The Wooster Group presents this piece based on performer Eric Berryman’s interest in the LP, 'Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons,' recorded in 1964 by folklorist Bruce Jackson. More…
The LP features work songs, blues, spirituals, preaching, and toasts performed by a group of inmates in Texas’ then-segregated agricultural prison farms. Mr. Berryman plays the album and transmits the material live, by channeling, via an in-ear receiver, the voices of the men on the record.
See it if 3 performers precisely use vocals & gestures to bring an album of work songs to life. Transports you to that time & place. Amazing.
Don't see it if You don't want to relate to prison slave laborers in the deep south. You don't like blues music. You want a traditional narrative.
See it if Despite the inherent static quality of the drama, the evening proves to be very moving & poignant Berryman's 'labor of love' opens hearts
Don't see it if Wooster Group's hard-edged, high tech style not an easy fit for material, Valk's hands off staging & Berryman's performance soften edges
See it if You enjoy spirituals & folk music even if unfamiliar, learning how Negro prisoners endured conditions, see how an actor developed this show
Don't see it if You don’t like plotless, short shows or all-singing, particularly to a record, very little action or limited set
See it if 3 actors/singers channeling the music & soul of Black prisoners serving hard labor in 1960's Texas. Powerful, moving, haunting, absorbing.
Don't see it if you prefer verbal storytelling comprised of a beginning, middle and end. Here, the singing and the songs tell the story. Beautifully done.
See it if you like unusual theatrical experiences - 3 performers sing along to a record (only their voices are heard) of work songs/spirituals/blues*
Don't see it if you don't like minimalist sets or nontraditional theater; want flash and happy
See it if A totally absorbing appreciation of a sad era of American history where dignity is given to those who suffered via musical interpretation.
Don't see it if Elegiac in fact & in effect, there is a necessary slow pace to the hour-long show but it’s not a criticism.
See it if Like a séance channeling the voices of the marginalized (Black laborers in prisons / "slaves") and their harsh and cruel yet faithful lives.
Don't see it if No plot or story. Gets you to empathize with them to bring humanity to the thousands of Black lives that labored for the US economy.
Also Ticket from online rush via TodayTix app for $27.50.
See it if You appreciate vocal, a Capella music. Like American history told evocatively. Want to learn about the Black prisoner experience in Texas..
Don't see it if Need linearity in story-telling. Want a full blown, highly stylized production.
See it if "You've got to hear this album. I'll sing along with some friends. Southern prison work songs. It will move you."
Don't see it if This is not a play. It's a man playing a record and singing along. Slow. But it's as slow as it ought to be.
See it if this is a brief staging of a record of southern black prisoners singing. That's all it is. The voices are deeply evocative.
Don't see it if There is no plot, and very little narrative.
See it if Three talented men sing the words to an old album of black men singing on chain gangs in the south; a brief narrative, lovely music, moving
Don't see it if you want a play or any expansion on the story behind the album or what it means today. They just sing the album. Could've been much more.
See it if you want to be part of a communal listening experience. It takes you inside the minds, songs, & heavy hearts of what these prisoners endured
Don't see it if you want a play with action. It's more like a curated immersion into an recorded album that reveals the history of prison slavery. Not fun.
See it if you're open to various forms of performance. This is a fascinating dive into an album, track-by-track, with live vocalists layering over it.
Don't see it if you're looking for and expecting to see a traditional play or musical. This is not that format, and you'll need to go in with an open mind.
See it if you like experimental theatre...this is like the serious, thoughtful version of Drowsy Chaperon / I enjoyed it very much /you like to think
Don't see it if you're expecting to be "entertained"...this is a work of scholarship, obsession and creativity and ultimately very rewarding
See it if It's 3 people singing the entirety of the album - if you like this sort of music, you'll enjoy it.
Don't see it if It's very good, but other than some minimal video bits, it's just 3 people singing an album. If you want a play, this isn't. It's also short
See it if u want to be moved and shook by the tragedy and resonance of the core material (prison recordings). Sad, maddening, painful, still relevant
Don't see it if u expect theater performance that should build on the core material. It was like karaoke, with minimal A/V embellishments. Dropped the ball.
See it if BLM hits experimental theater! I enjoyed this much more than Early Shaker Spirituals, it's inspiration. If you're open to different theater.
Don't see it if You want a conventional story, but then why go to to St Anns or the Wooster group? . I would have liked a little more context however.
See it if You can sit for 1 hour to watch a great actor sing songs from prisioners in 1964 and fall asleep due to the excess of boredom.
Don't see it if You are looking for to watch a play with a plot.
See it if you want to hear someone do karaoke and show you pictures of his apartment.
Don't see it if you were expecting to hear any stories of the actual prisoners or their lives. These are really just songs with only minor explanation.
See it if You are willing to actively engage with performance
Don't see it if Avant-garde theatre doesn't agree with you
Also What a goddamn finale
See it if you have an open mind to what theatre can be (i.e. not just a play or musical).
Don't see it if you're expecting a plot and story in the traditional sense.