The curtains part for Act 2 and we see Betto is up to some mischief. He enters the magic vagina himself and we see his silhouette ripping his skin off. The portal is spun around and Betto is revealed in his new black skin. Its just like Spider-Man 3. But instead of turning emo, he just got crankier.
Sesom and crew stumble upon some weird black orbs when Betto comes in and the orbs hatch. CONFRONTATION!
and the Vegans are left mutilated and Sesom alone. He seeks refuge and is consoled by Painter. They do a little “Thelma & Louise” hand-holding and go unleash an ass whomping on Betto and his ninja posse. Somehow they manage to overpower Betto, but like Daniel-San in Karate Kid 2 they spare his life. So all of the remaining characters dance around in celebration of the truce. This is a condensed, tongue-in-cheek, run through of the second act, but I think it mimics Nikki Moore’s assessment of the narrative becoming “too heavy to carry its own weight”. After all of the happy dancing Betto stands front and center. A Color Baby shimmies by and Betto grabs hold and chokes it until it goes limp. The lights go down.
End Act 2. The movements were notable. Keeping a close eye on Sesom and Betto revealed them to be pigeon-toed and splay-footed, respectively. These details described the characters figuratively as Sesom appeared clumsy and naive while Betto projected a brash confidence. The rest of the troupe added quirks to their Vegan, but were inconsistent as they did most of the larger choreography.
The lack of dialogue was a plus. Without it, you are forced to “read” with your senses. That is of course if you are not tainted by the program notes. I believe I have expressed my disdain for literature supplanting and even justifying an ill considered work before. It sounds to me that the disappointment in the Cult of Color’s narrative might be linked to the information provided in the program notes. Although very present, the story was not as simple as black vs white or black & white vs color. For me the heart of the story laid in the mound-meat. It was like a drug. It caused ecstasy for those in search of happiness and it angered the one who had no interest. Maybe because I had just watched the remake of John Water’s Hairspray the week before, but it seemed to reflect upon changes and the differences that come with change. Some embraced the change and others didn’t. There is a back and forth between the opposing views and it ends with everyone coming to terms. Although the resistance to change was not entirely abolished, merely hidden.
I said that I was thinking ’bout cartoons since the Vegans reminded me of Smurfs. I must refute the simplicity of the good versus evil description. The format of the storyline was familiar, formulaic even. But like the great Saturday morning entertainment, it is within this structure that the meat of the story clings to. Yes the hero saves the day, you can even say that the villain escapes to fight another day, but that’s just background for what I consider the message of the story. I’m not saying the dichotomies are not there. They are there to contrast the choices made. But it is the choices that you should take away.
So here I am after choosing not to read the program before watching the production, I am now looking over character profiles and the program. There is more info than necessary. But you know, choices.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.