identity, time and transformation, with a great musical score.
Don't see it if You don't have patience for 3 acts; need a linear & structured plot; have no interest in gender issues or don't appreciate drag.
See it if Act II has Jones dress in drag as his inspiring teacher. Group songs/dances and poignant. Tells his younger self to be who he is.
Don't see it if Act I drags (1 hour monologue), but stick around since Act II is very entertaining. Show runs 2 hours 15 minutes.
See it if you want to engage in a conversation with your theatre-going companions about this play. Very interesting elements.
Don't see it if you need a linear structure in your plays. Also, if you don't want to think.
See it if You don't mind seeing a stripped-down (almost bare) First Act with a few extra-long monologues.
Don't see it if You're uncomfortable with Gay-Male Themes, or A History of Black Men: Starting with Egyptians, and ending with a Man & an Older Boy Kissing.
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