Tag Archives: Scott Wesley
The Old Settler at M Ensemble starts off like a TV sitcom featuring witty banter between sisters living in 1943 Harlem. But slowly, characters start referencing race, sex, age, loneliness and family baggage until anger and tears produce a moving tale that qualifies as more than a soap opera and falls a bit short of August Wilson territory.
The dominating vision of The Tree and its dark violent past is a theatrical masterstroke from writer-director Layon Gray that opens a stirring Meet Me At The Oak, posting yet another strong offering for a revitalized M Ensemble.
Music, sometimes tenderly introspective, sometimes upliftingly powerful, is deftly woven throughout the surging triumph of both the rise of the all-black 1939 New York Renaissance basketball team and M Ensemble’s moving recreation of the “Rens” banner year in Layon Gray’s Kings of Harlem.
Imagine white water rapids raging past you; now imagine the liquid is molten lava – a heedless force of nature threatening to destroy everything. Such images are the by-product of watching the incomparable Ethan Henry bringing one of August Wilson’s tragic heroes to three-dimensional life in M Ensemble’s The Piano Lesson.