John Henry Redwood’s “The Old Settler” is currently performing to SRO audiences at The Billie Holiday Theatre at Restoration Plaza, thanks to director Michelle Shay’s clever mounting and the play’s star performances.
Without giving too much of the plot away, playgoers are leaving the theatre with a greater appreciation for the value of love and the power of sisterhood. Audience members quickly realize that they are being teleported to another era of the 1940s. Against the headlines of riots in Detroit and a second World War in progress, the play references many controversial issues facing Black people of those times, including racial segregation.
And the powerful performances of the star cast delivers Redwood’s intentions powerfully.
Denise Burse is the eccentric Quilly, sister to Elizabeth, portrayed by Pauletta Pearson Washington; Warner Miller is Husband, and gifted newcomer Maechi Aharanwa is Lou Bessie.
All things considered, “The Old Settler” is a must-see. Just one spoiler alert: It is more than a love story, more than a race story, more than a sisterhood story. It is these and more.
Through the genius of Shay’s messaging, Redwood’s script comes alive as a timeless lesson, as relevant today as it was in the period in which it was set, some 75 years ago.
Restoration Art is to be applauded for selecting this piece – with this cast — as its premiere opening production. Brava and Encore!