by Paula Citron.
Written by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Philip Akin
Starring Raven Dauda, Kevin Hanchard, Alex Poch-Goldin, Marium Carvell, Carly Street and Lisa Berry
At Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs until Feb. 3.
In Intimate Apparel, African-American playwright Lynn Nottage has fashioned a compelling and richly layered look at New York society in 1905 as seen through the eyes of black seamstress Esther Mills played magnificently by Raven Dauda.
Esther is a successful designer of women’s lingerie. Her clients include the upper crust and prostitutes, and her fabrics come from a Rumanian-Jewish immigrant.
It is how Esther interacts with these people that we find out about her, and about them. This cross-pollination of society allows Nottage to make far-ranging observations about the human condition that both titillate and irritate.
George Armstrong played by Kevin Hanchard is a worker building the Panama Canal. When he proposes from afar, Esther accepts.
And so the trap is sprung, where lies become truth, emotions distorted and communications tangled. Director Philip Akin is to be congratulated on his casting choices because his actors are perfection for the roles.
Intimate Apparel continues at Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs until Feb. 3.