REVIEW: Ladies, please meet the spiritual son of Paul Robeson: Mr. Ryan Vincent Anderson! Mr. Anderson opens his one-man performance BRIGHT SWORDS with beautiful singing and instantly imposes his commanding personality changing from one character to the other, from a British actor to a woman, and all with credibility. He took the audience for 80 minutes in the universe of Mr. Ira Aldridge in a wonderful play beautifully written and directed by Mr. Rick Creese and Mr. Jeffrey Wienckowski. The play is intelligent and for any audience. During this performance Mr. Anderson demonstrated to us what a perfect stage actor is: One who can take the stage just by his sole presence, talent, and voice delivery for a beautiful and carefully written story that invites us all to a spiritual journey.
It's the kind of show that once you leave the theater, you want to thank the UNITED SOLO FESTIVAL's Artistic Director Dr. Omar Sangare for his talent, intelligence, and careful selection. We can only encourage you to see other shows from this very unique festival, and ideally located.
A standing ovation by the whole audience in a sold-out evening was fully deserved for this great performance combining a first-class actor, playwright, director, and festival.
A must-see play by all means.
ABOUT THE SHOW:
Los Angeles-based actor Ryan Vincent Anderson will return to his native New York to perform the critically acclaimed and award-winning play BRIGHT SWORDS at the United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row on November 11, 2015. The United Solo is the world’s largest solo festival.
BRIGHT SWORDS tells the true story of the African-American actor Ira Aldridge, who in 1825 fled racial hatred in New York City and sailed for London. There, he became the first black man ever to play Othello in Great Britain. He toured widely in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales and became a major star of the Shakespearean stage. His presence inspired the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1833. Aldridge then moved on to the European continent and became an even bigger star in Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and elsewhere. He was seen as not only a leader of the abolitionist movement but also as a representative of oppressed people all over Europe.
The play combines the serious drama built into the struggle Aldridge had to practice his art with the comedy of some of the wonderful and outrageous characters he met along the way: James Hewlett, the witty and courageous lead actor of the African Theatre in New York; Edmund Kean, star of the British stage who needed to have a woman between every act of every play; Aldridge’s wife Margaret, who jokes him out of despair; and the backstage women Aldridge could not resist. And amidst it all, we see Aldridge as the shameless self-promoter who invents a biography for himself as an African Prince.
United Solo Theatre Festival Theatre Row. 410 West 42nd Street. New York 10036
Written by Rick Creese and directed by Jeffrey Wienckowski, BRIGHT SWORDS premiered at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival where it received a Producer’s Encore Award and a Platinum Medal. Creese and Wienckowski made their second trip to the United Solo, where in 2013 they wrote and directed SOLEMN MOCKERIES, which received the award for Best Period Piece.
RYAN VINCENT ANDERSON (in the above picture) is an actor/writer/director from Queens, NY residing in L.A. Theaters: LA Theatre Works; Independent Shakespeare Company; African-American Shakespeare Company; Marin Theater Company; Long Beach Opera; PCPA; A Noise Within; Antaeus Company; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and others. Film: Feeding Mr. Baldwin; TV: Scandal, General Hospital, Young and the Restless, Eagleheart; Voice Over: World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Audiobooks. Ryan received his MFA in acting from the California Institute of the Arts. www.ryanvanderson.com.
RICK CREESE (Playwright) wrote SOLEMN MOCKERIES, which starred David Melville and won the award for Best Period Piece at the 2013 United Solo Festival. The play’s world premiere was in February 2013 in Los Angeles, produced by the Independent Shakespeare Company. LA Weekly called the play “brutally funny and brutally sad.” His one-woman show DORA AND ME/ YO SOY DORA, starring Amy Urbina, was featured in this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival and was also chosen for the 2015 United Solo Theatre Festival. Rick wrote and coproduced the documentary film THE MAN WHO LOST THE CIVIL WAR (narrated by Morgan Sheppard), which was broadcast on select PBS stations. He is a lecturer at UCLA Writing programs and the UCLA Honors Collegium.
JEFFREY WIENCKOWSKI (Director) directed the award-winning one-man show SOLEMN MOCKERIES, starring David Melville. Jeffrey is the founder and Artistic Director of the Sons of Beckett Theatre Company and The Mechanical Heart. He has worked professionally with established theatre companies in Los Angeles and San Diego, including the Mark Taper Forum, The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Independent Shakespeare Company, Chalk Repertory Theatre, and the Road Theatre Company. Jeffrey holds an MFA in Directing from UC San Diego, where he studied under Les Waters, Christopher Ashley, Gabor Tompa, and Dominique Serrand. www.jeffdirects.com