With Two River Theater’s current staging of August Wilson’s “King Hedley II,” the Red Bank company has reached the halfway mark inproducing the 10-plays that comprise the playwright’s American Century Cycle.
Actor Brandon J. Dirden, whose career includes TV, Broadway and five plays here (two by Wilson), has done an outstanding job once again with a superb cast of six very accomplished actors and a skilled technical team.
For now, Brandon J. Dirden is an actor who also directs plays.But maybe not for long. He might be transitioning into a director who also acts.
Dirden, 39, is the son of actor Willie Dirden, older brother to actor Jason Dirden, is married to actress Crystal Dickinson and they have a 4-year-old son he calls a “theater rat” because he spends so much time in them.
“Raisin in the Sun” opens tonight at the Two River Theater Company in Red Bank with a cast that would do a Broadway production proud. It includes Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger), Nat DeWolf (Karl Lindner), Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Brandon J. Dirden(Walter Lee Younger), Willie Dirden (Bobo), Charlie Hudson III (Joseph Asagai), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger), Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger), and York Walker (George Murchison). Andrew Binger and David Joel Rivera play the Moving Men.
But Judith, an earnest, well-educated white woman in Ruben Santiago-Hudson‘s exciting new play “Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine,” believes she can. Zeke, a black man working at a homeless shelter, knows that she can not.
This is the fulcrum on which this play revolves. Like an approaching tornado, the 100-minute play begins calmly. But soon we feel a change in the air as an ill wind begins to pick up. Before you know it the tempest hits full force — metaphorically twisting words and meanings and intent — before it quickly passes leaving bewilderment and resentment in its wake. It’s a wild ride that ends too quickly and without resolution.