April 30, 2015

At a dinner party on the Upper West Side, Zeke (Brandon J. Dirden) reels off his own personal A B C’s: A is for the Arawak, victims of genocide. B is for bombings in Birmingham. C is for chains. D is for denied. E is for Emmett Till. The other guests stop him before he can get much further into the alphabet. An exploration of the unremitting wounds of slavery and racism, Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s “Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine,” at Two River Theater here, is less a play than a poignant, often powerful polemic. As an actor, Mr. Santiago-Hudson is capable of very fine distinctions, but as a writer and director he’s wielding some pretty blunt instruments. Still, if the play is, at times, dramatically weak, its rhetoric and arguments are unusually strong. Judith (Merritt Janson), a white journalist, has met Zeke, a black activist, at the soup kitchen where she volunteers. She says she wants to write a magazine feature on him, though she may have more complicated motives. So she invites him to a dinner party with her old friend Janeece (Roslyn Ruff), a black executive, and her new boyfriend Randall (Andrew Hovelson), a white editor. No one gets to eat.