Secrets of a Black Boy is a theatrical masterpiece that sifts through all the gory thoughts, doubts, fears, questions, and obsessions that traipse through the mind of a black man.
The play written by Darren Anthony centers around the lives of five black men living in Regent Park, Toronto. With the impending demolition of their community center the five men meet onsite for one last game of dominoes and to reminisce on their lives. What ensues is a mental, spiritual, physical, psychological and therapeutic display of diametric emotions. No topic was off-limits as every issue was propounded: manhood, abuse, relationships, marriage, philandering, sex, cunnilingus, violence, drugs, police profiling, murder and criminality were all artfully exposed and presented with chilling effect.
It’s hard to put into words what transpired in the 2.5-hours that I sat in the Maja Prentice Theatre. The first half dealt with so much pain that even though it lasted for a mere hour it felt like I had personally endured a 2-hour emotional battle of mental anguish and soul searching.
I wanted to stop, pause, rewind, and repeat the scenes so that I would not miss any of the deep truths that were exposed. The audience didn’t seem interested in the intermission either, as they mostly sat glued to their seats, anxiously waiting for the 2nd half. I wondered if the cast could maintain the emotional depth and hype that they initiated in the 1st half. However, they unbelievably brought it to a higher level. I am still reeling from the poignantly, piercing Michelle Obama scene, which can only be experienced, never explained or rephrased! That scene alone could stand on its own and was worth the full admission price!
The so called “10 Commandments” women should follow when dating, from no sex for the first month to not getting comfortable, were superbly delivered and deserving of being etched in stone. The Jump scene was another favorite along with all the old school choreographed dance moves.
The entire cast was exceptional; however MVP goes to Sheldon, played by Al St. Louis. Al successfully drew the audience into his aura, his story, his fight and his dream. I too wanted to save the community center just so that Sheldon would always have his childhood refuge.
This show had it all: terrific script, talented actors, pulsating music, sensational singing, exciting dancing and most of all reality and truth. Secrets of a Black Boy is a must see for women who want to know what black men grapple with, and for men who are still too scared to share their innermost secrets. I left with the words ringing in my head "sometimes we do the things we don’t want to do as it is the right thing to do".