Slow-motion and freeze-frame tableaux are incorporated, while stagehands deliver props and carry placards announcing the arrival of a joke.The second act brings the actors out in black slacks and white blouses to quote literary and political evaluations of "Uncle Tom" by Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin and Woodrow Wilson, among others. Some broadly comic satire accents a reflective study of the pre--Civil War African-American experience.Particularly effective are the slave narratives. From auction block to slave quarters, the insightful monologues, performed by K. Todd Freeman, Noel Robichaux and Stacy Highsmith, are compelling. The latter scores as the impish Topsy, and in Eliza's flight across the Ohio River. The Drama Dept. has found an imaginative way to reignite a relic.

Slow-motion and freeze-frame tableaux are incorporated, while stagehands deliver props and carry placards announcing the arrival of a joke.The second act brings the actors out in black slacks and white blouses to quote literary and political evaluations of “Uncle Tom” by Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin and Woodrow Wilson, among others. Some broadly comic satire accents a reflective study of the pre–Civil War African-American experience.Particularly effective are the slave narratives. From auction block to slave quarters, the insightful monologues, performed by K. Todd Freeman, Noel Robichaux and Stacy Highsmith, are compelling. The latter scores as the impish Topsy, and in Eliza’s flight across the Ohio River. The Drama Dept. has found an imaginative way to reignite a relic.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

New York: Opened Dec. 11, 1997, at Greenwich House Theater.

Production

NEW YORK A Drama Dept. presentation of a play in two acts, based on the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, adapted by Randolph Curtis Rand and Floraine Kay. Directed by Rand.

Creative

Set, Robert Cuellar; costumes, Jonathan C. Bixby, Gregory Gale; lighting, James L. Vermeulen; music and sound, Alexandros; stage manager, Sandra Daley. Artistic director, Douglas Carter Beane. Opened Dec. 11, 1997, at Greenwich House Theater. Reviewed Dec. 7; 99 seats; $ 12 top. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast

Cast: K. Todd Freeman, Stacy Highsmith, Gretchen Krich, Noel Robichaux, David Wheir.As staged by the Drama Dept., "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is a curious and often compelling observation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1851 antique. A skillful cast of five actors rapidly switches gender and race in a dizzying and stylistic mosaic that incorporates elements of previous critical observations, essays and dramatizations.Chronology is not always easy to grasp as the fleeting scenes change in tempo and style, virtually demanding an awareness of plot and character beforehand.From minstrel show and vaudeville hokum to old-fashioned melodrama and rhetorical debate, the travails of the saintly slave and the nature of life in the Old South are vividly explored. With numerous characters of all types, including slave owners, sadistic slave hunters, Southern belles and politicians, actors not only double and triple but very often turn up in roles previously played by another. Thankfully, the role is often identified by an offstage narrator.Director and co-adapter Randolph Curtis Rand has staged the 22 scenes with lightning fluency, playing with time and locales.
Set, Robert Cuellar; costumes, Jonathan C. Bixby, Gregory Gale; lighting, James L. Vermeulen; music and sound, Alexandros; stage manager, Sandra Daley. Artistic director, Douglas Carter Beane. Opened Dec. 11, 1997, at Greenwich House Theater. Reviewed Dec. 7; 99 seats; $12 top. Running time: 2 HOURS.
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