×

New Jersey Stage menu
New Jersey Stage home
New Jersey Stage search button

Search website


 

NEWS | FEATURES | PREVIEWS | EVENTS

REVIEW: "Pipeline" at Mile Square Theatre


By Adam F. Cohen


originally published: 09/13/2019

REVIEW: "Pipeline" at Mile Square Theatre

Parenting is a puzzle.  The intention is do well by your child by all means.  And those intentions start with a firm foundation of communication. Dominique Morisseau's play Pipeline explores the repercussions of parenting, race, education, marriage, and communication.  The play – running at Hoboken’s Mile Square Theatre– is a gripping drama.

The play’s title refers to the “school-to-prison pipeline” that all too easily traps the underprivileged, especially people of color, and funnels them directly into penal institutions. But these characters are poised, faulty and intelligent enough to prove the odds wrong.  It’s the rest of the world that proves challenging.

REVIEW: "Pipeline" at Mile Square TheatreMorisseau’s play is enlivened by fertile, intelligent performances by a strong cast and tense direction by Kevin R. Free.  It’s grounded by prophetic references to Gwendolyn Brooks’ poetry and the novel Native Son by Richard Wright.  Pipeline is a drama about people—strong, troubled, complex, sometimes heartbreaking people—who find themselves in nerve-jangling situations. Yes, the school background is vital here, but it’s the human beings who rivet us to our seats for 95 absorbing, suspenseful minutes—no intermission.

Omari (Jarvis Tomdio) is a young African American high school student.  He’s articulate, smart and scared. But he’s a teenager filled with quiet rage at the world and his parents.  Unfortunately, his physical outburst on a teacher could mean ouster from his private school – especially as the incident has been preserved on other student’s phones.  Tomdio offers a graceful, gripping performance – like a caged animal, stalking the territory, ready to strike.

He’s got the support of a loving girlfriend Jasmine (Jessica Darrow) and that of his public school English teacher mother Nya (Malikha Mallette).  Mallette and Tomdio deliver moving performances that emphasizes the tensions, awkwardness and pure intentions between mother and child.  Darrow is fierce and wise beyond her years as Jasmine delivering truths in zippy statements like “Sometimes people push you too far, make you feel like an animal from another jungle.” 



 
Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info



Nya is supported by her fellow teacher Laurie (Annie McAdams) who’s perilously close to violence and a breakdown of her own. McAdams provides a fiercely funny, passionate performance.  As does Chadwick Antonio Rawlings as Dun – the school security guard who carries a torch for Nya. 

The play is a chess game, and a fascinating one at that.  It ends on a hopeful note.  But given the issues and possibilities presented hope is a weak strategy.  Ultimately though being young, tenacious and in love doesn’t quite quell the fear and anger in these characters.  And this is where “Pipeline” elevates and feels most real.  The language of these characters shifts effortlessly between the world’s they occupy – private school and private life, check book parenting and daily life, wisdom and rage, love and youth, intention and mistakes.  The actors deliver smashing performances gripping the shadows and fine lines of their worlds and relationships.

REVIEW: "Pipeline" at Mile Square Theatre

As ever, the Mile Square Theater production is aided by strong technical elements.  Joey Moro’s projection design serves the classroom blackboard and cell-phone recollections of violence.  Jason Flamos’ lighting shifts from institutional flourscents to warm realism.  And Matthew J. Fick’s realistic set captures the steadily chipped cinder block reality of many urban public schools.

Omari compares Jasmine to “Metamorphic rocks. They change in form. Made from heat and pressure. That’s what makes ‘em so rare and interesting. “  An apt description of all the characters in “Pipeline” – and of the play itself.

Pipeline is running now through October 6 at Mile Square Theatre, 1408 Clinton Street, Hoboken, NJ . Tickets and more information at milesquaretheatre.org

REVIEW: "Pipeline" at Mile Square Theatre

PHOTOS BY DAVID WHITE STUDIO






EVENT CALENDAR

ART | COMEDY | DANCE | MUSIC | THEATRE | COMMUNITY

Stomp

Friday, December 02, 2022 @ 8:00pm
State Theatre New Jersey
15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
category: theatre

Click here for full description

Westminster Concert Bell Choir

Friday, December 02, 2022 @ 7:30pm
Grunin Center
1 College Drive, Toms River, NJ 08754
category: music

Click here for full description

Lucy Kaplansky

Friday, December 02, 2022 @ 8:00pm
Hopewell Theater
5 S. Greenwood Avenue, Hopewell, NJ 08525
category: music

Click here for full description

AN INTIMATE EVENING WITH DAVID FOSTER AND KATHARINE MCPHEE

Friday, December 02, 2022 @ 8:00pm
Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC)
100 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960
category: music

Click here for full description

Judy Collins Holiday & Hits Show

Friday, December 02, 2022 @ 8:00pm
South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC)
One Sopac Way, South Orange, NJ 07079
category: music

Click here for full description

Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea

Friday, December 02, 2022 @ 8:00pm
Monmouth University - Pollak Theatre
400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ 07764
category: music

Click here for full description

WP Presents! An Olde English Christmas with Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone

Friday, December 02, 2022 @ 8:00pm
Shea Center for Performing Arts
300 Pompton Rd, Wayne, NJ 07470
category: music

Click here for full description



For more event listings, click here



 

more in theatre






 

 

New Jersey Stage © 2022 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 | info@newjerseystage.com

Nobody covers the Arts throughout the Garden State like New Jersey Stage!

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on our RSS feed




Art | Comedy | Dance | Film | Music | Theatre | Ad Rates | About Us | Pitch a Story | Links | Radio Shows