“Emmitt & Ava” is a play written and directed by two-time Ovation winner Dominic Hoffman. The story is about two families, unacquainted with one another, who suddenly find themselves forced to communicate on the most intimate of terms.
When the play opens we meet an upper middle class white couple, Emma (Stephanie Schulz) and her husband, Wyatt (Tom Schanley). They have just returned home from their daughter’s funeral and are grieving their loss. The last thing they expect is a visit from a stranger that will change their lives forever.
Their visitor is a black man named Eban (Tucker Smallwood), who informs them that their daughter, Ava, was in a relationship with his son, Emmitt, who was driving the car that took both their lives. The couple is shocked that their daughter never told them about her boyfriend, her black boyfriend. Eban, on the other hand, wants to know why the couple didn’t attend his son’s funeral, despite the fact that they didn’t know him. What follows is a ninety minute conversation about race, prejudice and coming to terms with what kind of person you truly are.
The play starts out very compelling. It’s funny, poignant and definitely makes you think, but then the dialogue becomes repetitious and things start to get bogged down. Luckily, Emmit’s brother, Evan (Harry Fowler), arrives halfway through and heats things back up.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to save the play. Despite the excellent acting, It suffers from over kill. It’s as if playwright Hoffman didn’t trust his audience to get the point he was trying to make in the first hour.
“Emmitt & Ava” is playing Thursday through Sunday at 8pm through June 18th at the Edgemare Center for the Arts located at 2437 Main Street #B, Santa Monica CA 90405 To purchase tickets go to brownpapertickets.com/event/2907900. Tickets ar $20-$35.