Shining a light on past and present
Black love story debuts at Lyric Stage
“The Light,” by playwright Loy A. Webb, showcases a strong romantic relationship that’s tested as secrets from the past are revealed and change the dynamic between a couple. Running at Boston’s Lyric Stage through June 26, the intimate two-person play explores what it means to love someone.
The cast includes Yewande Odetoyinbo as Genesis and Dominic Carter as Rashad. “I read the script and I cried,” says Odetoyinbo. “I don’t think we get a chance to see a lot of stories that center around a Black couple that are truly in love with each other, and you can see how much in love they are.”
Odetoyinbo is known for her musical talent, and this is the first non-musical play she has performed in. She says it was quite a change to go from a long history of musicals to a main character role in a two-person show with lots of dialogue. While music sticks naturally in her memory, nailing down pages and pages of dialogue was a new challenge for the local talent, allowing her to flex new artistic muscles.
Director Jacqui Parker says, “‘The Light’ is important because, like other well-written plays, it crosses the divides of race, religion, gender and age,” says. “The relationship between Genesis and Rashad is filled with really cool banter that has a jazzy, soulful blues quality to it.”
In the play, Genesis and Rashad are about to get engaged, a night that should be one of the happiest of their lives. But when Rashad suggests the couple go to a specific concert to celebrate, things begin to unravel. No spoilers here, but “The Light” explores how personal (and in our contemporary world, political) issues from ones past can have an impact on present-day relationships and decisions.
“On top of that,” says Odetoyinbo, “the universal issues that are presented in this play … can hit home for anybody, no matter what couple you are.”
In just 70 minutes, the production takes audiences through a whirlwind of emotion. Though there are many larger themes at work in the script, one of the most powerful components of the production is that this universal love story is told through Black characters. Love and interpersonal relationships are challenging, but when a love is strong, it’s worth the work.
“The play has its secrets,” says Parker. “But its foundation is love and having the courage to love. If only we could all be so brave.”