Blackberry Daze – A Story of Love, Seduction and Triumph
“Blackberry Days of Summer,” the 2012 novel by Ruth P. Watson is now a musical, “Blackberry Daze.” Full of bluesy tunes and twisty storytelling, “Blackberry Daze” takes place during the Great War era in countryside Virginia. The musical details the lives of three women and their relationships with the same loathsome man, Herman Camm (played by TC Carson of Living Single fame). The play runs through October 9 at MetroStage in Alexandria, VA.
The three women, Blues singer Pearl Brown (Yvette Spears), Camm’s wife Mae Lou Parker (Roz White), and Parker’s adopted daughter Carrie (Ayana Reed), deal with the death of Camm while more than a dozen songs and dancing quilt the rich story of the characters’ lives together.“
I want the community to be entertained but also enlightened about life for most people and how we have redemption for what we do,” shared Ruth Watson during the opening weekend. “I want them to leave with a sense of hope and a song in their hearts.”
A solid premiere, the musical is well done with memorable dance moves and sultry songs that will stay in the minds of attendees for days. Blackberry Daze walks candidly alongside our thoughts and into the living rooms of our own families, uncovering love and tragedy, as well as tears that come from both joy and pain. This is a musical all adults will enjoy!
While the singing is largely upbeat and the dancing elicits foot tapping of your own, be forewarned this is no musical for the kids. Though humor is in abundance, much of the subject matter is no laughing matter. From alcohol abuse to rapacious child rape, the story opens audience members up, without attempting closure or pausing to process. The transition back to dancing was difficult.
Carolyn Griffin, producing artistic director, said her goal for the past 33 years has been to bring audiences together to experience these important stories. “We’re thrilled to have this performance and we do a lot of African-American premieres as well. It helps us all be less divisive when we can experience things together.”
And what an experience! Go together with friends, dress up, and enjoy the journey. For more information, please visit http://www.metrostage.org.
Blackberry Daze by Ruth P. Watson and Thomas W. Jones II. Music – William Knowles, Director and choreographer – Thomas W. Jones II, Set design – Carl Gudenius and Shuxing Fan, Projection Design – Robbie Hayes, Costume design – Sigridur Johannesdottir, Lighting – Alexander Keen, Sound design: -Gordon Nimmo-Smith, Production stage manager – David Elias. (Photo credit Chris Banks)