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THEATER REVIEW: “Brownsville Bred” at 59E59

The opening of Brownsville Bred takes the form of a mini multi-media presentation, with the text of the eponymous Brooklyn neighborhood’s Wikipedia entry scrolling over video images of the Langston Hughes projects. As a device, it’s a little contrived, and shows an unjustified lack of trust in the material that follows – which is a rich, poetic, and starkly honest portrayal of growing up in Brownsville in the 1980s.

The woman whose journey into adulthood we witness over the course of the evening is Elaine Del Valle, and even without the text introduction to the play, her performance was expressive enough that she filled in any blanks for those of us unfamiliar with Brownsville — or its reputation. Del Valle expresses a deftness with emotions through her performances, making it possible for the audience to travel with her through a range of experiences representing the life that eventually took this performer out of Brownsville.

 
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