Broadway World Review: N

N by Adrienne Earle Pender. Photo: Cameron Whitman Photography
Recalling a prominent theatrical racial reckoning 100 years ago

The Keegan Theatre, as part of its 25th Anniversary Season, is giving Adrienne Earle Pender’s play N its regional debut in a crisp production that finds some nuances in the story of triumph and tragedy.

N is a solid and timely production to bring live audiences back to a theater that like many others kept afloat during the pandemic by putting productions online. It’s especially good to see lush, detailed set designs like Matthew J. Keenan’s, in real life. He divided the stage into Gilpin’s modest home, O’Neill’s spotless office, and in-between, the West Indian jungle setting of The Emperor Jones.

As Gilpin, Kevin E. Thorne II is commanding and rangy, as striking a figure as the actor he portrayed. … The best part of the production turns out to be Lolita Marie, who plays Gilpin’s supportive wife Florence with compassion – a level head who encourages and celebrates her husband’s achievements and fiercely defends him after he’s been discarded. It is her wisdom that stays with us at the play’s end – in a world where, 100 years later, the same arguments somehow still rage and the discussions fit this century’s theatrical reckonings.