She Calls Up the Sun, Ma'at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre, at Victory Gardens Theater. So intimate is this MPAACT production of Addae Moon's intense family drama that you almost expect a rum-quaffing character to hand you a drink. Live guitar accompaniment adds to the steamy southern atmosphere. Underscoring the redemptive qualities and inevitable tensions of love, the play pits the romance of the road against the music of home.
Although the piece purports to center on a daughter's indecision and sense of inadequacy after her mother's death, it is decidedly about the yearnings of men and the choices they make: the wanderer's longing for a home to ease his restless spirit and the homebound lover's fear of losing his edge and never testing his potential. The play takes place in a cloudy coastal Florida town from which all but a few men have fled. The womenfolk have learned to fend for themselves. Schoolteacher Marie Williams (Taylar) returns to town to be at her dying mother's side. Her fiance (Sean Nix) follows but begins to feel landlocked. Existential discomfort becomes outright disruption when a specter from the past forces them to confront issues of insecurity and loss.
The script is moving, more powerful than most of the performances. Darryl Charisse stands out as the all-knowing Miss Claire, who holds court from a bench on the corner of Nostalgia Road and Cassandra Lane, watching over the town's citizens.