I waited my whole life for this moment.
Whenever I see a spectacular looking title, to me, that means signifies the show will be pretty amazing. Black Super Hero Magic Mama does not disappoint. It is fun, lively, exciting and of course magical. Tackling on a serious subject, in this case losing a child to violence, makes it sensitive and relatable, whether you lost a child or know someone who did. The effects are overwhelming, leading to helplessness. Sabrina Jackson (Kimberly Hébert Gregory is phenomenal) is the mother of a highly intelligent, 14-year old young man Tramarion (Cedric Joe). He is preparing for a quiz show “Know Your Heritage,” about African American history. He never misses an impromptu question from his mother. Tramarion is poised for success, which is cut short by a trigger happy cop, (props for Walter Belenky for playing the bad guy) who shoots the prodigy for mistaking his award for a gun. That bullet might as well have been aimed at Sabrina. When she finds out her only child died, she, too, dies but inside.
Her worried sister Lena (Cynthia Kaye McWilliams) tries her best to comfort Sabrina but fails. The pain is way too deep to be easily fixed by a kind word. Sabrina’s mind is unable to accept the nonsensical tragedy and soon takes on the form of the tough, strong-willed super hero character the Maasai Angel. With her formfitting red leopard print shirt, matching leggings and a bejeweled crown surrounding her long, black and curly mane, the Maasai Angel will save the day. In the midst of dealing with her tragedy, the news of Tramarion’s death spreads quickly on social media. The television news all offer their convoluted theory of events. Two dueling newscasters Connie Wright and Tom Blackman (Reiko Aylesworth, One Life to Live and Kevin Douglas, Days of our Lives) compete on whose version of the truth will make it to air first. Meanwhile, another issue is coming to knock on in Sabrina’s door and add more distress to her worries. Coach Brackett (Daryl C. Brown) who was there the night Tramarion was killed, and Officer Lester, go to Sabrina’s home to console and explain what happened, but, she’s not trying to hear any of that mess.
Her grief is so overpowering, she can’t function. She doesn’t eat, go to work or bathe. The world as she knows it has ended. Then suddenly, she becomes Maasai, (MA-SY) the Black Super Hero Magic Mama. A character Tramarion and his friend Flat Joe created (Noah Abbott) who Sabrina can’t stand. She wants Tramarion away from Flat Joe’s influence and stay on the path to do and be better. The boys create a fearless female character with grand superpowers, such as ESP. Sabrina takes on that persona after her son dies. It’s Maasai’s strength that greatly helps the mother deal with her gigantic loss. In her super outfit and wielding axe, no one with a working brain will cross her. According to the boys, Maasai “descended from a warrior tribe and here to protect the innocent.” She’s strong and vibrant and like actress Pam Grier’s titular character in 1973 Coffy, Sabrina will “cream you.” Like a video game, she has to level up and reach the elusive entity before things can return to normal. If at all.
The story shifts from one ending to the beginning of a new story. It’s easy to follow and keep up on what’s happening. A wonderful vision is McWilliams portraying super hero Lady Vulture. She looked fierce in her fitted purple, leather pantsuit and her long blue hair cascading down her face. Seductive and convincing. Deathtrap, representing the police officer who killed Tramarion, is a cowboy who’s an enemy to the Maasai Angel. The show is a living, breathing comic book coming to life thanks to the creative genius of scenic and projection designer Yee Eun Nam. Her mosaic use of vibrant and splashy colors are impressive. It’s reminiscent of the 1960s Batman series when you saw the words POW! and BAM! across the television screen. The excitement doesn’t lose momentum. From start to finish, it’s a wild thrill ride.
Black Super Hero Magic Mama plays Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., until Sunday, April 14th, at The Geffen Playhouse inside the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, located at 10886 Le Conte Ave. in Los Angeles. For ticket information, call 310.208.5454 or reserve online at firstname.lastname@example.org