By far the longest stretch of time between seeing shows (on or off Broadway) due to the global pandemic that was (and still is) COVID unequivocally brought a hiatus (an intermission, as it were) to in-person gatherings and interactions since March 2020. Much has happened in the past eighteen months with the shift to remote learning, virtual meetings and physical distancing, and the gradual road to the resumption to the way things were before.
Thoughts of a Colored Man is a new play written by Keenan Scott II that delves into the lives of seven black men throughout the course of a day in contemporary Brooklyn. The play is structured through interwoven scenes among the men, with introspective monologues expounding their viewpoints on life, love and the circumstances in which they find themselves. The set design is sparce yet vibrant, with the use of lighting to heighten the atmosphere. The cast – Dyllon Burnside, Bryan Terrell Clark, Da’Vinchi, Luke James, Forrest McClendon, Esau Pritchett, and Tristan Mack Wilds – is astounding, showcasing several different facets of humanity, to the point that they are not named characters but emotions – Lust, Happiness, Love, Passion, Depression, Anger and Wisdom, all of whom display their designated emotions with clarity and celerity. There is an abstractness to the play that at times, it almost seemed as if the play is not so much about seven different men from different social and economic backgrounds, but is really a one man expressing the thoughts and emotions throughout his lifetime in a metaphoric plane of existence.
I’m very glad that Thoughts of a Colored Man was my first live theatrical show after nearly an eighteen-month hiatus. Poignant, humorous and authentic – it’s an important play that needs to be seen by everyone, regardless of race, gender or political affiliation, that gives a vibrant voice to perspective that is not often heard in the media.