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He Says: The Public’s Ain’t No Mo’ Fills Us Up

He Says: The Public’s Ain’t No Mo’ Fills Us Up

The Right to Complain died back on that historic day, when that black man, Barack Hussein Obama became the President of these United States, or so the wailing and carrying on gaggle of mourners thought in the first vignette from the satirical and devilishly funny Ain’t No Mo’, a piece of surprising power stuffed inside a laugh out loud flight of fancy by Jordan E. Cooper (“americanmother“) currently taking off at The Public Theater. As directed with a flash and a smile by Stevie Walker-Webb (a former 2050 Fellow at NYTW), the cast of 6, five passengers and the wildly inappropriate and utterly fantastic Peaches, played to the skies by playwright Cooper, feasts its eyes on the prize and delivers the goods with style and hilarity. At first it flails around in over the top camp within a sketch comedy television show structure, but it quickly shows its smarts underneath the wild symbolic gesturing, and jabs at all things, including transracial prejudice, abortion, police shootings of black men, and freedom. “Smell that“, is all she can ask.

AIN'T NO MO'Public Theater
LuEsther Hall
Ebony Marshall-Oliver and Crystal Lucas-Perry in Ain’t No Mo’, written by Jordan E. Cooper and directed by Stevie Walker-Webb, running at The Public Theater. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

The writing and the ideas within, are snapped on perfect, detailing a troubling times for race relations in America, especially when looking towards the current White House and its cast of KKK-ronies. The cast, made up of Marchánt David (Public’s The Fever), Jennean Farmer, Fedna Jacquet (Daryl Roth’s Gloria), Crystal Lucas-Perry (LCT’s Bull in a China Shop), Ebony Marshall-Oliver (Dallas Theater’s Dreamgirls), and Simone Recasner (Pittsburgh’s Pride and Prejudice), find the exacting flavor to get in the last word. On a television variety show-like set, by designer Kimie Nishikawa (PR’s The Revolving Cycles…), with outrageous costuming by Montana Levi Blanco (TNG’s Daddy), direct lighting by Adam Honoré (CSC’s Carmen Jones), solid sound by Emily Auciello (EST’s Mope), and stupendous work by hair, wig, and makeup artist, Cookie Jordan (Broadway’s Once on this Island), Ain’t No Mo’ sometimes mist-fires and stumbles over its self to make a point, but the satire always seems to be able to right itself up on those high heels. Cooper’s Peaches doesn’t “know easy“, but what the two know is the truth, and alongside convict Blue, they push and pull forth idea after compelling idea with wise power, finding the funny in the pain and disappointment of our current situation. This flight should be full, but I’m glad I got my ticket. And don’t worry Peaches, I ain’t looking back.

Ain't No MoWritten by Jordan E. Cooper
Directed by Stevie Walker-Webb
Jordan E. Cooper in Ain’t No Mo’, written by Jordan E. Cooper and directed by Stevie Walker-Webb, running at The Public Theater. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

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Off Broadway

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to

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