Straight, no chaser
Bourbon at the Border
Sacramento, CA 95819
The stage is a complicated place to exist. Scenes must be set correctly; the lights, sound and cues must be followed to the letter; and most errors will be magnified, on display for a room full of people focused intently on the stage.
Happily, Celebration Arts has teamed with Melinda Wilson Ramey, a Sacramento State University theater professor, to bring about its latest production, Pearl Cleage’s Bourbon at the Border.
It’s 1995, but the memories of the civil rights movement of the 1960s are still fresh for May (Brooklynn Solomon) and Charlie (Andre Ramey). Through friendship and camaraderie, they and their friends must come to terms with some awful truths, including decisions that hearken back to a past filled with horror.
Cameron Johnson takes the cake as wily friend Tyrone. His timing is pitch perfect, and he works seamlessly with the language and tone of the play.
Solomon and Andre Ramey are as strong as they can be, but both are at least a decade-and-a-half younger than the characters they portray. While it doesn’t sound like a lot, the plot centers on people talking about the ’60s in the ’90s; here it’s obvious the actors are not old enough to remember it.
Still, Bourbon at the Border is a dark and beautiful journey through the lives of these people, and Celebration Arts and director Ramey have shown that journey well.