Dui Jarrod’s ‘Unholy War’ Showcases Great Performances, Amazing Storytelling, and Unapologetic Blackness
A Man Named Yves
Playwright Dui Jarrod’s “Unholy War” is an incredible melodrama exploring the psyche of an emotionally damaged man as he tries to marry the woman of his dreams. Yves– portrayed by Cario George— is a man who has been through a lot.
As a young boy, he was abandoned by his mother and had run-ins with many of her male suitors. However, as he aged, the wounds never healed and the pain lingered on. As a man, Yves became an emotional whirlwind with a strong love for vice.
The Garden of Eden
Yves’ textbook case of the Oedipus Complex has made all of his relationships with women more difficult than necessary. His journey is on full display in the course of 2-hours. Weaved throughout the play is an Adam and Eve and Garden of Eden allegory that features a treacherous snake and an apple of temptation.
Nearly 30 minutes before he is due to marry his bride-to-be Amy (Valerie Sue Love), the damaged photographer is pulled between his two good groomsmen (portrayed by Moses Jones and Brandon Dunn) and the snake also known as JP portrayed by actor Anthony E. Williams. But Yves is quickly reminded of the great times he had with strippers and previous lovers. Eventually, he forgets about his perfect Amy.
It All Falls Down
The external conflict becomes internal and Yves’s fragile mind breaks. He subsequently falls back into old habits — the cocaine use and rough sex. So he leaves his perfect woman for an old flame (played by actress Ernestine Johnson) that still ignites his passion.
And this old lover, a blue-green haired woman, captures his attention once more as he continues to spiral downward into an cocaine induced hellscape. They fight, argue over past events and broken aspirations, but they still want each other. That is until JP shows up again.
The Final Curtain
Even though there are tense moments, there is also comedy among the tragedy. In some ways, “Unholy War” is a perfect marriage between films like David Lynch’s 1986 masterwork “Blue Velvet” and a ’50s melodrama. Additionally, the cast delivered the goods. Performance from lead actor Cario George, Anthony E. Williams and Ernestine Johnson gave audiences an indulgent and memorable theater-going experience.
“Unholy War” was directed by Rhavynn Drummer, an Atlanta based Casting Director who has worked with filmmaker Tyler Perry. In fact, Drummer began her career casting at Tyler Perry Studios where she cast 13 feature films, six television shows, and seven theatrical productions.
Some of Drummer’s credits include “The Family that Preys,” “Why did I Get Married Too?” “The Marriage Counselor” and the recent television series’ “The Haves and The Have Nots” and “If Loving You is Wrong” on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Furthermore, “Unholy War” is Jarrod’s fourth play that premiered in a workshop at the Brooklyn School of Music Playhouse back in November of 2013. Over the course of the writer’s career, he has worked for BET, MTV Voices and other studios as a director.
The show is currently playing in Atlanta, Georgia at the 7 Stages Theatre Nov. 5-7.