It was fortunate that the debut of “Pipeline” at Actors Theatre coincided with my son Nick’s visit here. Nick is studying theatre in Italy, and is currently working on a presentation of Hamlet there. He was impressed, of course, with the staging and technical aspects of “Pipeline.”
But the play’s subject matter, as written by acclaimed playwright Dominique Morisseau, is what stimulated a lengthy conversation.
We both were affected by the play’s story, which chronicles many issues of race in America, primarily the school-to-prison pipeline that exists for many African-American males. Actors’ press materials describe it as a production that “urgently calls attention to the limitations of our education system and the legacy of violence confronting black youth in America.”
It deals with complex issues faced by American families every day. But it’s really a simple story of a family in crisis. Omari, a high school teen at an elite private high school, must deal with the aftermath of an incident at school. It affects his girlfriend, his divorced parents, and his mother’s co-workers at the school where she teaches.
The family’s story shows how quickly a mistake can alter the son’s future toward a negative outcome, and how that affects those around him. It has some funny moments, and delivers an impactful message.
The production of “Pipeline” continues through Feb. 2 in the Bingham Theatre at Actors Theatre of Louisville, 316 W. Main St. Tickets are $30.74 to $36.72. For more information, call (502) 584-1205 or visit actorstheatre.org.