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Festival Review: Until the Flood ****

Michael Cox reviews 'a brilliant combination of performance, writing and staging'.

Dael Orlandersmith’s Until the Flood is an extremely humane production, a theatrical look at America and it’s relationship with race. Taking the famous death of Michael Brown, a black teenager shot dead by a white police officer, the play is a collection of monologues that look not at the events leading up to the shooting but reflect on its aftermath. These reflections are based on interviews Orlandersmith conducted, and how these individuals of differing race, gender and economic and political affiliations see this event in contrasting lights.

Orlandersmith proves to be both an excellent writer and performer. She gives equal dramatic weight to each of her characters, not basing any of them on stereotype—many take surprising stances. Each character is compelling—fully drawn and richly performed.

A brilliant combination of performance, writing and staging,Until the Flood is not a heavy-handed angry play about America’s race problem but a gentle, touching plea for understanding.

Performs in repertory at the Traverse until August 25. Check the venue for specific times.

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