( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Mansa Ra’s “…What the End Will Be” Illustrates the Dynamic Between 3 Generations of Black, Gay Men
ENSPIRE Contributor: Charlotte Drummond
The play “…What the End Will Be” by Mansa Ra opened on June 2 at the Laura Pels Theater at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre and was commissioned by the Roundabout Theatre Company. Playwright and screenwriter Mansa Ra and director Margot Bordelon bring a moving and inspiring story of three Black gay men to the stage, all of who come from 3 different generations of the same family, coming to terms with the intersection of their identity through sexuality and race. This original script showcases the brilliance of Ra’s writing, which flourishes to life through Bordelon’s directing and the cast and crew’s hard work and performances.
“…What The End Will Be” is a story-driven by its ensemble of characters, and there is no doubt that the cast of this play makes this narrative shine. The three main leads are played by Emerson Brooks as Maxwell Kennedy, Gerald Caesar as Tony Kennedy and Keith Randolph Smith as Bartholomew Kennedy. The cast also includes Randy Harrison as Charles, Ryan Jamal Swain as Antoine and Tiffany Villarin as Chloe who all truly added to making this show entertaining.
This Off-Broadway play will have you in tears, making you feel like you’re feeling the same emotions as the characters through the greatest form of empathy that radiates off the stage. Brooks, Caesar and Smith portray the intense bond between family members, specifically men, in a very realistic and heart-wrenching way. Especially with the difficult situations the characters go through and conversations they have surrounding those difficulties, it feels as if the audience is looking through a window into another family’s where you’re not sure if you should look away and ignore it or listen even more closely out of curiosity.
Overall, “…What The End Will Be” will have you reflecting on those in your life who are the most important to you, whether they are your closest companion or someone you wish you had a tighter bond with. It may also bring up a situation you have encountered in your past or even your present since the themes of this show can translate to a wide variety of families and communities. The play is very relatable to those who struggle with identity, taking care of family and knowing who you truly are and embracing it.
For those who identify as Black and/or a member of the LGBTQ+ community, this is a story you must witness yourself. And while these characters fit within a niche category, “…What The End Will Be” is a narrative that can tug at the heartstrings of anyone of any age or background. If you are in the New York area between now and July 10, you should get yourself a ticket to “…What The End Will Be” through the Roundabout Theater Company’s official website here.