Wine in the Wilderness

New Traditions Theatre
Common Ground Theatre
Through March 29

Just how “country” is Barbette Hunter’s character in Wine in the Wilderness? Not country enough under John Harris’ direction, I’m afraid, to sufficiently differentiate her from the alleged big city denizens depicted here. Playwright Alice Childress’ poignant remembrance of the early 1960s depicts an African-American society riddled with schismsurban versus rural, feminism versus sexism, and revolution versus, seemingly, everything else. Sooner or later in Bill’s apartment almost everyone sees someone they think is “holding the race back”and as a result, each gets lost in the intra-cultural stereotype slapped on them. Harris highlights the ideological differences of the period while getting at his characters’ foibles. Still, Steffon Sharpless and Trevor Johnson’s characters seemed too thin on stage, while Geraud Staton’s too young Old Timer relied more on caricature than characterization. Keep working.

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