George Street Playhouse (GSP), in New Brunswick, New Jersey, presents a play that is an all-too familiar story, ripped from the headlines and the soul. Christopher Demos-Brown’s “American Son” brings the blood and fire of the world that we live in right to our doorstep, in a way that is undeniably arresting, in every sense of the word.
Kendra Ellis-Connor (Suzanne Douglas) knows her son: Jamal is as regular as clockwork. Just turned 18, he is just weeks away from leaving for West Point to begin college. When he does not return home at midnight, as he usually does, Kendra’s fears begin rapidly to take root. We find her in a waiting room at the Miami-Dade Police Department, in purgatory, as she waits for a crumb of information. When Officer Paul Larkin (Mark Junek) comes in, he’s a corn-fed rangy white man speaking to a black woman and telling her nothing. Kendra is a tiger where her son is concerned, and she browbeats and cajoles Larkin to find out more. It is not until her husband, white FBI agent Scott Connor (John Bolger), arrives that we find out exactly what Larkin does and doesn’t know, in a spectacular scene that you must see.
Everyone is waiting for liaison officer John Stokes. Connor explodes when Stokes (Mark Kenneth Smaltz) finally arrives, and the scene goes upside down quickly.
We have sons, or friends with sons, who share Kendra and Scott’s dreams, hopes, worries, and fears, for the young men themselves and for the world where we all grow up to become adults. This is 90 minutes of wearing out the edge of your seat, and the play itself, director David Saint’s final play in GSP’s current space, is something that will be present in your thoughts for days after you see it. It is truly a tale for our times.
This play runs through February 26. Flowers fade and cards take up space. Give someone an afternoon or evening of dynamic and deeply thoughtful theatre–it is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Visit www.GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org
today and get your tickets now!