Black Rep continues initial season with family drama ‘Stick Fly’


Privilege is mostly associated with Whites, but ‘Stick Fly,’ by Lydia R. Diamond takes the idea a step further and asserts that money is the ultimate privilege–White or Black–money creates privilege; and the same socioeconomic pressures flow amongst different races.

“Stick Fly,” Jacqueline. L. Gafford’s new production for Kansas City Black Rep illuminates the problems of an African American family who have far surpassed most other Black families with wealth, acquisitions, social status, education, and even a summer home on Martha’s Vinyard

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“The affluent, African-American Levay family is gathering at their Martha’s Vineyard home for the weekend, and brother Kent and Flip have each brought their respective ladies home to meet the parents for the first time. Issues of race and privilege, longstanding family tensions bubble to the surface in this Family Comedy/Drama,” according to the Black Rep.

The play will have the audience in stitches at one moment and somber the next. Not only has the playwright crafted a beautiful piece, Gafford found all the comedy and drama in the piece and guided her cast to bring all aspects out for the audience. The show slightly telegraphs the end but only for the critical ear. Most will be shocked and stunned by the developments as the unfold.

Shon Ruffin, stars in this crazy, zany, dramatic piece that takes the audience on a roller-coaster ride as the LeVay family puts a capital “D” in Dysfunctional. Ruffin’s strong character and pin-point, rapid-fire delivery bring both the comedy and drama to the story. One of her lines speaks of a “hole in her heart” caused by the rejection and neglect of her father. As the play unfolds that theme reflects in another character. Ruffin is the girlfriend of the youngest son and wants to set a good first impression in the world’s most dysfunctional family.

The ensemble cast support her lead with brilliant performances, The cast includes L.Roi Hawkins, Jessica Franz, Dennis Jackson, Terraye “Ray” Watson, and Sierra Berry.

L. Roi Hawkins portrays the womanizing plastic surgeon who mirrors his father’s attitudes and values. Terraye Watson portrays the more socially conscious son that contrasts with his father’s values. The two are wonderful in their scenes together. Their chemistry is strong and enticing. Dennis Jackson plays the disgruntled father who can reduce both boys with a single word or glance. He’s unforgiving and harsh. His struggles to become a successful neurosurgeon with a trophy wife have taken their toll. As has his desire to be accepted in the Martha’s Vinyard society. Jessica Franz portrays the girlfriend on one son. She’s outstanding in her character and in blending with the many different situations in the play. Sierra Berry is Cheryl the housekeeper (a.k.a. maid) in the play. She’s been sent by her ill mother to fill in for the summer. Her character and meaning to the story are paramount. Her scenes with Ruffin are the best.

For those who like family comedy/drama, this is the show for you. The theme is universal and the playwright shows how money and social status are the same, no matter the race. “Stick Fly” is a winner. The auditorium should be full as word spreads about this show.

Stick Fly is being performed at The Arts Asylum. The show runs February 9 – 26th.
Thursday thru Sunday performances. Tickets are now on sale, online though the Black Rep website. Special discounts are available for seniors (65+) and students. Group discounts available on request. The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City performs in the freshly renovated auditorium of The Arts Asylum, 1000 E 9th St., Kansas City, Missouri, 64106.


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