Saturday, April 25, 2015


By Toby Zinman


By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer

Flashpoint Theatre Co. is giving Jacqueline Goldfinger’s new play, Slip/Shot,  a fine premiere. This beautifully crafted and intensely moving drama about the legacy of racist fear  is served by a powerful cast and an imaginative and skilled director,  Rebecca Wright.

The plot is uncomplicated, but the characters are not. Clem (Kevin Meehan) is a new policeman in a small town near Tallahassee, sometime before now and sometime after Civil Rights laws were enacted. He is haunted by his no-good father and has turned his back on him.  Clem’s wife,  Kitty (Rachel Camp) is blonde and  sexy, so it doesn’t seem to matter much that her cooking doesn’t extend beyond peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Monroe (Akeem Davis) is a black senior in high school with a girlfriend, Phrasie (Taysha Canales) who has won a scholarship to college. After a night-time romantic picnic, Monroe is happily walking home, taking a route by the whites-only hospital. Clem is on guard duty, although since he has nothing to actually do, he is practicing slick moves with his revolver. When Monroe startles him, he accidentally shoots him. His mother (Cathy Simpson) who has been through it all, grieves. Phrasie is outraged, angry, wants revenge, wants to change the world.  The sheriff (Keith Conallen) attempts to defuse a combustible situation.

Both Phrasie and Kitty will discover they are pregnant. The future incarnate.

Clem’s reaction to the shooting is growing paranoia, barricading them in the house for months, as his mind—and the kitchen—deteriorates. No wonder the stage is hung with Spanish moss, a visible manifestation of the play’s central parable of the Civil War: two boyswe're told, were locked together in fear; they squeeze the life out of each other, and after they died, their hair turned to tree moss, and floated all over the South.

The kitchen (excellent set by Caitlin Lanoff) –a plastic and linoleum sort of place—is shared by both the white characters and the black characters; as one enters the other exits, but unhurriedly, significantly inhabiting the room simultaneously for a minute, although always unaware of each other’s presence. The stuff that each side acquires—books, coupons, cardboard cartons, coke bottles, teddybears – remains and accumulates as history piles up.

Any talk about relevance to recent news seems to me to distort both the current event  and the play, so it is perhaps best to take the play on its own merits which are many.


Flashpoint Theatre at the Adrienne Second Stage, 2030 Sansom. Through May 5. Tickets $15-22. Information:

About this blog

Toby Zinman's night job since 2006 is theater critic for the Inquirer where she reviews New York and London as well as Philadelphia. Her day job: Prize-winning prof at UArts, author of five books about modern and contemporary drama, and doer of scholarly deeds (winner of five NEH grants, Fulbright lecturer at Tel Aviv University, visiting professor in China). She was recently named by American Theatre magazine "one of the twelve most influential critics in America."

Wendy Rosenfield has written freelance features and theater reviews for The Inquirer since 2006. She was theater critic for the Philadelphia Weekly from 1995 to 2001, after which she enjoyed a five-year baby-raising sabbatical. She serves on the board of the American Theatre Critics Association, was a participant in the Bennington Writer's Workshop, a 2008 NEA/USC Fellow in Theater and Musical Theater, and twice was guest critic for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's Region II National Critics Institute. She received her B.A. from Bennington College and her M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also is a fiction writer, was proofreader to a swami, publications editor for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and spends all her free time working out and driving people places. Follow her on Twitter @WendyRosenfield.

Jim Rutter has reviewed theater for The Inquirer since September, 2011. Since 2006, he covered dance, theater and opera for the Broad Street Review, and has also written for many suburban newspapers, including The Main Line Times. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a Fellowship in Arts Journalism. Thames & Hudson released his updated and revised version of Ballet and Modern Dance in June, 2012. From 1998 to 2005, he taught philosophy and logic at Drexel, and then Widener University. He also coaches Olympic Weightlifting for Liberty Barbell, and has competed at the national level in that sport since 2001.

Merilyn Jackson regularly writes on dance for The Inquirer and other publications. She specializes in the arts, literature, food, travel, and Eastern European culture and politics. In 2001, she was dance critic in residence at the Festival of Contemporary Dance in Bytom, Poland; in 2005, she received an NEA Critics’ Fellowship to Duke University’s Institute for Dance Criticism. She likes to say that dance was her first love but that when she discovered writing she began to cheat on dance. Now that she writes about dance, she’s made an honest woman of herself, although she also writes poetry.

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