OnyxFest: A Noise in the Attic

This play is part of OnyxFest 2022, a production of Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI (ARTI) and IndyFringe, “Indy’s First and Only Theater Festival Dedicated to the Stories of Black Playwrights.” Initial performances were the weekend of Nov. 3-6 at the Basile Theatre in the IndyFringe building. The second weekend of performances are Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 10-12, at the IUPUI Campus Center Theater, 420 University Boulevard, Indianapolis. Recordings of performances will be available at ButlerArtsCenter.org. For more information, see OnyxFest.com.

By Wendy Carson

Abuse of a loved one doesn’t have to be physical, success sours when it’s not shared, and sometimes things that go bump in the night aren’t so bad, as revealed in “A Noise in the Attic,” by OnyxFest executive producer Vernon A. Williams.

Mr. Adams (ShaQuan Davis) appears to be the perfect husband and father, appropriate for a lawyer with a promising political career. But his daughter Cathy (Vae Savage) is an absolute brat who gets anything she wants from him, including silent permission to bully her stepmother Rita (Selena Jackson-King).

This situation, and the fact that her own desires have to be put on the back burner yet again, has Rita frustrated beyond belief. Plus, rather than do it himself, Adams is making her search the attic to discover the source of the strange noise that has been occurring over the past week.

However, a chance encounter with down-on-his-luck singer Walker (Atiyyah Radford) helps put things into perspective, awakening Rita to the truth about herself and her situation.

In the end, everyone gets exactly what they deserve.

Jackson-King does a great job balancing her character’s compassion for Walker’s plight against her struggles with propriety and devotion to her family, brought to focus by aspiring poet/performer Rita’s brave verse. Davis brings forth all the slick, playboy moves to reflect his character’s selfish attitude towards women. Savage portrays Cathy’s attitude so well, you will fight the urge to show her discipline and what true respect is. With a wry smile, Radford brings us the story of someone struggling his way to the top; his aspirations were crushed by the Pandemic, but not his spirit.

Angela Wilson-Holland is a comical delight as Rita’s Aunt Helen, who tries to talk her out of an obviously crazy plan. Jamillah Gonzalez does a great job of portraying Adams’ secretary, looking to make moves of her own.

Director Debora Farrell has done an excellent job of bring William’s script to life, making each character so realistic you will revel in the karma of the climax, as well as the revelation of what exactly is in the attic.