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Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Intelligent
7 reviews
42 reviews

New Federal Theatre and Castillo Theatre bring back this solo show about a black man who exists in five dimensions of the same universe at different points in American history.

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'Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green' is a collection of five monologues, all highlighting different parts of African-American history through the eyes of one man. In each of his incarnations—minstrel, cult leader, FBI informant, struggling actor, out-of-work mortgage broker—Abel finds himself stuck somewhere between the American dream and the American nightmare.


Cast & Creatives (5)

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To see or not to see (0)

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Reviews (49)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Woman Around Town

“Craft has written a meditation on the consequences of how we treat our fellow man. He’s done this subtly...Each parable manifests a pithy situation with imagination and context...A thoughtful and dramatic entertainment one can enjoy at many levels...Nicholson acts, sings, dances, and plays percussion with talent and focus...Director Megel steers his thespian with a sure and sensitive hand...Only the protagonist’s literally whirling into each incarnation seems off.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

“The most captivating one man show I’ve ever seen... A poetic and poignant theatrical experience...Craft builds an incredible narrative with each poetic word. His writing is absolutely perfect..Megel’s direction highlights every poetic moment using every theatrical element available to him... J. Alphonse Nicholson is incredible...It feels rare to me that stories are thematically crafted in such a way that stirs spirit and shifts consciousness. ‘Freight’ is one such story.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“A powerful production...Frighteningly relevant...This iteration of ‘Freight’ captures the essence of its predecessor while expanding (and improving) upon it. Nicholson gives a tour de force performance...I wanted to see more from the female characters and to have more variety among the women...Craft's script never stints, however, on its unflinching look at racism, and the strategies Abel adapts to survive. In all, this is a timely and timeless theatrical journey.” Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production "This rich and thoughtful solo play is most concerned with intimate self-examination: how to be good to one another within black culture, when the larger culture rewards complicity...Mr. Nicholson transforms from one Abel to the next in front of us, and though he doesn’t quite get his arms around the faith healer, he makes the others distinct and entertaining, each a smart man with the charm to hold a room and the capacity to savor memories of past pleasures." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

for a previous production "Nothing in this 90 minutes is overly flashy, or exceptionally funny, or terribly moving, but it is genuine. It sets out to tell a story, and it tells one. One that may as well be five, or 500, or 5 million. One just as relevant today as yesterday...and even more so tomorrow." Full Review

Village Voice

for a previous production "You'll find yourself surprised and moved by the stories of struggle collected in Howard L. Craft's incisive one-man play. Directed by Joseph Megel and expertly performed by J. Alphonse Nicholson, 'Freight' captures big historical truths in personal, idiosyncratic tales...Craft's meditation on race in America is clearly timely; what's surprising here is his light touch. Humor and song leaven the evening, and a surreal ending offers an escape from Green's troubled world." Full Review

Stage Buddy

for a previous production "The story and Abel’s experience would resonate on a much deeper level if some of the text were replaced with more of these visually-powerful moments that are created using other theatrical conventions than the spoken word. The play is dialogue heavy and a bit thin when it comes to theatricality, save for the beautiful transitions." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound

See it if You want to see a takented actor take on 5 different roles in an intimate setting theatre. So talented.

Don't see it if You don't like monologues, single actor portraying differnt people, expect to see elaborate sets, don't care for social issues.

Great direction & staging, Commit-to-the-role(s) master-class, Deeply thought-provoking, Riveting / intense / absorbing, Refreshingly intelligent script

See it if you want to experience a masterful 105min 5-monologue piece of non-stop high-energy one-man showmanship. Stunning performance & commitment.

Don't see it if you can't handle the above. He's on-stage for the duration: 5 diff roles, full costume-changes, w/nary a void, pause, or misplaced breath.

Also An excellent night of intelligent theater!... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Great writing

See it if Excellent solo performance in five acts representing different periods in history relating to the life of a black man. A must see!

Don't see it if Do not see if you prefer light musicals or simple dramas. Do not see if you do not enjoy solo performances.

Epic, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if Man acts out of ignorance, then sees truth and loses his innocence in each of five eras. Great storytelling, both personal and historical.

