Center Stage: ‘Cave’ runs through April 8 at Theatre Conspiracy
Whatever you do, do not miss Theatre Conspiracy’s latest offering, the world premiere of Jeff Lindsay’s powerful play, “Cave!”
Playwright Jeff Lindsay is best known for his award-winning bestseller crime novels featuring vigilante Dexter Morgan (best known as the “Dexter” novels, which were also the inspiration for his Showtime and CBS Series “Dexter”.) Lindsay approached Bill Taylor to premiere his latest endeavor a play titled “Cave,” which in my estimation is just on the beginning of its journey to fame and recognition.
“Cave” takes place during the height of the Civil War in of all places an underground cave. Cassie (Marie Baptiste) a freed slave realizes the power and the awesome possibilities of what it means to be “free”. She becomes a “different version of myself” a lady. Not only a lady but a lady living in Boston, where educated, intellectuals live. All alone in her cave she practices reading out loud in a “white” way of talking and analyzing what she is reading and a “white” way of thinking. But no matter how “white” she thinks or talks the demeaning memories of slavery and serving her white masters, their belittling of her, raping her both physically and mentally cannot be totally erased, or the anger that still holds her captive.
Despite all this Cassie is on the road to becoming a new person and begins sermonizing to herself. Suddenly Brandon (Jordan Wilson) a blind Confederate soldier desperately in need of kindness, stumbles into the cave. Though Brandon wounded as he is in both mind and body, he lets Cassie know in no uncertain terms that “all niggers are nothing but savages like the animals in the jungles they come from.” But from the tone and seeming manners that Cassie exhibits he knows her to be a true white lady, he falls in love with. In this playwright’s skillful hands all the dialogue between Cassie and Brandon play as beautifully as a love scene from Shakespeare and just as truthfully. Now how the writer accomplishes this is even better than a mystery novel. It has been a long time since I’ve been this caught up and shaken by a playwright.
But to continue, at the end of Act I a third character makes his entrance a onetime Quaker turned Union Soldier Timothy (Michael Pineda) accidently falls into the cave. Timothy becomes the catalyst for revealing the ugly truths not only about the horrors of war but also the truths about how being a white, rich, Boston educated, lapsed Quaker doesn’t make you a better person or someone to emulate or admire. As a matter of fact, Timothy is more of a savage than beast living in a jungle. Timothy is bound and determined to not only reveal the truth about Cassie and destroy Brandon’s happiness, he becomes all the ugliness personified, in the so called “white master race.”
The tension of Act II is a match of moral verses immoral right to the end. This is where playwright best demonstrates his enormous mystery writing skills; and all I could ever add to that is simply “Bravo!” The acting in this play equally matches playwright’s Lindsay’s abilities from beginning to final curtain. I must point out that Marie Baptiste as Cassie, a sophomore at Florida SouthWestern State College, in her “first” leading role is nothing short of stupendous! The same could be said of veteran actor Jordan Wilson and Naples Players actor and “fantasy author” Michael J. Pineda.
As for director Bill Taylor, he is nothing short of “prodigious,” underlined three times.
Whatever else you do, put going to see this production of “Cave” at the very top of your to see list; phone (239) 936-3239, right now to reserve your seat, this play runs until April 8 so time is of the essence.
Remember when you phone to remind ’em Marsha sent you!