And I Ain't Finished Yet | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

And I Ain't Finished Yet

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

AND I AIN'T FINISHED YET, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Poet-playwright Eve Merriam would have been pleased with this enthusiastic, semiprofessional production of her tribute to black women, And I Ain't Finished Yet. Director Phillip Edward VanLear and his ensemble embody the energy and spirit of umoja, the Kwanza precept of unity.

Fittingly, an improvised song-and-dance invocation of umoja opens the play. Celebrating black women's resistance to racism, Merriam's script weaves together the lives of six notable activists: entertainers Ma Rainey and Moms Mabley, civil rights workers Fannie Lou Hamer and Ida B. Wells, preacher Sister Tessie, and Klan resister Hannah Tutson. Although the portraits aren't detailed, a general sketch is given of each woman's history, as well as a moment of song, jokes, or testimony that shows her "working." Rachel M. Hemphill, Alicia Chapman, and Renee Lockett-Lawson deliver standout performances as Wells, Hamer, and Tutson.

Under VanLear's direction, Evanston's Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre is working toward Equity status. This production is a promising start, combining local professional and amateur performers in a jubilant, solid ensemble that celebrates community without the half-baked feeling of community theater. --Carol Burbank

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment