Encore Michigan

Tipping Point’s ‘Light’ is a brisk, to-the-point story of love, pain and understanding

Review February 12, 2023 David Kiley

NORTHVILLE, MI–The Light, a play by Loy A. Webb, runs a quick 70 minutes without an intermission. Some playwrights today don’t know when to put the pen down, or close the laptop. “The End” for too many playwrights comes about 20 minutes or 40 minutes too late.

Not so here. Ms. Webb has written about as taut an emotional ride as you are likely to see in a theatre today. Rashad (Jonathan West) is a fire-fighter, and his live-in partner, Genesis , played by Carman Cooper, is a school principal. Webb is careful to write Rashad not as a lunk-head of a workin’ man, but rather as a pretty sensitive, charming man who seems pretty attuned to his lady’s needs and wants.

We see him at the start of the play hiding away what we can see is a diamond ring. Genesis and Rashad have all the usual banter between two people who love each other, and whose love language includes putting one another on and needling each other.

For the first 15 minutes or so, the banter is the stuff of light-hearted “rom-com,” so much so that the thought crosses one’s mind, “just where is this play going…will I miss anything if I go to the bathroom?”

Don’t go. Because just when you wonder why you are watching these two chatter about whether or not Rashad has forgotten their anniversary or whether he has gotten her anything, the dialogue and trajectory of the evening takes a sharp turn into dark territory. Rashad has augmented the gift of the engagement ring with tickets for a concert that includes Genesis’s favorite singer/performer. Rashad has scored VIP, backstage access tickets and feel he has entered, he thinks, the anniversary-gift Hall of Fame.

Not so much. To go into the plot much further would be a spoiler. Let’s just say that the discussion quickly turns on a dime to discussing whether a friend of Genesis from college was legitimately sexually assaulted if she did not report it and it was not prosecuted. The discussion between the two tags the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings in which it was revealed that a doctor who went to school with Kavanaugh claims he sexually assaulted her. Many believed the accuser, and many did not. Bottom Line: Kavanaugh is on the court and helped knock down Roe v Wade, which has done away with federal protections for a woman seeking an abortion.

Yes, The Light is an issue play. But it’s an issue wrapped up in excellent writing by Ms. Webb and top-drawer performances by Mr. West and Ms. Cooper. Dircted by Carollette Phillips with an excellent set design by Monica Essen, costume design by Krista Brown, lighting by Neil Koivu and sound design by Art Merriweather III, The Light is a penetrating story that is a part of every walk of life from the corporate boardroom to a Navy ship, with some sharp turns of plot that will have you leaving the theatre discussing what you saw.

What more can we ask of a play. The Light is highly recommnded.

Week of 3/20/2023

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