Tim Toyama and Aaron Woolfolk's drama centers around the Goodwins, a black family looking for a new life and respite from Southern racism in Los Angeles during the early years of World War II. After their move to a home (an artfully designed set piece by J.P. Luckenbach) formerly occupied by a Japanese family that was forced to relocate to an internment camp, all seems well. Mama Jane (CeCe Antoinette) is the sharp-tongued, devout matriarch who loves to garden and has vivid memories of life as a slave. Her young and angry son Felix (Larry Powell) has hopes of becoming a musician, while his brother Jodie (Dwain A. Perry) is a simple working man with a devoted wife (Adenrele Ojo) and teen daughter (Candice Afia). But the Goodwins soon discover that they have a "guest," when Henry (Jeff Manabat) tumbles into their midst, forming a bond with his new family but also forcing Jodie to make a troubling, fateful decision that has consequences for everyone. Director Ben Guillory does a fine job directing this provocative piece. Woolfolk and Toyama's script is well-written and subtly explores philosophical and moral issues that are as relevant today as they were then. Los Angeles Theater Center, 514 S. Spring St., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through May 17. (213) 489-0994. A Robey Theatre Company production.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Sat., May 16, 3 p.m. Starts: April 17. Continues through May 17, 2009