The Convert – By Latrese Calvert

May 21, 2012 in Cindy Bandle Young Critics by Cindy-Bandle-Young-Critics

The Convert is a very powerful play about the the struggle and consequences of being a part of any religion. The scenery played a big deal in the era that the play took place in. It made the whole experience real.

The Convert is a play about a young African girl named Jekesai, who goes to live with her Aunt Mai Tamba to escape from an marriage arranged  by her uncle. While working as a maid, she was soon converted into Catholicism by her Boss Chilford. Now she can’t make up her mind whether to follow her family’s lifestyle or her religion–but by the plays end, the time comes when she must choose which road will she take.

The production took place in the Owen Theatre, which is is Goodman Theatre’s smaller space. The set reminded me of Mexico, but it was suppose to be Africa in the 1800’s. (Is’nt that ironic, that the set was similar to  Mexico). The set was very interesting. It was very inviting. The costumes really resembled African wear. All the actors were very convincing in their roles African and British accents. Pascale Armand (Jeskesai/Ester) was a very amazing actress. One of the audience members  said,“She was Amazing And very Brave.” I agree with her one-hundred percent. The fact that she walked out topless to show how the Africans dressed proved that she brave and proud of playing an African girl.
Also this role I know could not have  been easy. Trying to get the dialect correct is not an easy task.

Cheryl Lynn Bruce was very good as well, with a very convincing African accent, and Leroy McClain was very excellent as Chilford. His British accent was amazing. The play overall was very believable. It took me a while to comprehend all the information they were saying at one time, but overall I really enjoyed myself. Which showed that any religion can be over whelming and it can smother you to death, if you let it. Normally I can easily choose a side in circumstances like Jeskesai, but it’s hard when you are taught one thing and practiced it since you were young and are pressured to change and convert and go against everything that you know, and to go against your family. I really liked the depth of this play. I can honestly say this play is my favorite of the Goodman’s season so far.