A Punk or a Gentleman: Off Broadway Theatre Review by Sarah Moss


Sometimes, the ordinary is extraordinary. Such is “A Punk or a Gentleman” presented for its world premiere by the Theater for the New City, inviting the audience into an ironic ten-character tale of an abused womanizer named Darren. In the height of the repercussions of the Me Too Movement, playwright Andrea J. Fulton and director Kymbali Craig take a lot of liberties in creatively portraying a seemingly ordinary middle-aged, middle-class, black man who loves women a little too much and a little too many of them at the same time, who is also coincidentally a victim of domestic abuse.

The play explores the intricacies facing the everyday life of Darren and his not so ordinary love life and the secret abuse he has faced from his relationships with women, dating back to his childhood and his own mother. Darren is a smooth wordsmith played by Allen Craig Harris, who was very entertaining and believable in the role.  Masked by the scars on his face are the scars that lie deep in his psyche preventing him from seeking a healthy relationship with a woman. Our protagonist is married to his fourth wife and on his way to either a divorce or worse if his reckless regard for marriage and commitment continues.  Gwen, his female confidant and former postal co-worker, seems to think his problems are stemming from his animalistic desire to seek and conquer, and that he loves the chase and then loses interest when he conquers, and the women in turn lose respect for him.

Darren’s philandering is no secret, it seems as if everyone in his neighborhood is aware of his inappropriate conduct with his hot new fling, Sharice. Darren appears to purposely taunt his wife, Dezarray, by inviting Sharice to star in his own home surveillance tapes. As expected, Dezarray is not too pleased to learn of her husband’s pursuits of another woman. However, what was not expected was her sheer disdain and manic response to his behavior…Annie Oakley had nothing on Dezarray’s gun slinging. After seeing flashbacks to his childhood, we realize his behavior towards romantic love was convoluted by an abusive relationship with his own mother. Darren’s parents’ struggles in their intimate relationship left his mother wanting her son to be tougher than his father and as a result justifying physically abusing him, in order to make him a “real” man. Darren is left with a warped intertwined view of love and physical abuse.

While watching the show, I had the pleasure of sitting behind Ms. Fulton and delighting in experiencing how much amusement she extolled in enjoying her own work. Her investment was appreciated by all attendees, as laughter filled the theatre. The laughter was needed, as the somber reality of maternal abuse and the impact it has had on young men does need more attention and understanding. Bravo to the immensely talented cast and crew and to Ms. Fulton for bringing to the forefront an awakening to a topic often hidden behind scars.

The show runs through May 20th.  Visit http://theaterforthenewcity.net/apunkoragentleman.html

Set Design by Mark Marcante & Lytza Colon, Lights and Sound by Duane Pagano, Costume Design by Kathy Roberson

Cast:  Allen Craig Harris, Denise Fair-Grant, Alicia Foxworth, Doug Walker, Guy V. Barfield, Daisy Lee Sprauve, Anthony Graham, Illona S. Dixon, Kymbali Craig, Yvette Wyatt, Casey Gordon

For National Mental Health Month, the show is presenting a Talkback after the May 18th, 8pm performance, featuring:

Mr. Brett A. Scudder, Mental Health Advocate & Founder of SISFI, Suicide Prevention Foundation.

Ms. Maria Luna, Crime Victim Advocate, Safe Horizon victim assistance organization.

Police Officer Name TBD, NY Police Department, Domestic Violence Unit.

Evangelist Lynette Shelbourne-Barfield, St. John Baptist Church of Arverne Queens, NY

 

  1. One Response to “A Punk or a Gentleman: Off Broadway Theatre Review by Sarah Moss”

  2. I really enjoyed my sisters play a punk or a gentleman she is lifting the veil of spousal abuse from the mail slide because she has vision and I hope the conversation keeps flowing because with that comes healing and solutions Andrea makes our family proud

    By Sheldon Fulton on May 20, 2018

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