What does a promising poet who is also a slave do to become a beacon of hope under seemingly impossible circumstances?
Anything she can and beyond.
Based on a true story and in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, Revolutionary Spaces presents Ade Solanke’s semi-immersive original play Phillis in Boston continuing at the historic Old South Meeting House in Boston, MA live and in person through December 3. With enlightening direction by Regge Life, this historical and educational drama runs 90 minutes with no intermission and without a bad seat in the house. Click here for more information and for tickets.
The world should know more about visionary, promising poet and slave Phillis Wheatley.
Phillis in Boston is simply staged surrounded by Old South Meeting House’s regal setting and embellishes Chloe Moore and Athena Parkman’s detailed and authentic colonial prewar costumes in lace, wool, and cotton. Phillis’s colorful and distinctive gown is a particular highlight.
Set in late 1773, this groundbreaking, world premiere production delves into the lives of a group of dynamic individuals who set out to make an extraordinary difference at a pivotal time in history. Very likely taking place at the historic Old South Meeting House which is also celebrating its 300th anniversary, Adreyanua Jean-Louis as Phillis, Bobby Cius as John Peters, Joshua Olumide as Prince Hall, and Serenity S’rae as Obour Tanner must ban together on a mission to be heard.
Named after a slave ship and at the center of this production is Phillis herself portrayed with optimistic integrity by Adreyanua Jean-Louis, Phillis in Boston offers a unique and heartfelt perspective of this courageous woman. In spite of her struggles, Jean-Louis as Phillis remains humble yet forward thinking with a constant vision of breaking through boundaries. Instantly likable and through powerful faith, Phillis sees that narrow path to success and ardently reaches for it. Not so sure is Phillis’s caring and genuinely loyal Rhode Island confidante Obour Tanner, delivered with an impressive mix of dry humor and solemn reason by Serenity S’rae. S’rae conveys some chilling and hard truths as she carefully counsels Phillis about pursuing this seemingly impossible dream. Intense and focused Prince Hall depicted charismatically by Joshua Olumide, and Bobby Cius as charming yet mysterious John Peters gradually reveal their own part in Phillis’s uncertain future.
While a show like Revolution’s Edge delivered immediate intensity, Phillis in Boston relies on a gradual and reassuring build, culminating in a powerful confrontation between Jean-Louis and Priscilla Manning as needy, grieving, stubborn and conflicted Susanna Wheatley. Jean-Louis’s nurturing nature towards Manning is multi-faceted but also enforced. The history of Jean-Louis and Manning’s complex connection comes to light in an enthralling, intense, and pivotal scene where both actresses are at their brightest. With Brendan F. Doyle’s versatile array of immersive sound effects and a notable version of Amazing Grace, it is difficult to imagine that Phillis of Boston could not have a significant effect on us all.
Based on a true story and in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, Revolutionary Spaces presents Ade Solanke’s semi-immersive original play Phillis in Boston continuing at the historic Old South Meeting House in Boston, MA live and in person through December 3. With enlightening direction by Regge Life, this historical drama runs 90 minutes with no intermission and without a bad seat in the house. Click here for more information and for tickets.