Fresh off an inaugural season that proved the company had staying power and that the community wanted more, the Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City has kicked off its second season with the play “A Soldier’s Play.”
The all-male cast delivers in this murder mystery steeped in racial anger and resentment. The play take place at United States Army’s Fort Neal, Louisiana, in 1944 during the time when the military was racially segregated. Captain Richard Davenport, a rare Black Army “officer”, has been sent to investigate a killing. Ultimately, Davenport discovers the killer was one of the Black soldiers under Waters’ command.
Waters’ men hated him because Waters himself treated Southern Black men with utter disdain and contempt. As Davenport interviews witnesses and suspects, he finds out the light-skinned Waters was highly intelligent and extremely ambitious and loathed Black men who conformed to old-fashioned racist stereotypes. For that reason, Waters persecuted Black soldiers like Private C.J. Memphis, whose broad grin and jive talk made Waters’ blood boil.
The play uses a murder mystery to explore the complicated feelings of anger and resentment that some African Americans have toward one another, and the ways in which many Black Americans have absorbed White racist attitudes.
Performances are every Thursday through Sunday, through Oct. 8. Thursday – Saturday shows are from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. and Sunday shows are from 3 – 5 p.m., at the Arts Asylum, 1000 E. 9th St., KCMO. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $10 for students. For tickets go to www.brtkc.org.