Tanya Barfield’s “The Call” follows two couples intimately linked. One is Annie and Peter, a white heterosexual couple planning to adopt. The other is Rebecca and Drea, an African-American lesbian couple who recently married. Their friendship has survived years of struggle and heartbreak but it is about to face something more complex than it ever has. Annie and Peter are going through international adoption. Themes of guilt, identity, and culture are explored with great depth.
Rachel Grandizio (Annie) and Theo Couloumbis (Peter) work well together. Grandizio captures the pain of a mother well. She carried her scenes along with strength and poise. Some of their scenes felt a little rushed and heavy moments didn’t always land but these students managed their work well.
…“The Call” is an intelligent piece with a strong call to action.
April Monu (Drea) commands the stage with her presence and is an excellent scene partner for Summer Brown (Rebecca). They make a solid and loving couple but are still able to deal with hard issues and have different opinions. Alemu, a man from Africa who is neighbors with Annie and Peter, is played by Jamaal Amir McCray. McCray’s bright laugh and excellent energy made his scenes a bright contrast to the rest to the show, which was very heavy and heady.
The set was enormous and gorgeous. Designer Tyler Herald made excellent use of taking a show that could have a small and simple set and making it fit in the large theatre. The set integrated elements of modern design and abstract art. The set itself was lovely but watching the mechanical transitions were also fascinating.
Director Eleanor Holdridge, did an excellent job of maneuvering a small cast on a big stage. Her staging was clear and dynamic. The use of different perspectives on the stage made it engaging and interesting to watch.
The students at UMD are doing great work. They are telling a poignant story with great artistry. Living room dramas can get pretty tedious as there are so many of them floating around these days but “The Call” is an intelligent piece with a strong call to action.
Running Time: 2 hours with one intermission.
“The Call” is running in the Kay Theatre at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center through October 8. For tickets and more information click here