Imagine an unplanned college reunion to grieve the loss of a beloved friend. After being separated for decades six women are in one room to mourn the woman that they loved. The play, “Long Time Since Yesterday” by P.J. Gibson, is about black women learning to deal with the world without their close friend in the 1980s. The Georgetown Black Theatre Ensemble undertakes this heart-wrecking drama about grieving the death of their beloved college classmate who recently lost her life to suicide. Under the direction of Sadia Alao, the all-female cast tackles intense themes of friendship and identity while their characters are reminiscing about the joy of their college days.
The Black Theatre Ensemble of Georgetown University does a beautiful job of showing the complexities of emotions involving suicide on top of the struggles of determining identity.
The student actors embrace intense roles with maturity and sophistication while still incorporating the range of emotions needed for their characters. The cast navigates characters with complicated friendship dynamics while being on different spectrums of adulthood involving marriage, families, and careers. They are united through death, to form a community to support each other through difficult times.
All the actors stand out in their own way to depict how dreams can guide individuals on different paths. Aniya Harris brings an energetic and lighthearted performance with her character, Babbs Wilkerson, that allows the audience to have comedic relief through difficult topics. Cameren Evans acts with authority and love through her character, Laveer Swan, who creates tension well. The cast shows how black women are allowed to feel every emotion needed to grieve who they lost.
With the guidance of the director and the set design, the cast uses the space around them well. Set designer Mai Wheeler allows the audience to go across time to reflect on the life of the character Janeen Earl before her untimely death. The sound design by Haleema Hasan puts the audience into the 1980s with music. The Black Theatre Ensemble of Georgetown University does a beautiful job of showing the complexities of emotions involving suicide on top of the struggles of determining identity.
Running time: One hour and 30 minutes with a 15 minute-intermission.
Advisory: Strong language, sexual violence, and suicide.
“Long Time Since Yesterday” runs through March 31, 2023 presented by the Black Theatre Ensemble of Georgetown University, Davis Performing Arts Center Old N Way, Washington, DC 20007. Tickets are available online.