Review: “Pipeline” at Omaha Community PlayhouseOct 11, 2023 12:38PM ● By Tamsen Butler
Photo courtesy of Omaha Community Playhouse.
Set in the intimate Howard Drew Theatre and featuring a small cast, Omaha Community Playhouse’s production of “Pipeline” presents the story of an inner-city teacher (played by Deborah Dancer), who is desperately trying to navigate keeping her son and students out of trouble.
The plight of a single mom trying to raise a son (played by Wayne Hudson II) is only further complicated by her son’s innate rage stemming from an absent father and society that stereotypes him based on his skin color. It’s a powerful commentary on the myriad deficits of the education system within the United States for students of color.
Scenic Designer Nora Marlow Smith pulled together a versatile stage with fluorescent lighting and a linoleum floor that screamed, “Public school!” The use of the upstage wall as a screen for projected images throughout the show was a nice touch and helped drive home important points.
The competent cast brought their characters to life, but none so much as Hudson, who delivered a powerful performance as Omari. Though his character had a slow start in the beginning, once he started to release emotion and frustration for the audience, his talents as an actor became obvious.
The scene toward the end of the show between Hudson and George Weaver (as Xavier) was powerful enough to make audience members uncomfortable as they witnessed a heated discussion between father and son, fueled by a history of neglect and abandonment.
With some adult themes and language, “Pipeline” isn’t appropriate for kids. The show’s runtime is around 90 minutes with no intermission and will run through November 5. Tickets are available through Ticket Omaha.