The acting ensemble is strong, despite some fumbled lines on opening night, but it's hard to make these characters breathe. The usually excellent Gregory J. Adams seems somewhat at a loss playing nebulous Allen, and though Jada Roberts's Cadance is clear, dignified and strong, she's lacking in nuance and dimension. Tyee Tilghman, another excellent actor, seems not to harbor Salif's passion or conviction. Quatis Tarkington threatens periodically to go over the top as Austin, though he never quite does; Kurt Soderstrom plays several smaller roles with jovial energy. It's Simone St. John's Ona, however, who provides the depth and feeling that bring the play alive.
We are shaped more profoundly by history than most of us can fathom, and the history of Africans in America is particularly haunting and ugly. Cadance's insistence that her people move forward and Salif's that they must embrace the past aren't really antithetical. Integrating and understanding our histories and finding ways to carry them with us into the future is the primary task we face as human beings.