Six guys, one night
Through the Night
Guild Theatre2828 35th St.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Daniel Beaty, a solo performer par excellence, has a name that may sound familiar. He first came to SN&R’s attention in the fall of 2005, when he did his one-man show Emergence-See! at a south Sacramento high school under the auspices of playwright/promoter William A. Parker. Attendance was sparse, but the show was terrific. When Beaty returned in March 2006, we gave the show our “sublime” rating, and he got further exposure through an interview on Capital Public Radio’s Insight program.
Beaty took Emergence-See! to the Public Theater in New York City in the fall of 2006, where the show enjoyed a sold-out, extended run. He earned a 2007 Obie Award for excellence in off-Broadway theater for writing and performing. A tour followed and the award count mounted as Beaty picked up the 2007 Scotsman Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh International Festival, and two Helen Hayes Award nominations in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Lisa Lacy’s Images Theatre Company, Beaty also brought the show back to Sacramento in 2007 for two well-attended performances at the Benvenuti Performing Arts Center in Natomas. Last year, Emergence-See! (retitled Emergency) had a sold-out seven-week run at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Beaty also got two NAACP Theatre Awards, including Best Actor.
But he’s not a one-show wonder. Beaty has been working on other projects. A new play for multiple actors, titled Resurrection, premiered last year in the nation’s capital, followed by productions in other cities. And he also collaborated in an orchestral work titled Darwin’s Meditation for the People of Lincoln, which premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and then toured. In addition, Beaty wrote a family musical called Trippin’, and he has another musical in development called Breath & Imagination, about Roland Hayes, the first African-American classical vocalist of world renown, singing spirituals.
Now we get to see his new solo show, Through the Night, which he’s bringing to the Guild Theater in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood on Friday and Saturday. Again, he’s being produced and presented by Images Theatre Company.
“Through the Night is the story of six interconnected African-American males, between the ages of 10 and 60—one per decade—and the people who love them and support them and challenge them as they take it through the night,” Beaty said. “I play 11 different characters. There are no costume changes. The transformation happens through changes in my body, voice and emotional intention. The play takes place over the course of a single day. We first encounter the characters in the morning, travel with them to 6 p.m., then midnight and the following morning.”
Beaty’s six guys are a slice of society: The 10-year-old is a brilliant child scientist. The 20-year-old is a kid from the projects, on his way to college. Just released from prison, the 30-year-old is reintegrating into society. The 40-year-old is a corporate executive, the 50-year-old runs a health-food store in the ’hood and the 60-year-old is the bishop of a megachurch. “And they’re all interconnected, either by blood or community association,” said Beaty. “It’s sociopolitical in nature. I endeavor to use a lot of humor.”