Illegal immigration goes comic in `Two Can Play'

Two Can Play Play by Trevor Rhone. Directed by Clinton Turner Davis. Jamaica's political turmoil of the 1970s provides the background for the domestic turmoil of the Negro Ensemble Company's new comedy at Theatre Four.

In ``Two Can Play,'' Trevor Rhone takes a humorous but concerned look at a subject with serious implications -- the plight of a Jamaican couple bent on escaping to the United States from their impoverished, strife-torn island.

With their three children living in the US as illegal aliens, Jim and Gloria Thomas (Sullivan H. Walker and Hazel J. Medina) decide to risk illegal emigration themselves. Their scheme calls for a temporary divorce, Gloria's flight to Miami, and a brief, bogus marriage to a cooperative American citizen. How the scheme works out in practice gives Mr. Rhone more than enough material for a boisterous, somewhat long-winded, and sometimes raunchy comedy. In its course, the boastfully bullheaded Jim learns needed lessons about love and humility. ``Two Can Play'' begins scrappily and ends happily.

Under the direction of Clinton Turner Davis, the script is zestfully performed -- and with rich Jamaican accents -- by Mr. Walker as the insecurely loudmouthed Jim and by Miss Medina as the subjected Gloria who finally declares her independence.

Set designer Llewellyn Harrison has suggested the urban decay surrounding the Thomas's modest home with a background of looming corrugated tin walls and roofs. Sylvester Weaver's lighting, Julian Asion's costumes, and Bernard Hall's sound design (including the gunfire racket of uncivil strife) contribute to the atmosphere of this vociferous marital comedy.

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