Review: 'Carlyle' Creates Stir At Goodman Theatre's New Stages Festival


UPDATE 9/18/15:
Carlyle will premiere at the end of Goodman's 15/16 season. (April 2- May 1, 2016)


What you can expect is a show about a black male's journey through the 1980s and 1990s as he searches for his political identity. Carlyle is a show with awkward laughs but major punchlines that will get you thinking.

Don't expect the same actors. (Usually, actors from the staged production find other work by the time the show officially opens.)  If I could cast this project, I would choose actors like Church Lockett (Gill Hayes Talent) or Anthony Irons and Antoine McKay (Stewart Talent). 

One of my top choices for "Carlyle" would be Goodman favorite Tosin Morohunfola (who appeared in Pullman Porter Blues in 2013). 

Please excuse my poorly done review from last year. I let an audience member get under my skin. 

While Nik Wallenda completed his tight rope stunt on "Skyscraper Live" last night, one playwright's work treaded upon the emotions of a live studio audience just a few blocks away. 

"Carlyle" (written by Thomas Bradshaw) is one of three main productions in Goodman Theatre's New Stages festival. Brilliantly casted by Adam Belcuore, the play is centered around Carlyle (James Earl Jones II) as he tries to find his true identity as a "Black Republican" in a world where neither Democrats or Republicans truly accept him. 

I don't want to spoil the plot or ruin the jokes. The best way to enjoy any creative work is to tune out critiques and view it with your own eyes. But I will say that the performance will leave you with questions. 

After each performance, there is a post-show discussion. Last night, the most disturbing moment came when an audience member-- a white man-- said that he felt that black men in the audience should feel offended by the content of the play. Immediately, I gave a rebuttal saying that no one can speak for any group of people. The man instantly shrugged off my rebuttal as if I had said nothing.

Moments later, an elderly African-American gentleman applauded the other man's rude behavior as they walked past me. 

It was a real-life ending which made the lesson of the play resonate more with me. 

But I won't let the man's rudeness get me down. 

Whose opinion are reading right now: his or mine? 

[Enjoy the show!]

Zack's TV Review: Recommended. 3 out of 4 Stars. 

"Carlyle" runs until Sunday, November 16. Click here for the free tickets.
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