In Their Own Words - The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City presents RiSE

Reviewed By Barbara Dooley

Fringe Reviewer

The Black Repertory Theatre created RISE (Repertory in School Empowerment program) in 2016 to foster creativity and performance for high school students who may not have access to art or theater in their schools.

This 22-minute program features three works written during this Covid year, performed as staged readings.

In a virtual Fringe Festival, every entry has the chance to make as perfect a production as possible. In this respect, the streaming environment makes performance more like film where the director can do retakes and has control of editing. The delicious risk and high-wire tension of live performance is absent.

The Black Rep has done a great thing by simply shooting the readings from the audience perspective, as they were performed. Sometimes the sound isn’t great; sometimes an actor flubs a line or misses a cue. It’s thrilling. A real live theatrical experience for some of us who may not see the inside of theater for many more months.

What is also refreshing are the themes: nary a word about the pandemic. These are the normal, everyday concerns of teenagers: friendships, girl and boyfriends, school, teachers, home, food, family.

Spend 22-minutes with “In Their Own Words.” Think about supporting The Black Repertory Theatre and this important and creative endeavor in our hometown.