Oscar E Moore

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Charlayne Woodard in The Night Watcher at Primary Stages

October 7th, 2009 by Oscar E Moore

Every care has been taken, no detail overlooked to enhance the phenomenal performance of Charlayne Woodard in her solo play “The Night Watcher” which is unlike any other solo performance piece I have ever seen.  It’s exceptional.  She is exceptional.  Charlayne Woodard is that rare actress who can become any one of the characters she is portraying in a split second, her voice and body inhabiting the human spirit of those she becomes right before our eyes.

From the refined and assured direction of Daniel Sullivan, to the open and welcoming set by Charlie Corcoran and Thomas Lynch that is bathed in the most beautiful lighting by Geoff Korf to the jazz inspired music and sound design by Obadiah Eaves to the perfect projections by Tal Yarden to her simple and yet colorful costume by Jess Goldstein – the entire creative team has come up with an enveloping wrap that Charlayne Woodard wears with love and affection in her most original take on motherhood.  They have given her a beautiful space in order to be free.  Free to express her feelings about the children she never had, by choice, but was involved with over the years – not always by choice.

She is humble and tough and grounded and wise as she weaves her tale of truth and understanding of what it takes to be a mother or an aunt or a god mother with humor and bittersweet remembrances. 

The show is in two acts.  Each about an hour long.  An odd choice for a solo show.  But it pays off.  It even leaves you wanting to hear more – an incredible achievement.  The individual vignettes are in themselves complete three act plays which are unexpectedly original and amusing and filled with the philosophy that makes Charlayne Woodard first choice, sometimes over the biological parents, for her nephews and nieces and young friends to confide their secrets so that she can inadvertently help. 

Frank talk about sex, self esteem, teen pregnancy, her dog Max, her husband, mother, various friends and their children and rudeness permeate the beautifully written script which just so happens to be penned by the magical Charlayne Woodard.  Is there anything she can’t do?  She exhibits her vocal, dancing, karate and rap skills.  She is both mother and child – seeing the world through everyone’s eyes.  It’s a difficult world sometimes but Charlayne always has some choices to give as a way to cope.

See this magnificent performance.  “The Night Watcher” is brimming with brilliance.  Find out who Charlayne Woodard is and be taken on her journey of introspection and enlightenment.  I think you will come to realize that she could very well be the mother of us all.

www.primarystages.org   Tickets $60.00

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