Berkeley Times Performance Review
February 8, 2018
Black History Month tends to carefully evolved through the Port Chicago 50 is well written and
inspire top-notch lively arts, and years to incorporate feedback well played; and It features a full
perhaps this year’s most outstanding from audiences, especially details cast of characters who occupy all
show of all is the current production remembered by survivors, for points on the love-hate spectrum.
of PORT CHICAGO 50 at example, when Berkeley Times In that way, its very revealing of the
Black Berkeley Rep – a historical visited this production last Friday struggles of the oppressed and worth
play by David Shackelford and Olympic Gold medal winner of one's attention - especially during
Dennis Rowe (who also directs) Eddie Hart was in the audience these strange times.
based on the life of Port Chicago and introduced to all after curtain
survivor Freddie Meeks. call. Eddie explained that his father, Berkeley Black Repertory theater is
This drama sizzles with racial TJ Hart (now deceased) was a Port located at 3201 Adeline Street.
tension from the get go. The year Chicago survivor and a friend of
is 1944, WWII is in full swing, and Meeks. Then Eddie described how
segregation in the U.S. Navy is the his father's memory of the explosion
status quo. Then on July 17, at Port and it's aftermath had influenced this.
Chicago, a munitions naval station production.
not far from Concord, something According to Eddie, after the
went terribly wrong, an explosion explosion, his father was given the
so large it was felt in Nevada. grisly task of picking up unidentifiable
The blast made headlines, yet did body parts - a memory that is
not end the blatant racism within recreated in the opening scene of the
military ranks. So that’s when this second act. No dramatic punches are
drama climaxes with intensity. are pulled here.
Told through the eyes of sea-
man Meeks, this play has been