Don Evans honored with performance of ‘One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show’

Old folks get horny, mothers say “prevert” but actually mean “pervert” and 19-year-old boys get chased with plungers.

Welcome to the “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” glimpse into an elite black middle-class family in the 1970s.

This comedic play is one of the many by the legendary Don Evans.

The chair to the College’s African-American studies department from 1971-1983, he was also a noted playwright and director.

He had 18 of his plays produced and six published. One of his many awards includes “Outstanding Playwright,” awarded by the Arena Theatre. Though he died three years ago, the College is bringing back Evans’ legacy.

While here, he founded the Langston Hughes Players. According to production assistant Pamela Chambers, Evans wanted to open more theatrical roles for African-American and Latino students with his creation of the Players.

This was 20 years ago. And now the newly revived Langston Hughes Players are a mixture of current students and the original Players.

The production was co-sponsored by the African-American studies department and the School of Culture and Society.

In the first scene, we are introduced to Myra, played by sophomore communication studies major Mercedes Sharee McCurdy, and her priest husband Avery Harrison, played by alumnus Joseph Jackson.

They consider themselves part of an elite class and cling to their status, which their 19-year-old son Felix, played by Troy Torres, freshman political science major, tries to break away from.

However, they find their common ground – with sex. Felix discovers sex with his “ghetto” girlfriend while his father tries to revive his sex life with his reluctant wife.

Then add the unpredictable relationship between Beverly, played by senior psychology major Tasia Chamber-Hickman, and Caleb Johnson’s character, played by guest actor Pierre Downing. It appeared there was going to be romance between Avery’s niece and her new guardian, but it was the unexpected twist of Beverly and Caleb’s romance that was a real surprise.

Freshman English major Adam Engel described it as a comedic-tragedy, “but a satisfying one,” he said.

The play appropriately took place in the Don Evans Black Box Theater. After a three-day run, there was a benefit show that included a reception.

Audience members had the chance to donate to the Don Evans endowment fund.

Sunday’s reception included speeches from Susan B. Albertine, dean of Culture and Society, and Dr. Paula Seniors, the producer.

According to Albertine, it had always been Evans’ dream to have a Langston Hughes revival when she first met him here at the College.

Todd Evans, Don Evans’ son, said at the reception, “My youngest son, who never saw any of my grandfather’s plays, had a chance to see the play today and I thank you for that.”