DR. DU BOIS AND MISS OVINGON
Los Angeles Theatre Center
Opens: April 20, 2017
Closes: May 21, 2017
W.E.B. Du Bois, Ph.D., and Mary White “May” Ovington are co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The organization is just five years old on a Sunday morning in June, 1915, when Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington are the sole occupants of the NAACP office in New York. Du Bois is Black. Miss Ovington is white. Both are opposed to the oppression of people of color. Dr. Du Bois is intent on resigning from the NAACP, infuriated by the condescension and opposition he has received from white board members of the organization. Miss Ovington believes such a move would be disastrous both for himself and the organization, and she attempts to dissuade him from what she is convinced is a destructive course of action. Complicating matters is the pair’s evident attraction to each other, a relationship that would be widely condemned in 1915. Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington is fascinating examination of two historical figures, flesh-and-blood human beings, whose actions would impact the lives of millions of people for generations to come.
"Guillory’s Dubois is reserved and focused, and Melanie Cruz as Miss Ovington just doesn’t get any better. She is truly a joy to behold and handles writer Clare Coss’ words — which comes across in a more period piece kind of way, wonderfully. Ovington, though careful at times not to over-step does manage to make her opinions known to Du Bois in a rather lady-like, non-threatening way. He appreciates her as an “inspiration.” But oh boy, the spark that just can’t help but fly when hands touch. Very nice set and costume design by Thomas Meleck and Naila A. Sanders respectively."
"The play is well constructed in its development of the characters, with Du Bois coming across as the fiery strategist and Ovington as the cool tactician while giving an insightful and workable history of each. Coss also provides a tidy history of the establishment of the NAACP as well as a firm sense of the racial tensions of the time."
"Ben Guillory is majestic as Du Bois, dominating the action with his presence and strong voice. Melanie Cruz, as Ovington, subtly reveals the inner strength of a woman of strong principle."
"The biggest positive of all is that Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington inspires thought and reflection. And when an evening of theatre can encourage you to look into an age-old universal problem, and hopefully add your voice to the solution, that’s time well-spent."
"Guillory’s staging and Thomas Meleck’s impeccable set evoke an authentic feel of the times, while Coss’s heartfelt but at times expository script gives us a rare glimpse of two people who, despite their differences in race and gender, embraced a struggle that still cries out for unity."