It’s been said that family is a foundation—the one area in which failure can cause permanent heartache. Director and writer Gill Nelson’s amazing stage play No Time, the tagline of which is “When spending no time will cost you a lifetime,” explores that premise, among many others. No Time is a tightly directed, fantastically acted family drama—with a touch of the Gospel.
No Time explores how a middle-class Black family in Washington, D.C., deals with a terrible tragedy. The play touches on themes of forgiveness and the importance of having people in your life you can count on—and spending quality time with those people.
One of the smartest things Nelson, who also played pivotal character Big Kenny, did as director was to stage his most dramatic scenes downstage center. An apropos example of Nelson’s directing was an emotional, spotlighted scene involving LaSonya Olden, who delivered a powerful monologue referencing Psalm 30:5 as Big Kenny’s cop sister, Jessica.
Nelson (who also directed the drama Blue God) did a fantastic job playing sports-loving Big Kenny, a husband who neglected to spend enough time at home with his wife Michelle (the excellent Sheena Alston, a Blue God veteran) and college-bound son Lil Kenny (Maurice Olden, a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts). Pamela Bunn-Nelson, the director’s wife, powerfully played Lil Kenny’s biological mother; she also co-wrote the script with her husband.
Faheem Saadiq Abdus-Salaam, as Lil Kenny’s uncle Jimmy, was a spark plug of energy, and sang “After You’ve Done All You Can (You Just Stand)” with conviction and vigor. His character provided much consolation to Big Kenny through the darkest periods of the story.
Marcia Leftwood-Holton played Michelle’s confidant Tiffany with a strong empathy. Leftwood-Holton sang “The Battle is Not Yours” with a spiritual power that moved the audience. Abdus-Salaam and Leftwood-Holton’s singing was supported by backstage musician Dwayne Holton and singers Sherice Payne, Nathan Drew and Kathy Richburg. Musical Director Leon C. Thurston Jr. brought the aforementioned talent together into an ear-pleasing mix.
Comedian Darryl Bradley played the consummate clown Larry; his scenes signaled comic relief. From his comic timing to his humorous choice of attire, Bradley made his scenes stand out. Randall Lawrence, a good film director in his own right, was powerful as Earl, a character with Black nationalist tendencies: “Stay Black and say woke.”
Stage veteran Adiyb Abdullah Muhammad (who has appeared in the independent films “BOSS” and “Second Chance”) and Nikia Wood (in her stage debut), played police officers Carter and Jackson respectively. Lee Dumas (seen recently on the Reelz Channel’s Copycat Killerz) was effective in his scenes as the character Jessica’s husband. Gospel jazz vocalist Robert E. Person sang ”People Make the Love Go Around” before curtain, and TV news personality Micheline Bowman served well as host.
Set Design, by T&P Design, consisted of stage right and stage left flats that represented a dining room and a living room respectively, and an upstage flat the represented a hallway. The furniture suggested comfortable middle-classdom. A minor quibble for me was that from my house left sight line, I could see actors near the upstage flat before their entrances.
This show will keep you engaged throughout. No Time proves that Nelson, and the casts that he assembles, always put on entertaining shows of the highest order.
Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes, with a 10-minute intermission.
No Time played for one performance only on July 22, 2018, at Timeless Entertainment performing at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts – 15200 Annapolis Road/Route 450 in Bowie, MD – next to Bowie High School and the Bowie Public Library. For future events at Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, visit their website.