Let's talk about a great play that I just saw. It was called Good Grief written by Ngozi Anyanwu. Produced by her beautiful sister Chichi, directed by Russell G Jones.
It was the sexual coming of age of a young African woman living in all-white neighborhood in upstate New York. In the first scene her best friend, childhood playmate and almost boyfriend (yes all in the same person) dies.
I could relate to play more than I like to admit. I too experienced the late coming-of-age like the main character. I also had times when I was in all-white environment and had the mixed signals and attention of white boys loving me on the down low. And tragically I lost a friend in high school in a car accident.
Her name was Carrie Blair. I had no idea how to mourn at the time. Carrie was a wild fun sweet big hearted cool girl who taught me how to use a tampon (before I had jump on a trampoline gym class). She was blonde and big busted and my mother didn't like her at all.
For the record Carrie Blair was bad ass great chick who could have been notorious but for some stupid teenage driving mistake.
Thank you Ngozi for helping me remember my friend and my mother's love, who at the time of Carrie's passing, helped me. Now I recall her coming with me to the memorial service and being really gentle with me.
I think the play Ngozi wrote is so specific in character voices, world, and time that it is universal.
My favorite scene was between the mother and father from Nigeria when Ngozi's character is crying in the background and they begin to tease each other about how they grieved over their losses. It was the mix of tragedy and comedy that the great stage director Lloyd Richards used to talk about when we were rehearsing the Piano Lesson. Perfection. Recognizable. Truly "Good Grief."
Finally her play reminds me a lot of the movie Cooley High. I would love to direct Good Grief as a feature film. (I'm just saying. )
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