THE STORY: In an arresting one-woman show, Dael Orlandersmith gives us five unforgettable male characters whose outward dissimilarities belie their inescapable link: a traumatic past plagued by a cycle of violence and abuse. Taking us from Coney Island to Manchester, England, and back, Ms. Orlandersmith brings to life a series of harrowing stories that weave together each character’s friends, family, lovers and counselors into an explosive narrative that uncovers the darkest corners of humanity—and shatters our notions about predators and their victims. At once powerful and heartbreakingly poetic, BLACK N BLUE BOYS/BROKEN MEN will leave you breathless.
“…a relentlessly intense and deeply disturbing charting of the broad swath cut when adults abuse young men, whether they do so physically, sexually or through sheer, selfish neglect…The question of the night, really, is whether such victims are able to throw off those bruises of the body and soul and react to the world around them with functional kindness…these are very difficult topics to bring up in the theater, as in life, and there is only one way to do so, which is directly and honestly, letting the aesthetic, political, critical and box-office chips fall where they may. That is what Orlandersmith is doing, and it is gutsy, admirable and the only way to make such a piece work.” —Chicago Tribune. “…extraordinary writing…[Orlandersmith’s] efficient, carefully observed portraits are horrifying, pathetic, and dishearteningly familiar,” —Chicago Reader. “…a series of monologues that are riveting in their candor and devastating in their impact…Orlandersmith approaches her characters with boundless empathy and fearlessness when it comes to uncovering ugly truths. She is especially good at conveying the coarsening effects of growing up in an environment of violence. In the process, she makes a convincing case for a masculinity that combines both strength and tenderness.” —Time Out Chicago.