Don't see it if You are not interested in different historical settings connected by universal human themes. You don’t like intimate one man shows.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound

See it if you want to be enraptured by a brilliant actor and a mesmerizing script with Nicholson a knockout in this 1 hander about the black journey

Don't see it if the idea of time travel or reincarnation through various epochs of black history is not your cup. Same characters appear in many guises.

Also This is an a clever and thought provoking production, mesmerizing to w... Read more Read less

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



Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You want to see an extremely well acted solo show on some of the challenges faced in the African American struggle through five time periods

Don't see it if You don’t like solo shows. The actor here however is outstanding

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if for its originality of using the same characters for different stories relating to certain time periods and events

Don't see it if you prefer something brash in lieu of even-tempered

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Must see, Great writing

See it if You like good acting with interesting things affecting Afro-Americans.

Don't see it if If you don’t want to be moved or think.

Clever, Intense, Engaging, Good acting

See it if 1-hander with a twist -- not 5 different characters, but one character 5 ways: how times and circumstances change the person.

Don't see it if Fine performance, but maybe one character too long. Lacked dramatic conflict.

Masterful, Resonant, Extraordinary acting, Fine, fine theater, Thoughtful and thought-provoking

See it if You want to see theatre at its best - nuanced, absorbing, enthralling, genuine. Took my breath away.

Don't see it if Really don't like solo shows. It's a meditation on American black experience, how we treat each other, and the ebb/flow of our decisions.

Also What a wonderful collaboration between director, writer and actor. Nic... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want to see a great performance by an excellent actor on a simple well put together stage.

Don't see it if You don't like a one man show. You don't want to see a great performance. You don't want to be entertained.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see, Riveting

See it if you want to experience a masterful execution of a brilliant script.

Don't see it if you are not ready to pay attention; prefer to see a musical or something light

Also The way J Aphonse Nicholson interacted with the audience was powerful ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Masterful, Profound, Resonant, Great staging

See it if You want to see a masterwork one man show with attendant exceptional writing, acting, directing costume, lighting and stagecraft

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing, Stunning acting

See it if You appreciate bravura acting, historical perspectives of contemporary race issues, and strong writing and theatrical conceit.

Don't see it if You can’t tolerate one-man shows.

Also Timely and provocative, plus I can’t imagine you’ll see too many perfo... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if Extraordinary vivid portrayals by outstanding actor.

Don't see it if Do not like one man shows or are uncomfortable with depictions of injustice.

Great acting, Masterful, Relevant, Riveting, Great writing

See it if you appreciate a powerful one-man performance that takes you through historical periods; if you enjoy up-close dramas.

Don't see it if you're looking for a light evening of theater.

Also This is an amazing performance that shouldn't be missed. You see multi... Read more Read less

Bad for date, but hard to hate

See it if You could review a century of history through a black man's lens. Simple set smart since the play all about time travel. High energy acting.

Don't see it if You mind trekking to 11th Avenue for a one man show. Much easier to justify if not for the inconvenience.

Also One person shows have cluttered the theatrical landscape, rendering au... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you are moved by personal stories, are interested in the black struggle or you would enjoy 5 superbly acted versions of a character's life.

Don't see it if you do not like one-man shows or would not enjoy 5 different versions told within one play.

Great acting, Masterful, Great writing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you appreciate insightful, brilliantly created and executed drama re tensions of wealth/security vs. commitment to principles/friendship.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy one-man vignettes in one 100 min. act with minimal but ingenious set from African American perspective but universal theme.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Must see, Relevant

See it if enjoy historical dramas and want to learn more about the African American experience

Don't see it if You can't sit still for over an hour & a half

Also You won't believe you've been sitting there for almost 2 hours when it... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you want to see a star. This is a fully formed, beautifully prepared piece performed by a consummate performer.

Don't see it if you dont like on man shoes. You are uncomfortable with racial politics.

Also Beautiful movement. Lovely singing. Exuberance. Beautifully modulated ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you enjoy barebone productions that rely on a strong script and a skillful actor. Nicholson's performance in all 5 sketches was top-notch.

Don't see it if you need more than one actor. These fascinating historical stories, tho, share the thread of the difficulty of being a Black male in America

Also Nicholson was truly impressive. He embodies many roles, sings, moves g... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you like history, creative dialog, and great acting.

Don't see it if you expect a high-end Broadway production

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You like well acted one person shows.

Don't see it if Don’t like one person shows and prefer light comedy.