America suffers from selective amnesia when it comes to history. Christopher Columbus 'discovered' America but it omits the part how his men viciously destroyed the villages and the natives.

Arthur Alonzo Richardson plays the slave on the auction block and the story telling griot



The history books will go on and on how Thomas Jefferson drew up the Declaration of Independence guaranteeing all men freedom, except, of course, you are a slave and Jefferson had a lot of them. Unfortunately, slavery is in the same category making it sound like a blip in history. Do Lord Remember Me is a testament to the taped recordings of former slaves retelling their experience referred to as the 'peculiar institution'.

Playwright James de Jongh discovered over 2300 voice recordings of ex-slaves, then in their 80s and 90s, detailing their life in captivity. Their stories depicted the worst kind of brutality a human being could suffer. Whippings so bad formed tree branched shapes on raw backs. Women raped and never see their children again. The constant humiliation of grotesque treatment was a daily occurrence. Their stories will not be forgotten.

The slaves share their personal stories and what they heard in the fields



While there are no featured characters or a designated story, the five fabulous actors take turns as the former slaves recalling their personal experience. Sometimes names were said but you had to listen carefully. Actress Annzella Victoria limps around humming a song. Then, Shavonda Mitchell comes in soon after with a twisted mouth and sweeping the floor. The women tease Rodney J. Hobbs for napping instead of finishing shining shoes. Mitchell begins her story saying she is not sure how old she is and she never saw her family members again after being sold. Mitchell's character admits how she is still scared to talk about it.

"Ride on King Savior, no man can hinder me!"



The others share her sentiments especially actor Bambadjan Bamba's character who as an elderly man is reluctant to speak but finally relents. Hobbs describes how slaves had to be self-sufficient in making their own soap, clothes, grew food, and in painstakingly detail how they slept on floorboards in huts.

The slaves share their personal stories and what they heard in the fields. They remembered hearing about a slave woman struck her master when he tried to rape her. An elderly free man confronted a white minister in church when he asked the nervous preacher if slaves will be free in heaven. That left the minister repeating verses from the Bible, which does not really answer anything. Of course, nothing is done without retribution. The slaves do provide stories where massa pays for his heinous actions. Like, the overseer who 'accidentally fell' into a pit of a blazing fire and messing with massa's karma by placing homemade objects to attract bad luck.

Sometimes names were said but you had to listen carefully



Arthur Alonzo Richardson is great in playing the slave on the auction block and the story telling griot. Richardson works it playing the dumb slave one minute to evade massa's wrath and bringing the despicable overseer to his early demise. He tells a ridiculous folktale how everyone on Earth was black until they stepped into a magical pond that 'turns you white and kinks out the hair.' He tells the incredible with an infectious smiles to listeners who are in awe. Do Lord is a lyrical biography with classic Negro spirituals provided to emphasis the ex-slaves prior life. Their stories won't be forgotten no matter how big an eraser history brings out.

Do Lord Remember Me plays at Chromolume Theatre, 5041 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. until Sunday, Feb. 25. For more information call (323) 938-3700 or visit www.plays411.com/dolord

Top of Page

lasplash.com
Join Splash Magazines

Feature Article

Tempflow™ and Tempur-Pedic® Reviews - What 35 Hours of Research Uncovered

Want Your Business to Male a Splash
<!-- #wrapper -->