Review: Dark Cowgirls and Prairie Queens @ Carpet Bag Theatre

Knoxville, listen up: Go. See. This. Show.

Full stop.

You only have this weekend. That's this Saturday and Sunday. So, do yourself a favor and make the time to be engrossed by the masterful storytelling, the joyous and voluptuous language, the vivacious music, the kaleidoscope of emotions and characters, the full throated celebration of women of color, that is Dark Cowgirls and Prairie Queens

Written by Carpet Bag Theatre's Founder and Executive Artistic Director Linda Parris-Bailey and performed as part of the company's ongoing 50 year celebration, Dark Cowgirls relies on beautifully crafted monologues, and short scenes to form a loose framing narrative regaling the audience with surprising, humorous, and moving tales based on the real lives of women of color in the West during the later half of the 19th century.

Under the skilled direction of Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe the exceptional cast and crew breathe life into little known stories of women who risked everything for an opportunity to reach their own personal definitions of freedom. Though the stories are not connected, the play never feels like a exhibition. Instead the myriad of tales, all beautifully and skillfully acted by the ensemble, feels more like the vivid memory of a friend recalling some of her life's most exciting exploits. 

I will be releasing a much more thorough critique soon, because there is much to talk about in this production. But, right now time is short, (only two performances left!) so the things for you to know are...

1) This show is simply not to be missed. Go see it or you'll wish you had.
2) At one point within the space of ten minutes I was laughing out loud, literally sobbing, and stomping the floor to a soaring musical interlude.

What more could you want from a night of theatre? 

You can find tickets to Carpet Bag Theatre's Dark Cowgirls and Prairie Queens being performed at UT's Carousel theatre here

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JP Schuffman is a playwright, critic, and the Managing Artistic Director of the Knoxville Theatre Club.