“SUGAR-MOUTH SAM DON’T DANCE NO MORE” and “ORRIN” [Drama/Drugs/Family/One-Acts/Race/Romance] A: Don Evans; D: Helaine Head; P: Negro Ensemble Company; T: St. Marks Playhouse (OB); 5/6/75-5/11/75 (8)
Note: No photos of this production are available.
This pair of one-acts was produced by the Negro Ensemble Company as part of their month-long 1975 “Season-Within-a-Season” festival of workshop productions. They were “small and predictable,” wrote Mel Gussow, but had “a sharpness in the writing, embellished by the performances.”
Both plays had prodigal characters attempting to make homecomings. The title character in “Orrin” (Taurean Blacque), a drug dealer/junkie, was kicked out of his middle-class Philadelphia home by his moralistic dad (Carl Gordon). He returns uninvited eight months later, his presence proving disruptive.
Sam (also Carl Gordon) in “Sugar-Mouth Sam Don’t Dance No More” has been having an erratic love affair with Verda Mae Hollis (Lea Scott) for years. He returns to her place yet one more time to rekindle the flame before he again departs, Tired of his infidelity, Verda Mae's sense of womanly independence emerges.
Like Gussow, Edith Oliver saw value in these short plays, especially in their character depiction.
Next up: Suggs