Review by Tachelle Wilkes
The Billie Holiday Theatre at RestorationART, in association with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, presented Colman Domingo‘s Dot this past October weekend, which busts at the seams with both humor and lessons. It’s a cauldron of epiphanies.
Denise Burse who plays Dot offers us an energetic performance as the matriarch of the family who unravels as Alzheimer’s take hold. This recent Emmy award winner’s performance is bold as it strikes its audience in the gut with truth telling.
Issues are put on the table, instead of staying hidden in the cubicles of our minds. Tinashe Kajese-Bolden who plays the daughter Shelly, was captivating and raw as she embodies a successful black woman who takes care of everyone, yet refuses to see her own shortcomings, which comes to the surface.
The son Donnie, played by Gilbert Glenn Brown alongside Lee Osario who plays Adam offers a glimpse into the lives of a gay couple who simply want to live as their authentic selves. In their intense performance both pull back the mask to show that real love, despite societal norms is empowering, patient and kind.
Dot’s aide Fidel played by Benedetto Robinson, did a phenomenal performance as his character is the antithesis of society, where he shows how people with mental illness should be treated. He gave her humanity back by displaying pure empathy. His performance exposes how we can move towards a more organic approach when dealing with mental illness.
Self-discovery and healing – of both our inner and our worlds are the didactic lessons of this intelligent play. Dot is a microcosm of the healing that must take place in the black community and expand outward. The ending is transformative. It shows strength of family – and ultimately how love is the cure all.