Photo Courtesy of Rudy Meyers
In the world of theater, where I’ve witnessed countless remarkable productions over the years, JUMP stands out as one of the most emotionally deep and well written plays I’ve had the privilege to experience. With just four actors, this production weaves together elements of emotion, humor, and surprise to tell a poignant story that explores the themes of grief, friendship, and unexpected connections. JUMP, written by the talented Charly Evon Simpson and masterfully directed by Jerry Montoya, recently opened on stage at the B Street Theatre, leaving me thoroughly engaged and deeply moved.
The story of JUMP revolves around Fay, played with grace and authenticity by Diona Elise Burnett. As Fay returns to her childhood home to assist her dad and sister in the daunting task of clearing it out following her mother’s passing from cancer, we’re given a glimpse into the personalities of these characters. Through their bickering and laughter, we witness how each family member copes with the loss of their matriarch. This premise alone sets the stage for an emotionally charged narrative, but what truly distinguishes JUMP is its seamless blend of humor and heartfelt moments. Right from the beginning, the audience is drawn into Fay’s world, sharing in her journey as she navigates the bittersweet task of letting go of the past and confronting her grief.
One of the play’s pivotal settings is a bridge, a place where Fay’s mother used to take her and her sister for leisurely strolls during their younger years and finds comfort. It’s on this very bridge that Fay crosses paths with Hopkins, a character brought to life with remarkable depth and vulnerability by the talented Hunter Hoffman. Hopkins, however, finds himself on the bridge for an entirely different reason, setting the stage for an intriguing twist in the narrative. Their unlikely friendship begins to take shape, initially showcased through a brilliantly executed air guitar and air drum scene, skillfully performed by both actors. As their connection deepens, a sharp and witty dialogue between Fay and Hopkins emerges, providing a much-needed dose of comic relief while also delving into the intricate web of their individual struggles.
The chemistry between Burnett and Hoffman is undeniable, drawing the audience into their growing connection and emotional journey. The casting director chose the best actors for these roles as every scene they were in together were well-timed and flawless.
As the story of JUMP unfolds, it becomes clear that their character’s chance encounter on the bridge holds the key to both their healing processes. The way that Simpson masterfully intertwines their stories with a surprise ending is a testament to her skill and creativity.
I cannot fail to mention Robert Karma Robinson, who portrays the Dad and nails it. He struck a chord with me, and I couldn’t help but see shades of my own father in his portrayal. Additionally, Imani Mitchell, who plays Fay’s sister, Judy, in the highest of hot pink heels nonetheless, delivers an exceptional performance as well.
JUMP is a play that reminds us of the power of human connections, even in the most unexpected places and under the most challenging circumstances. It is a must-see production that skillfully balances the weight of grief with moments of laughter and surprise. With its talented cast, clever script, and seamless direction, it’s a play that will linger in your thoughts long after it is over. It serves as a reminder that, even in our darkest moments, the unexpected can bring new light and meaning to our lives. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this powerful and touching show, playing now through November 5, 2023 at The Sofia, Home of the B Street Theatre. Learn more here.