Secrets revealed and love tested in Horizon Theatre's 'The Light'
In Horizon Theatre’s production of “The Light,” an unexpected marriage proposal goes awry. Rashad and Genesis should be celebrating this new chapter in their lives, but things begin to unravel when the truth is revealed. Marguerite Hannah is Horizon’s associate artistic producer and directs this play. She joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom and actor Cynthia D. Barker, who portrays Genesis.
Experiencing ‘The Light‘:
“It is a real-time ride,” said Hannah. “The door opens, Genesis arrives home from work, and when the show ends, we have sat with this couple for the next, maybe, hour and 15 minutes of their life. So there is this urgency and realness that we don’t often get to see in theater…. It makes audiences lean in because when you see real-time, you also are able to see your own life.”
“For the first two-thirds of the play, I believe, you want to be part of that couple. It is this loving ride that… you can tell they love each other. They’re laughing. They’re joking. They’re kidding with each other. This is on track to be one of the best days of their life… until they don’t understand each other in that moment until he can’t hear fast enough to understand what she is trying to say to him,” Hannah said. “The play gives men and women an opportunity to see how we derail ourselves.”
How Barker replicates complicated love with her co-star, Enoch King:
“Enoch is my best friend. We have been friends for 14 years, and if I’m honest, I feel like the past 14 years of our friendship, of growing and getting to know each other, has just built the intimacy and the trust that is needed to play Rashad and Genesis,” said Barker. “We’ve worked together several times, played opposite each other. His character is often in love with my character, and my character shuns him. This is the first time where I actually reciprocate our love.”
A real-life backstory inspiring the play’s central drama:
“It was 2016, and Nate Parker’s film [‘The Birth of a Nation’] was coming out… and then it came out that some years prior, I don’t know dates, he and his college roommate or a friend had been accused of rape,” explained Barker. “To my understanding, Lloyd Webb, our playwright, loved Nate Parker and loved his work, and she found herself really conflicted about what to do with those allegations and also her love for this man and his work.”
She continued, “I think we all find ourselves in those situations. We know people from their work. And the things that they do in the world, and the things that they do for the community, and then we hear things about who they might be as a person, and then you go, ‘Well, what? You did this really, really great thing. But I’ve also heard that you may have done this really, really terrible thing. So what do I do with those great things? What do I do with you?’”
“The Light” is on stage at Horizon Theatre Company through April 17. Tickets and more information are available at https://www.horizontheatre.com/plays/the-light/