by Derrick McCain
Filled with drama, plot twists and even musical numbers, “The Company You Keep” was a play produced by Soul’d Out productions during their Let’s Stop the Violence Week. The play keeps a strong Christian approach to handling such conflict while emphasizing a moral: beware of the company you keep.
|WRONG PERSON KILLED—After the dust falls, the one who was suppose to be shot was not and an innocent person was killed as everyone sees that Hazel was killed instead of Tammy, her friend. (Photo by J.L. Martello)
“There has been many incidents in Pittsburgh where the youth were at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Alichia Parker, executive producer. While the play preaches a positive message, the production failed to keep it as uplifting as it could have been, due to several factors.
The audio seemed to have produced far too much feedback which made it difficult to enjoy the play. You didn’t know when it would make a large booming sound or when an actor or actress would have their microphone cut off, or if there were any sound effects for the moment. There were also a few scenes where the comedy would be out of place. Considering the importance of some scenes, there were moments that made jokes inappropriate for the story’s tone.
However, the performance did have some redeeming qualities. The actors remained dedicated to their parts and handled all of the sound effect errors professionally. Additionally, there was a minimal set design- such as utilizing the lighting to shift the viewers focus while providing a short setup time for the next scene. The singing was also excellent and without a doubt the best part of the play.
The play was enjoyed by its viewers and dealt with a lot of real world topics; however, for a play produced during a ‘Let’s Stop the Violence’ week, it dealt more with negligence than the problem of violence in the Black community. Another huge issue was that at the end of the play, ironically, nobody left the company that they kept.
“This play displayed how at the cost of death, people were able to see their internal issues,” said Parrish Davenport, writer of the play in regards to how the death of two people united the group.
However, one should ask themselves if it should have taken two deaths to get to that point in the first place. Subsequently, what kind of a model does this set for people stuck in bad relationships who truly need to get out of it for the sake of their own safety? While The Company You Keep misses the mark a few times, it still has an uplifting message that is very important during this day and age. Though faced with several problems, the play managed to entertain its audience.