Sunday, February 25, 2024

Fringe Review: It’s A Beautiful Day for Brunch and to Arrest the Cops That Killed Breonna Taylor

Who: Afterlife Theatre
What: It’s A Beautiful Day for Brunch and to Arrest the Cops that Killed Breonna Taylor
Length: 30 Minutes
Where: Hamilton Fringe Festival Digital Exclusives
When: July 15-25, 2021
Tickets: From $5 -$20 via the Hamilton Fringe Festival Box Office

When it comes to purposefully developing a cringe comedy, there’s a fine line for creators to tread between hilarity and genuine uncomfortableness. Afterlife Theatre’s It’s A Beautiful Day for Brunch and to Arrest the Cops that Killed Breonna Taylor manages to not only tread this line, but joyfully dance upon it, taking the audience for an enjoyable ride.

A critical and careful examination of the domination of media sensationalism and slacktivism, particularly in light of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, It’s A Beautiful Day presents a montage of short vignettes consisting of well-known headlines, viral Instagram posts and trendy mass emails sent by major corporations to demonstrate a level of caring, and quickly forces the audience to ask whether simply caring is enough when faced with life and death situations. The primary focus of the production becomes the interjecting voices of Roselyne Dougé-Charles, Carly Anna Billings, Liz Whitbread and Patrick Teed which offer historical context (from speeches by Frederick Douglass) cleverly mixed with popular culture, re-emphasizing the show’s point that those with a voice or platform need to use it for action, and not slacktivism.

It’s A Beautiful Day is well-thought out for a digital medium and considers the attention span and interest of a virtual audience. However, it could use a finer attention to detail in the selection of some of its images and videos, and finer editing, as the theme and central points become repetitive near the end of the production. The finale takes a stark turn away from comedy with a needed, but serious, openly critical monologue at its end, which seems in conflict with the rest of the presentation. Regardless, this is a strong offering from Afterlife Theatre that raises critical questions that should not just be talked about by viewers and performers, but actually acted upon.

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