A Repetitive Occurrence of Injustice
Fishing is a great sport and to capture the fish you are targeting is a skill one must mastered with the perfect bait; however, the same bait doesn't work for every fish. Just like the sport of fishing enticement and allurement can be a form of entrapment that can capture the naiveté of humans and place them in a net filled with lies and injustice!
“To Catch A Fish" is a disheartening story written by Playwright Brett Neveu, inspired by the true story of an African American male name Chauncey Wright who lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During this time he got involved unknowingly with a defective law enforcement operation ATF (alcohol, tobacco, and firearms) that had a tremendous amount of unscrupulous flaws while they were trying to catch career criminals attempting to sell guns.
The story focuses on the life of Terry Kilbourn (Eric Gerard), a portrayal of the real-life mentally challenged Chauncey Wright who had a traumatic brain injury when he was a child who "functions in the mildly mentally retarded range."
The ATF agents Ike Jeno (Jay Worthington), Stephen Walker (Dex Farwell) and Anji White (Regina “G” Whitnall ) see Terry as the perfect bait and befriend him at Wal-Mart. Unsuspecting Terry who is 28 years old cannot distinguish between the good and evil in people that he believes are local shop owners.
The ATF agents offer him a job promoting Fearless Distributing, spreading the word and passing out flyers to promote their store that they are looking for people willing to sell guns and drugs. Terry is oblivious to the sting “Operation Fearless” and that the store is a makeshift business in the neighborhood of Riverwest.
Kilbourn works diligently, riding his bike throughout the city to get the word out about the new so-called store and the agents paid him with cigarettes, clothes, shoes and a little cash.
As the story progresses, we come to understand his predicament best through his family with his overprotective grandmother Brenda Cameron (Linda Bright Clay) who only sees him as a helpless little boy. Her character was entirely convincing as the God-fearing woman that was hardened by life that held her family together when it fell apart.
Brenda’s constant affection that she shows to Terry draws jealousy from his cousin Dontre, played by Al’Jaleel McGhee, who does a remarkable job delivering the necessary balance to this dysfunctional family unit. Rochelle Walker (Tiffany Addison) who plays Terry's girlfriend is another figure who is quite protective of him, leading us to his susceptibility and convolution in the play.
"Operation Fearless," a sting that backfired in Milwaukee aimed at taking guns and drugs off the street, did not trap any significant dealers or take down a gang. Instead, it resulted in a string of mistakes and failures that was defaced by an agent having his machine gun stolen, and the storefront burglarized; making them shut down their sting. Unfortunately, illegal gun and drugs charges account to Terry. It makes you wonder who you can trust when the law enforcement is asking you to break the law.
Eric Gerard, the understudy for Kilbourn, visually transformed himself into the role of the of the disabled Terry. He articulated every little nuance of his character's disabilities, and he was extremely convincing presenting both the innocence and complexity of Terry. His performance was nothing short of brilliant!
Director Ron OJ Parson once again delivers with fantastic staging in small places with "To Catch a Fish." It has cast a net of an even bigger fish of injustice at the right time by shedding light on the apparent truth of African Americans human rights being disregarding; something that is too often seen as a norm in our society especially within the Black community. This play delivers a fresh perspective, reminding us that liberty and justice are NOT for all.
★★★★Let's Play "Highly Recommend" that you see this riveting explosive play of actual life events of Chauncey Wright, a resident of Milwaukee Wisconsin, whose life is symbolic to that of a captured fish.
The cast includes:
Linda Bright Clay (Brenda Cameron)
Anji White (Regina "G" Whitnall)
Jay Worthington (Ike Jeno)
Tiffany Addison (Rochelle Walker)
Al' Jaleel McGhee (Dontre Cameron)
Geno Walker (Terry Kilbourn)
Eric Gerard (US/ Terry Kilbourn)
Stephen Walker (Dex Farwell) Through June 17
Josh Odor (Dex Farwell)Starting June 19
Timeline Theatre World Premiere
TO CATCH A FISH
By Brett Neveu
Directed by: Ron OJ Parson
April 25 – July 1, 2018
Filed under: ChicagoNow