Barbershops can be likened to the headquarters of human life: Every type of individual–from the street hustler to the CEO, from the student to the child–meets the revolving “seat of the soul,” in the course of a day. In the late Ola Rotimi’s Holding Talks (pictured above), this usually active gathering place becomes the center of the very absence of life; and a symbol of the reduction of action, to mere words. In the play, a dead man–who lies on his back for much of the performance–is further despoiled by the negligible banter of two characters who do nothing to prevent his demise. Directed by Kole Heyward-Rotimi, the renowned playwright’s son and founder of The Rotimi Foundation, the play is the first in a series of measures established to present African arts to the Triangle (and nation), and to further advance the dreams of the former Nigerian playwright. “I picked it because it required a small cast and most Nigerian theater requires a large cast,” says Heyward-Rotimi, of his decision to introduce this particular one of his father’s plays to Triangle audiences. “The other reason was that É it is universal in its appeal: Even though it was written about Nigerian politics in the ’70s, it’s universal to mankind–people still spend time talking about situations and not necessarily acting on them.” Local actor John Murphy gives a convincing performance as the “man,” and is joined by Thaddeus Edwards, who plays the unsophisticated barber’s apprentice. Catch the ill-fated dealings at the PSI Theater, 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (Thursday’s performance will include a reception); 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday, Aug. 31. $15. 680-6237 for tickets and information.