Asylum – Theater That Will Change You

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The Dining Room at Luciano's Reaturant in Rahway NJ. Photo by Ralph Malachowski.

show review.

If Cheril Clarke never writes another play, (though I hope she writes many more) this one effort will ensure her a place in theater history. It is absolutely riveting. It is made all the more so by the fact that there is no “artistic license” in the script.The facts in real life are exactly as presented on stage. Being myself personally familiar with the case, I know this to be true.

A scene from the play Asylum by Cheril Clarke

A scene from the play Asylum by Cheril Clarke

The play is a dramatization of the tribulations of Prossy Kakooza, a Ugandan university student who was discovered in a lesbian relationship by her father, beaten and turned over by him to the police and subjected to a nightmare of rape and prolonged abuse of all kinds before finally escaping to England.

Scene from the play Asylum by Cheril Clarke.I cannot find words adequate to express the depth of emotion this play produced in me and in the audience in general. It must suffice to say that many audience members, as well as several of the actors were in tears by its conclusion, so powerful was the presentation. I left the theater both humbled and enraged – humbled by what Prossy endured and by her courage and enduring love for her partner as well as by Ms. Clarke’s genius in bringing the story so vividly to life on stage – and enraged that such things can still happen in this world for no other reason than loving the “wrong” person.

Every member of the cast turned in an outstanding  – indeed a wrenching performance. Special mention must be made of Tiffany Barrett in the lead role, Brenda Tellu as Leah, Prossy’s lover and Nancy Marie as Prossy’s step-mother. They rose above “acting” and on stage veritably became the people they represented, conveying their pain as if indeed it was very real and happening right in front of our eyes. 

Performed on a bare stage with excellent sound and lighting before a packed house at the Here Performing Arts Center, 145 6th Avenue, New York, Asylum must and no doubt will find a wide audience.

show review.

If Cheril Clarke never writes another play, (though I hope she writes many more) this one effort will ensure her a place in theater history. It is absolutely riveting. It is made all the more so by the fact that there is no “artistic license” in the script.The facts in real life are exactly as presented on stage. Being myself personally familiar with the case, I know this to be true.