Photo by Don Kellogg

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Her Portmanteau

This is Part II (actually we skip a few of her plays to #4) of Mfoniso Udofia's The Ufot Cycle - Her Portmanteau.   On a creative note - the title is a word that means both a large suitcase (such as one that both a mother and daughter may have traveled to America with) - AND even more interestingly - a word that means the combination of two other words such as brunch (breakfast and lunch) or podcast (iPod and broadcast).  Very creatively both are relevant here because this is a story of two families who will come together from very different sets of circumstances and that piece of luggage you see will be very meaningful too.

We've skipped a few years ahead. Abasiama (now Jenny Jules) has married Disciple and started another family in America.  The baby, Iniabasi Ekpeyoung (Adepero Oduye), she gave to Ukpong to raise back in Nigeria (because he had to leave America when he messed up his education) is now an adult and wants to come to America to see her mother and the rest of her family.  Abasiama arranges a meeting in New York City at her American daughter's, Adiagha Ufot (now Chinasa Ogbuagu's) apartment.  Everyone is on pins and needles.  Sparks are quickly extinguished when they start to fly, tensions are high and years of unspoken words come pouring out from all parties.

This play is much more intense, direct, and shorter than the first and even as short as it was there are two scenes that are needlessly long and drawn out.  This one could be approximately 85-90 minutes max and could really pack a punch.  I think the creatives love their words and drama a bit too much and need to trim things down for a focused, powerful, and punch-to-the-gut two part series.