Best One-Person Show

Patrese D. McClain

Perhaps the most curious thing about No Child..., the astonishing one-person play by Nijala Sun, is how conventional the plot is. How many times (Stand and Deliver, Up the Down Staircase, To Sir, With Love) have we seen stories about dedicated teachers vs. problem kids? No Child... turns that genre on its head by having the whole cast — four teachers, eight students, a janitor and sundry bureaucrats — enacted by one person. In its inaugural productions back in 2006, that person was Sun herself. At the Black Rep, the play was brought to enthralling life by Patrese D. McClain, an alchemist who makes magic happen before our eyes. How tall is McClain? How short? How heavy? How old? Anyone who saw the production, which was staged in March 2012, would flunk a test made up of such questions. The stage was filled with the disenfranchised at Malcolm X High School in the Bronx; we don't recall seeing an actress at all. Happily, we have an opportunity to take another look. The Black Rep just brought back No Child..., which runs through Sunday, September 30, at Washington University's Edison Theatre, featuring the same all-star cast. (Call 314-534-3810 for information.)

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