For the past several years, I’ve been a season ticket holder to ACT. I usually buy tickets to 4 – 5 plays. I pick the plays from the short description listed in the pre-season flyer and don’t do much more research than that. Without fail, every year there is one outstanding play, two to three that are okay to good, and one that is horrible. The outstanding one usually catches me by surprise; I couldn’t have predicted it would be outstanding from the description.
Tonight I saw the outstanding play of the season.
The Suit is a spectacular story and it was executed flawlessly. The audience is drawn in from the very beginning, when the narrator talks of smoking weed and drinking moonshine in the township of Sophiatown, and playfully offers to share his imaginary indulgences with audience members in the front row. The set is simple: a few chairs, a carpet, a table, some rolling clothing racks. The cast consists of three actors and three musicians. Mathilda, the lead, beautifully sings a few solos; during the rest of the play the music is artfully woven into, onto, and among the dialogue.
The story is gripping while exploring love, desires, friendship, betrayal, survival, racism, and punishment – all within 75 intense minutes. Motives are understated; characters are real. If you’re in the Bay Area, make your way to ACT. You’re in for a treat. You may even see me in the next row.