Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Hair Chronicles’ by Veronique MacCrae

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Thought-provoking, probing and deeply personal, The Hair Chronicles, written by Nileah Bell, Mary Nyingi and Michelle Whittaker is based on the real event of the playwrights’ search for a paper topic for a graduate class. Throughout their conversation and great procrastination, the discussion of hair occurs in which the women realize how prevalent hair is as an indicator and dictator of identity in various cultures. From the perspective of women of color (Black, African and Bi-racial(black/Indian), Director Nicole Brewer uses a blend of mixed media and a unique style of blocking that incorporates scenes, moments of asides for private thoughts and the breaking of the fourth wall, in order to invite the audience on the personal and sacred journey of each character.

Ben de Quadros-Wander and Brandon Henderson’s simple yet appropriate set design of a library study room containing one long table with chairs flanked by two small bookcases provides the perfect setting. Actresses Courtney Ferguson (African girl), Te’La Curtis Lee (mixed girl) and  Narlyia Sterling. (black girl) use this study room to embark upon the retelling of childhood stories, growing pains, joys and current issues that are associated with hair and its connection to self-worth, pride and identity. The ensemble did a good job portraying these stories and as they continue to connect their own experiences with those of the characters, the impact of their performances will enhance. However, Courtney Ferguson gave an outstanding and profoundly moving performance. Her multi-layered performance allowed us to empathize with her story and draw on our own struggles with identity related to aesthetics. Ms. Ferguson is definitely a powerhouse star on the rise.

While there were some issues with pacing and the need for minor script revisions in order to provide a better flow for stage production, The Hair Chronicles is a piece that has the potential to be a powerful staple in theatre for social change. It is a piece that can push our culture to take a serious look at how aesthetics and beauty shape the mindset and identity of people.

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Veronique MacRae
Veronique LaShell MacRae is the Founder and Artistic Director of Act Trinity Performing Arts Company (THE ATPAC) based in North Carolina. A graduate of North Carolina Central University with a B.A. in Theatre Performance and Duke University with a Master of Arts in Christian Studies, Veronique’s most recent credits include the one-woman show “Self-Portrait of a Sinner”, excerpts from the one-woman show “Last Words to Baby Girl”, the lead in the Lamb to a Lion production of “Love, Life and Redemption in NYC”; playwright and director of the following shows: “Broken”, “My Brother David”, “Chocolate/Vanilla” (Off-Broadway and Tour); Sue Ellen in “Spreading the News” by Melodic Pictures of Los Angeles and background work in “Law and Order”. New to the Washington, DC area, Veronique will continue advanced studies on arts and theology in the fall of 2012. She looks forward to connecting with other artists and lovers of the arts during the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival.

1 COMMENT

  1. I wanted to thank you for the wonderful review on the DC Metro Theater Arts. We’re so honored that you enjoyed the show and gave us such as gracious review

    However, I did want to clarify one small thing. The set design was done by the Technical Director, Sawyer Stroud, and the Director, Nicole Brewer. We were not clear in our program and mislabeled our logo designers, Ben de Quadros-Wander and Brandon Henderson. While I know that you might not be able to change your review, I did want to clarify this point and give credit where credit is due.

    Thank you again for your glowing review. I wanted to thank you for the wonderful review on the DC Metro Theater Arts. We’re so honored that you enjoyed the show and gave us such as gracious review

    However, I did want to clarify one small thing. The set design was done by the Technical Director, Sawyer Stroud, and the Director, Nicole Brewer. We were not clear in our program and mislabeled our logo designers, Ben de Quadros-Wander and Brandon Henderson. While I know that you might not be able to change your review, I did want to clarify this point and give credit where credit is due.

    Thank you again for your glowing review.

Comments are closed.