The World Premiere of Rhett Rossi's "From Red to Black" gives us a police drama with twists and turns. There has been a death on the subway tracks in New York City. The two suspects rounded up are young black men. The two police inspectors are Irish, one a thirty year veteran and one younger and greener.
But the story is not about them. It is instead a study about how preconceived notions of race, of class, of guilt and of innocence can lead different people to different conclusions. Once we meet William (Isiah Thompson), we understand this young man and these two detectives do not inhabit the same universe.
William is the heart of this story, but equally important is a smaller but crucial role played by Michael Shipley. Shipley's Lawrence Stevens adds sexual identity into the mix. What really happened in the subway station in the middle of the night is hard enough to decipher without everyone's notions about what others expect of them. Each of these characters is trapped inside a stereotype and none see a way out.
Susi Damilano's direction is sharp but the show might play a little long. This may be because the actors on Opening Night had a little trouble with their lines. It is clear that SF Playhouse has found an engaging show from another excellent new writer.
RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ !
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "From Red to Black" Three Stars with an Exclamation Point! The show is Isiah Thompson's to steal and he does so. The one-act 90-minute format is perfect. Don't let the false ending fool you -- the best is still to come.
"From Red to Black"
San Francisco Playhouse Sandbox Series
ACT Costume Shop
1119 Market Street, San Francisco
Wed.-Sat. Through August 30