By Raymond Ward, The New 411
Chicago playwright and TimeLine Theatre Company member Tyla Abercrumbie weaves a mother’s past with her daughters’ present in “Relentless,” her world premiere play developed through the company’s Playwrights Collective and presented as the culmination of TimeLine’s 23rd season, running May 6 – June 27, 2020.
TimeLine Company member Ron OJ Parson directs Abercrumbie’s vibrant and startling turn-of-the-century tale of family, legacy, and progress. “Relentless” looks at the deep personal secrets we keep to protect the ones we love most. After the death of their mother, two sisters return home to Philadelphia in 1919 to settle her estate. Annelle is a happy socialite desperate to return to the safe illusion of a perfect life with her husband in Boston. Janet is a single, professional nurse, determined to change history and propel Black women to a place of prominence and respect. After discovering a series of diaries left by their late mother, they find themselves confronted with a woman they never really knew, exposing buried truths from the past that are chillingly, explosively Relentless.
“Relentless” was developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, launched in 2013 to support Chicago-based playwrights in residence and create new works centered on TimeLine’s mission of presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues. The play received its first public reading as part of TimeLine’s inaugural First Draft Playwrights Collective Festival in December 2018. “Relentless” is the second play developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective to receive a full production, following the company’s 2018 world premiere of Brett Neveu’s “To Catch a Fish.”
The cast for “Relentless” features Ayanna Bria Bakari as Annelle/Mother; Xavier Lee Bleuel as Franklin; Amanda Drinkall as Mary Elizabeth; Adia Alli as Zhuukee/Annabelle Lee; Travis Delgado as Marcus and Marguerite Genard as Janet.
“Relentless” begins previews May 6, and performances run through June 27 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave. For tickets and information, visit timelinetheatre.com or call the TimeLine Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.