You enter the theatre space with the walls covered floor to ceiling with white sheets of paper, all related to police reports. Rap music blasts in the background.
The lights dim. There is the blaring sound of police car sirens and gunshots in the background.
The lights come up to reveal a lone black woman sitting center stage, telling the story of her unarmed teenage son being gunned down by a policeman.
Author Andrew Case and director Tyler Dobrowsky sure know how to get your attention.
For the next 90 minutes, four accomplished actors will hold your attention and challenge your perception of the truth from many perspectives.
“The Rant” is raw, riveting theatre that will challenge your beliefs and points of view, and encourage you to dig deep within yourself before jumping to conclusions.
Kym Gomes, in her first role at Gamm, draws immediate sympathy from the audience in her moving account of witnessing her son’s death.
Local actor Amos Hamrick is volatile and passionate as the black cop who was on the scene and is aggressively interrogated by a police investigator (Niki Massoud). Massoud, a graduate of the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Acting Company, is an actor to be watched, gaining our interest and sympathy as she deals with a variety of emotions while trying to get at the truth.
Rounding out the cast is Artistic Director Tony Estrella as the cynical reporter who challenges the story at every turn. Estrella is perfect for the role. Then again, he seems to be perfect for any role he plays.
Dobrowsky’s direction is right on. All four characters have soliloquies, not an easy task to pull off in a play other than Shakespeare. They also have scenes of one-on-one confrontation that are so realistic and powerful that your mind and body go numb trying to determine what is the truth.
Making the production even better is the powerful ending to this powerful play. Yes, this is a story about race. And it is very current as we pick up the newspaper and turn on the TV to see what is happening around us. But it is also a lesson in perception and belief, right and wrong, simplicity and complexity, power and lack of power, fear and intimidation.
“The Rant,” by the way, is an online message board within the police station, where the cops have a chance to rant. This play will surely make you rant for seeking justice and the truth.
“TheRant” is at Gamm Theatre, 172 Exchange St., Pawtucket, through December 13. Tickets are $41-$49. A number of free public forums have been planned to discuss the social, political and judicial dilemmas surrounding the play. Call 723-4266 for reservations or information.