port of harlem magazine
Mosaic Theater
Dear Mapel Finally at Mosaic Theater
Feb 10 – Feb 23, 2022

dear mapel

Mosaic Theater’s much heralded “Dear Mapel” has finally hit the stage. In a nutshell, it’s a monologue plus 1, with very creative staging and uses of props. The performance is where playwright Psalmayene 24 openly shares his life story with an emphasis on his growing up with an absent father.

Despite the interactive set, the 90-minute monologue requires a lot of listening to get the message. “I would have to go back and see it again to give a full critique,” commented viewer Vanessa Petty.

On stage, the native New Yorker seems to reveal everything from being a part of a male dance troupe that is surprised to be applauded by Black lesbians in a Black lesbian bar to having sex with a woman, reaching into her underwear, and pulling his hand back full of blood.

With a desk as the main prop, Psalmayene 24 made the simple prop magical including once pulling one drawer in and out as he described his coming of age with a young lady.  “That setting was ingenious,” added Petty.

The openness may be too much for some, but for those who grew up with an absent father, or even mother, the play may be a source of healing. His mental contortions reminded me of a session Port Of Harlem attended and covered for women who grew up in such situations. (See Permission to Feel the Loss.) For those who plan to following his promising career, the play is foundational.

The award-winning, still budding playwright and director humbly admited - - as the ending dragged on - - that the play could be an act of “theatrical masturbation.” At times, it seemed to be just that.

Also from Our Archives:  Growing up Fatherless, Yet Becoming an Empowered Parent By Dr. Dwayne Dyce

Note: In person performances end Feb 13. Streaming because February 14, at 8:00PM and ends February 27, 2022 at 11:59PM.

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