Stop the violence

Zooman and the Sign

Zooman and the Sign: Romann Hodge is the nuttiest dude in the ’burbs.

Zooman and the Sign: Romann Hodge is the nuttiest dude in the ’burbs.

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Guild Theatre

2828 35th St.
Sacramento, CA 95817

(916) 732-4673

Rated 4.0

“I carry a gun and a knife.”

That’s the glowering boast from Zooman (fierce looking Romann Hodge), a hoodlum with a hair-trigger temper. He shows no regret when a 12-year-old girl gets killed because she happened to be nearby while he confronted a rival. Zooman coolly asserts it’s not his fault: “She shouldn’t have been out there.”

The girl’s father (Rob Anthony) is infuriated when nobody offers evidence to the police. So he posts a sign: “The killers of our daughter are free … because our neighbors will not identify them.”

This in-your-face moral challenge drives Charles Fuller’s pointed drama-with-a-message. The script won an Obie (Off-Broadway Theater) Award in 1980, and this play about random urban violence remains timely.

Fuller peppers the dialogue with pointed observations. The dead girl’s mother (Charla Johnson) becomes frantic when her teenage son (Jeremi Roberts) gets a gun and contemplates revenge. Zooman claims, “If a black kills a black, and they don’t catch you right away, they liable to forget about it.”

The show, directed by Lisa Lacy, has rough edges, including haphazard lighting and sound on opening night. But this low-budget production connects on the strength of the story and several heartfelt performances.