‘Carbon Black’ Play Recalls Fear and Murder Post 9-11

Jesse Gutierrez

Murder and fear of the world are two things very present in the world and in today’s entertainment.

Those are the exact themes that make up the new play “Carbon Black” written by Terry Gomez and performed by “Native Voices Theater Company” who are celebrating their 10th anniversary.

The show made its debut on Nov 7, at the Wells Fargo Theater located inside of the Autry National Center of the American West.

The setting of the play is described as being a place like New Mexico and the story revolves around a young boy Carbon ” Inky” Black played by Michael Drummond and his agoraphobic mother Sylvie played by Shelia Tousey.

As the lights go down and the show begins you see Carbon and his mother sitting in their living room watching television as the news talks about anthrax and the aftermath of Sept 11.

Then Carbon begins talking to his mother about a recent murder that had taken place very close to their apartment building. He said on that night he had slept on the balcony and that he heard the entire ordeal.

However his mother dismisses the story and tells Carbon to stop making up stories. Then suddenly there is a knock and a letter is slid under the door. As Carbon approaches the door his mother holds him back warning that the letter may contain anthrax.

Carbon ignores his mother and opens the letter. He reads the letter which says that he has been absent from school for eight days and now his mother must go down to the school to speak with the counselor and if she does not they would have to have an at home visit.

While his mother turns frantic repeating, “you know I can’t leave the house,” Carbon assures her she would not have to, and that he would go down to school and get the situation straightened out.

When he arrives on campus he is taken directly to the counselor, Miss Yellowtrees’s office, where they begin by talking about all of Carbon’s problems throughout his time at school. She then gives him a letter saying she was still going to make a home visit.

As time elapses Carbon begins to grow closer to Yellowtree and they begin to develop an almost friend like relationship, until the night comes when Yellowtree has to make her visit.

She arrives at the apartment completely un announced catching Sylvie off guard who immediately tells Yellowtree she is not allowed in the apartment and that she needs to leave.

However Yellowtree does not leave which sends Sylvie into a rage, which prompts Yellowtree to take Carbon from his home to her own, though the next day when carbon turns up missing it forces Yellowree to stay with Sylvie at her apartment to take care of her.

After three days passes Yellowtree gets a call on her cell phone from Carbon. He says that the only way that he would come home is if his mom left the apartment and came and got him.

The show was inspired by a sudden outbreak in Gomez’s neighborhood as well as all the fear that had grown in the wake of the Sept 11 terrorist attacks.

The plot of the show while dramatic had its comedic moments and did an exceptional job balancing both of those elements and creating the perfect mood.

Tousey in the role of Sylvie was the stand out of the show, even though not one of the cast members were weak and they all had amazing chemistry together on stage.

“Carbon Black” runs from Nov. 8 to Nov. 22. For more information or to purchase tickets call 866-468-3399.