In this month's In The Red and Brown Water, a soul-stirring drama by Tarell Alvin McCraney brought to compelling life by Sankofa Productions, Shanique Brown (seen here with costar Susie Braham) imbues the central role of Oya with stunning compassion and an arresting confidence that pays testament to her ability to cut to the emotional core of a character. There's also that quiet strength that Oya displays, and it's a quality Brown seems to share with the complicated character, a young woman torn between two men vying for her affections. Not to mention a dying mother whom she chooses over a promising athletic career. As for Brown's own career, there's no limit to what she can go on to achieve in the wake of such a laudable breakout success.
After banking stage time in productions by Fabian Thomas (Hairpeace) and Basil Dawkins (Where Is My Father?), and leaving us deeply impressed by the performances, Julene Robinson recently demonstrated her capacity for flying solo in Eight by Ten at Mona's Philip Sherlock Centre with "Me and My White Boy," an amusing, believable treatise on race, class and romance excerpted from Karl Williams' The Black That I Am. To onlookers, it's clear that Robinson has leading-lady bonafides given the way she commands her audience and. The way I see it, among theatre's new-generation talents she could have real staying power provided that she maintains this kind of attention-grabbing streak with poise and intelligence.