Current exhibition

The Colored Museum

Voress Franklin is a lively exhibit in <i>The Colored Museum</i>.

Voress Franklin is a lively exhibit in The Colored Museum.

Rated 3.0

Celebration Arts is celebrating 10 years of bringing the arts to the community at its current theater space in East Sacramento. In honor of its decade-long commitment to highlighting multicultural theater, the center is offering a retrospective of its best works. Celebration Arts proclaims this “Encore Season,” but it’s really a primer to African-American theater. Now playing is The Colored Museum. Five more classics will follow: Fences, Stable in the Back, The Old Settler, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, and Master Harold … and the Boys.

This journey down Celebration Arts’ memory lane starts with The Colored Museum, a series of clever vignettes that delves into various aspects of black history or culture. Each of the 11 “exhibits” comes alive with sharp observations, memorable characters and a wry sense of humor.

The play starts with a smartly dressed, perky stewardess imploring you to “keep your shackles on at all times!” as she welcomes you to Celebrity Slave Ships, “departing the Gold Coast for Savannah, Ga.” Other skits look at hair issues (two wigs arguing about which is more real—straightened hair vs. a natural Afro), media image (a spoof on black sitcoms) and part-time representing (being black on weekends).

The good news about this production is the talented five-member cast, which performs under the watchful eye of director Linda S. Goodrich. Not only does the team deliver its performances with obvious affection for the material, but also each member has an incredible “show must go on” spirit.

The latter attribute is imperative to this production, which was plagued with so many technical glitches on opening night, it looked like the first run-through with the tech team. Everything went awry—the sound system, the lighting, the miscued music and the revolving stage that didn’t—creating many an awkward moment for the can-do cast and major distractions for the audience. Here’s hoping Celebration Arts can get these acts together.