Eugene Dillanado’s stage play “Save the Last Dance for Me,” brought to light the many problems that often plague Black male-female relationships. The play debuted February 4th at the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory School, 250 E. 111th Street, with two shows at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
The sizzling extramarital affair between Dina Speight (LaSheda Wallace) and Perry Dupree (Eric Epps) thrives on sex and shouting matches which often leaves them bitter. Neither character listens to the other, but both exhibit anger when expressing their points of view. The play brought to bear the need for not only the black man to reconcile his anger issues but the Black woman should explore what is disturbing her as well.
The issue of interracial marriage was another critical issue that showed up. By marrying outside the race, Dina felt it was the answer to healing disappointed relationships with Black men. Perry’s opinions about Dina’s multi-ethnic marriage leaves her torn and on the defense about why she married outside of her race in the first place.
“The motivation behind the play is to bring men and women together,” said Eugene Dillanado, executive producer of “Save the Last Dance for Me.” “In relationships, we got to work as a team. There are a lot of things that prevent us from doing that, but “Save the Last Dance for Me” explores a lot of gaps that keeps Black men and women from working in harmony.”
The salty, gritty, discourse between Dina and Perry reveals Dina’s mistrust and fear, which according to Dillando are all linked to an abandoned childhood.
Race relations was another issue highlighted. Throughout the play, Perry pressured Dina to leave her white husband, hoping that the murders of Trayvon Martin and Laquan McDonald and others would give Dina a reality check about the state of race relations in this country.
Dillanado also pointed out the impact of childhood abandonment and how it weighs down a relationship. “Perry discovered that Dina father wasn’t there for her, which spoke to the issue of abandonment. Many women in our view carry this baggage and it impacts their relationships with other men,” he said.
Angelina Beck of South Holland stated that the play carried a lot of social issues affecting both the Black man and woman. “The play tapped on a lot of social issues that Black women and men often struggle with in relationships. It showed how women take on negative views of their relationships based on the relationship they had with their father. In this case, it wasn’t sexual abuse, but Dina’s father was absent from the home because he worked. Dina grew up feeling abandoned and in real life, this causes mistrust.”
Beck also added that the play depicted how the Black man is outspoken about racial oppression, yet he is powerless when it comes to taking a stand to change those circumstances that oppress him.
Playwright and Publisher of the Black Pages, Eugene Dillanado chose an excellent topic to bring to his theater audience. The play comes with lots of drama, sizzle, and passion. The performance is filled with good acting, which large audiences across the country will appreciate. Director, Curtis Hugghis and Assistant Director, LaTosha Davis were recognized as key directors in the production of “Save the Last Dance for Me.”
Interested parties looking to use the show as a fundraiser should call Eugene Dillanado, 773-407-1470.