“Jean and Dinah…The Play”
It’s Carnival time – Jouvay morning! Yes it’s party time with friends and family and also time to make new memories. Jean stops by her long-term friend, Dinah’s, house so they can party together – just as they’ve done for the past 40 years.
But for these two best friends, things don’t go as planned this year. Dinah and life have wrestled and life is winning. She’s not feeling well, both physically and otherwise.
Early on, playwright Tony Hall’s Jean and Dinah… the Play by the Essential Theatre works to create chemistry between Jean and Dinah – and succeeds. Jean and Dinah’s interaction is magical and will captivate you from the very beginning. These two best friends argue like married couples to the point where its hard to see the friendship at times, but that is just part of what makes it special.
Their quick banter conjures thoughts of the closest of friends and their language is lined with curses that relay as blessings only a loved one could give.
Taking it’s name from the 1950s Calypso king Mighty Sparrow’s, Jean and Dinah (the song) tells the story of Trinidad’s sex workers after WWI when the American military bases closed and the soldiers left. Facing the new reality of what happens after the war is what Jean and Dinah have to both face, while physically less attractive and still aging.
The resulting two-act, two-person comedy-drama takes the audience back into time and into their own lives with joy, laughter, song and even pain, along the way.
The laughter is throughout – much of it humorously self-deprecating and very relative to how we operate in our own lives. The pain … was sprinkled about and served as one of the undertones of the play. The abuse mentioned from both Jean and Dinah was very relevant to the timing of America’s women’s rights and liberation movement. Specifically, you will see (and appreciate) the correlations to the emancipation and forward movement of Black women and women of color as a whole. Other stronger topics include child abandonment, father and mother issues, depression and physical & mental health.
The 2nd Act was very interactive – where the actresses were literally upfront and closer to the audience, making for a funnier and more intimate experience.
Two-person plays are challenging and Tony Hall and the Essential Theatre meets and surpasses the challenge with a ride you’re sure to enjoy. Go see it!
The play’s performance time is slightly over 2 hours and has one 15-minute intermission. Click here for helpful directions to the theatre.
Jean and Dinah – The Play plays through June 18, 2017, at The Essential Theatre performing at the Undercroft Theatre of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church – 900 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call 1-800-838-3006, or purchase them online.