Random Acts is a play with music. Actress should be comfortable with movement and playing a variety of characters.
from Random Acts
She slaps my face. I swear! She hits my head. I’m sorry! She kicks my shin. I didn’t mean it! The more I try to talk the more I cry, and the madder she gets. She kicks my back. I hug my knees. I’m in the dirt, the part between the sidewalk and the curb. My hood is crooked, but I can see the top of my knees.
My tights, there’s a rip. Is that blood? Mom’s gonna be so mad. There are so many feet. Brown pants, white socks, Mary Janes with bobby socks, loafers, no socks, brown socks. Blue pants, saddle shoes. Everybody knows. A hand grabs my foot and pulls. I pull it back.
Hey, what’s going on here?
This white girl was messin’ with my sister!
Come on, Denise. Leave the ‘lil girl alone. Come on, ya’ll, get to school. Yeah, you heard me. Come on, ya’ll, break it up, you too Denise. (He holds as he watches her walk past)
Lil girl, you alright?
Come on now – you alright. (beat) ‘Lil girl, you ain’t done nothin’ wrong. You talk to who you want to talk to, and you walk with who you want to walk with. Hear me? Come on now, you alright. Get to school. Go on, now. Don’t be late.
ITN Review by Julia Lee Barclay-Morton
Renata Hinrichs' extraordinary one-woman show Random Acts playing now as part of the United Solo Festival is a moving account of her childhood in the late 1960s in the Chicago, during a time of racial strife in which she became a victim as a very young girl, attacked for being white. She was saved from more violence by an older African American boy whom she heard defend her, but did not see before he left. This one moment then resonates through her early childhood in Chicago and teenage years in Minneapolis, until she brings us up to how this incident affects her in the present day.
Hinrichs' is a vibrant, engaging performer (and fabulous writer) of her own story. Her director Camille Saviola has helped her shape a riveting story that had this reviewer in tears for the final 15 minutes. As someone who is not prone to crying in theaters, this was a surprise.
From a child's point of view (through which we see most of the show - a presentation that is neither sentimental nor cloying but charming, humorous and imbued with magical thinking - in other words, like a real child), Hinrichs shows us the riots that began after Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot. Her father is a Lutheran pastor in a marginal neighborhood, and their family is targeted by both whites (for being "nigger lovers") and African Americans (for being white). The most dangerous violence, Hinrichs is clear, comes from the white community, and the fatalities - including a teenage boy she fears is the one who helped her - are African American.
The tragic relevance of Hinrichs' piece (in 1968-9) to the situation in Ferguson, Missouri (2014) along with Hinrichs' inability to bridge the racial divide even as she tries throughout her life to do so, makes clear the complexities and depth of the problem we face in this country with racism. However, she also shows us people struggling, however imperfectly, to reach across both sides of this chasm.
(Oct 13, 2014)