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Finding Oneself in “Plenty of Time”

Love over the years

Love over the years

“Plenty of Time,” performed by the actors Traci Tolmaire and Jackie Alexander, is a Woodie King production featured at the Castillo/All Stars Theatre, located at 543 West   42nd Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues) in Manhattan.

Written by John Shevin Foster and directed by actor Jackie Alexander, “Plenty of Time,” introduces us to the characters Corey and Christina, two unlikely companions, from different backgrounds who meet in Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard.  Oak Bluff serves as the summer vacation spot for generations of affluent black folks who own cottages and Victorian homes perched on cliffs offering panoramic views of the coastal line.  It is here that the black aristocracy gather together, inviting one another to dinner parties where they spend pleasant evenings together boasting of their accomplishments; occasionally even taking a ferry ride to Providence, Rhode Island just an hour away.

 It is within this serene climate that Christina and Corey meet.  Christiana is from wealth and Corey is working over the summer as a bus boy.  To impress Christiana he invites a fantasy name, claiming to be a Black Panther.  He is none of those things, although he reads about the Panthers and supports their efforts.  The year is 1968.  Christina is looking for a quick overnighter and has no plans to see Corey past the summer…if indeed even past that one night.  She is spoiled and directionless, but suspects her affluence will place her in some good job until she decides what she likes.  Corey for all his talk, ends up in the military.

 In Plenty of Time, we see two married people, who are not married to one another, having an affair over the course of 43 years.  Both Chris and Corey meet every year at Martha’s Vineyard for a weekend rendezvous.

In the first scene, the play moves rather slowly with one wondering where the production is heading.   But in the sequential scenes it picks up and the viewer becomes witness to how time molds and changes the nature of these two individuals floating on the current of time.  The character we think has all the advantage is less secure than the one who started off less fortunate.  The most significant change is in Christina who later chooses to be called Chris.  Chris morphs from a spoiled brat to a woman who finds her heart by encouraging Cory to find his way and to accept his gay son.  In doing so, Chris finds her own way as a successful writer.  Once a year, the two meet over the passage of years telling themselves their meetings are merely a diversion.  Time eventually leads them to love.

“Plenty of Time” is a play about self-discovery and awakening.  We follow the characters from the age of 17 until they are in their 60s.  Through hairdo changes and diverse clothing styles, and fading hair color, we follow this couple to the year 2011, wherein they must make a decision that affects their lives.  We know they have children and spouses but we cannot help but root for them as they navigate the passage of time.

About the Author

Journalist and radio host, Deardra Shuler, has a background in publishing, theatre, concert promotion, producing and was the former PR chairman of FESPACO, an African film festival in Burkino Faso. She reviews books, plays, theater and movies. Her short story was published by Penquin Books in Aurielle Ford's book "Mystical Souvenirs." Deardra has her own blog under Writblog and writes for several African American publications in New York. She has a column and radio show in Sweden entitled Music Pastures. Her show Topically Yours is on the Blakeradio Network, Rainbow Soul. She also produces and facilitates other radio programs that she has brought to the BlakeRadio network.

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