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Sep 18th

Penumbra Theatre: Sleep Deprivation Chamber Review

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courtroom42556The perils of being reawakened to our society; that’s the central theme surrounding Penumbra Theatre’s new production entitled “The Sleep Deprivation Chamber.” A piece written by mother and son team, Adam P and Adrienne Kennedy, who from a real life incident of being intertwined with the unjust judicial system, birthed a story that resonates a pain that many African American’s know all too well, as we continue to maneuver through an openly broken society.

Lucas Bellamy, stars as Teddy, an enterprising young man, with a promising future ahead of him, who when on his way home from an afternoon jaunt, is met at the end of his driveway by an angry white policeman, a night stick, and a brutal beating.

Plagued by racism in his own backyard, Teddy is carried off to jail, broken and battered, to later learn that his initial charge and the motive behind his unwarranted lashing, is that of having assaulted his arresting officer; a crime that never occurred before or after his battering.

His mother Suzanne, played by Indira Addington, struggles to find sleep, as her eyes are newly opened to the prison fate her son may have to suffer after being wrongly accused and punished for being a Black Man in this America.

Locked in an esoteric chamber of sleepless nights, faltered memories, and the remains of endless letters to members of Congress searching for support for her son Teddy, Suzanne struggles to keep it altogether, and remain hopeful that justice is possible inside of an unjust world.

lucas117Penumbra Theater has always been a place where being wowed by the talent in a production, is always second to the rich messages behind each storyline. In keeping with this tradition of presenting an eye opening plot, SDC challenges audiences to not only gravitate towards the abstract nature of the actors, but at the same time awaken their conscious to the reality within the characters plight.

Apart from the acting on stage, the actors are joined by three screens that hover in the backdrop to project the mood, memories, and the paralysis of Suzanne and Teddy’s sleep deprived minds.

The piece is heavy in nature, and an emotional crossing between recherché art and life’s unfortunate circumstances. Although at times the pacing is hard on the conscious, Penumbra knocks one out the park when it comes to challenging us to open our eyes to one of the many infractions on civil rights for African American’s.

Directed by Robbie McCauley, and also starring Terry Bellamy, Heidi Bakke, and the incomparable Stephen Cartmell as Teddy’s lawyer, the play runs from now until October 10th.

For more information please visit: www.penumbratheatre.org or call 651-224-3180.
Tickets are $10 - $38. Penumbra Theatre Company is located at 270 N. Kent Street in St. Paul, MN.
 

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