As far as “one man” plays go, I thought April Armstrong’s Lady Day and Hugh Jackman’s Back on Broadway were as good as it gets – that was until I had the distinct pleasure of attending a press screening of Any1Man last week.
Let me tell you, poet and actor George A. Peters II did not disappoint. Peters’ grasp of common issues that affect every man through the eyes of seven men of varying ages was raw, politically charged and easily identifiable by men and women alike. From a pre-pubescent boy coping with fear and a young man unable to respect women because he lacks respect for his own mother to a homeless man extoling his reality and clutching to his sanity and an homage to Trayvon Martin on the night that changed his life forever, Peters portrayed each character with a panache that allowed the audience to glimpse – if ever so briefly – into the Black male psyche. Not since Malik Yoba’s, Shop Talk: What’s on the Hearts of Men has a man’s thoughts, words and deeds been examined so closely and carefully.
My personal favorites were the depictions of biblical Adam, a lonely man who yearned for companionship and paid the price in the end, and Wesley, a gay artist desperately trying to be seen for whom he is – not what he is. In a society that is obsessed with the Black woman and her problems, fears and needs, it was refreshing to see what our male counterparts experience and shoulder day in and day out. “The images of Black men continue to be defined by ugly statistics with our stories being told by polarizing news outlets that seek to paint us with the very same brush,” says Peters. “In actuality, it is the uniqueness of our individual struggles that make us beautiful and paints the true picture of Black manhood,” he concluded.
Any1Man is in its ninth run and back in NYC. The 2012 revival opens Thursday, May 17th – 20th for five performances. All performances are in East Harlem at The Poet’s Den Gallery and Theater. I hope you enjoy it as much as the Beyond Black Beauty ladies and I did.
Source: Real Hamilton Romeo