“Violet” review: KCMetropolis.org

Spinning Tree Theatre directors Michael Grayman and Andy Parkhurst have a knack for producing unusual theatre. They combine the best of Kansas City’s actors and musicians with cool venues and often quirky or edgy material. The fact that they’ve only been around for four seasons hasn’t fazed them at all. They have never shied away from a challenge, and Violet presents more than one kind of challenge, both to the producers and to the audience.

Violet tells the story of a young woman travelling from North Carolina to Tulsa, Oklahoma by Greyhound bus to have a televangelist heal a facial scar that has disfigured her face since a childhood accident. It’s the 1960s, and on her journey she befriends two soldiers: Monty, a hotheaded young white man, and Flick, a black sergeant whose superior rank and accomplishments don’t stop anyone along their route from threatening or humiliating him. Along the way, Violet fantasizes openly about the dream face she’s about to receive from God, one composed entirely of movie stars’ features. She cannot be persuaded that she has wasted her life savings on a useless trip, nor can she be convinced that her physical beauty—or lack thereof—is not the defining feature of her character.

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