The Weekend Theatre’s latest production is Marlin T. Tazewell’s Ain’t NothingBut a Thang. The production opened last weekend and continues this weekend and next. Performances are at 7:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Tickets are $16 for general admission, and $12 for students and seniors age 65 and older. Tickets can be purchased at www.weekendtheater.org or, based on availability, at the door. For information only, call 501-374-3761.
Director Liz Clarke was searching for a modern play to submit for Black History Month when she found Tazewell’s script last year and was intrigued by the story line. And once she read it, she was convinced it was something she wanted to direct.
Winner of the 1999 National AIDS Fund/CFDA-Vogue Initiative Playwriting Award, this gripping drama is the story of one black family struggling to survive, and remembering that each new curve life throws them “ain’t nothing but a thang” with which all of them must deal.
“The main theme of the play revolves around the decisions we make and the end result of these decisions. There is no ‘bad guy’ in this play,” Clarke says.
Rachel (Kelani Campbell), the mother of the family, struggles with drug use and thoughts that she isn’t good enough, hasn’t done enough, and isn’t loved by her kids. Oldest son Matt (Marquis Bullock) left home to pursue a college degree and better himself; he loves his family, but can’t allow himself to be drawn back in to their drama, no matter how guilty he feels about leaving. Middle son Kintai (Micheal Lowe), styles himself as a “dealer in higher plains of existence” – that is, a dope dealer. The youngest, 14-year-old Amber (Jess Carson), has been promiscuous and because of that, has contracted HIV, and just wants to know if someone cares if she lives or dies.
Also in the Fazes family orbit are Sara (Wendy Darr) Amber’s best friend, and Caveman (Justin Pike), a pal to Matt and Kintai.
And as the drama unfolds, the choices are … not so easy, really. “This play is not black or white – it is muddied shades of gray,” Clarke says. “Everyone in ‘Ain’t Nothing But a Thang’ is presented with a fork in the road and it’s their choice as to which road to take. “