Writer: Geraldine Inoa
Director: Niegel Smith
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
The Flea’s newest production, a world premiere of Scraps by Geraldine Inoa, is a brilliant and earth-shattering portrayal of the effects of police shootings in the black community. A strong ensemble piece, Scraps is disturbing, relentless and beautiful. Transitioning from kitchen-sink realism to abstract expressionist game-show style, Inoa’s lyrical freight train of a dialogue-driven script is a triumph.
Against a fantastic set by Ao Li depicting a stoop in Bedford-Stuyvesant (not to be confused with the newly gentrified marketing scheme named Stuyvesant Heights), the action takes place in front of an apartment building where neighbors are as close as family. The shuttered bodega next door boasts a memorial painting of Biggie Smalls, where characters pour out a little of whatever they may be drinking in remembrance of those lost. The visual story is powerful, and Andy Jean’s costumes are perfectly on-point. Megan Deets Cully’s sound is vibrant in scene changes and deafeningly jarring as the play grows darker and darker.
The cast of Scraps is unflinching. Andrew Baldwin (Cop), Alana Raquel Bowers (Aisha), Bryn Carter (Sebastian), Roland Lane (Jean-Baptiste), Michael Oloyede (Calvin), and Tanyamaria (Adriana) dive headfirst into difficult material. The plot contains post-traumatic stress, violence, sexual assault and suicide, and Niegel Smith’s direction gives the cast a strong foundation from which to explore necessarily challenging topics (and staging logistics).
Scraps is a stunning play, and this production is a testament to a collaborative team with a shared vision. With its finger firmly on the pounding pulse of a community targeted by those sworn to protect, it is not to be missed.
Runs until 24 September 2018 | Image: Hunter Canning