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Paulanne Simmons

“The Power of the Trinity” Educates and Entertains at Central Park

The Power of the Trinity

The Power of the Trinity
Directed by Alfred Preisser
Central Park
July 31, 2012
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons

Some people think summertime is when you sun yourself at the beach or go camping in the mountains. But for many New Yorkers (and tourists), summer is the time when the city comes alive with free outdoor entertainment.

One of the premiere venues for this is SummerStage, which this year is bringing over 100 performances to eighteen parks throughout the five boroughs. Performances range from pop, Latin and world music to dance, spoken word and theater.

On July 31, SummerStage Theater presented “The Power of the Trinity” at Central Park. Written by Roland Wolf and adapted and directed by Alfred Preisser, “The Power of the Trinity” is a high-energy theatrical concert about Ethiopia’s last monarch, Emperor Haile Selassie (whose name translates to Power of the Holy Trinity) and his determination to save the kingdom from foreign invasion by the forces of fascist Italy.

The production focuses on Selassie’s moving but unsuccessful appeal for help from the League of Nations, and his speech on freedom and humanity that ends with the words, “It is Ethiopia today. It will be you tomorrow,” an unheeded warning of the coming World War II.

Preisser directs a large cast led by the excellent C. Walker Jr., as Haile Selassie. The production also features African dance and The Tomás Doncker band playing he original score from Tomás Doncker’s album, Power of the Trinity, which was inspired by the same events.

Although most people know all about the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany, many fewer people are aware of Italy’s barbaric invasion of a much weaker nation, pitting Italian chemical weapons and air power against Ethiopian spears and shields. “The Power of the Trinity” is a an emotionally charged and intellectually stimulating reminder of the relationship between African suffering and European aggression.

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