“Invisible Man” is a powerful story that packs an emotional wallop. If you’ve read Ralph Ellison’s classic 1952 novel, you’ll appreciate how true Oren Jacoby’s adaptation remains to its source. If you’ve yet to read it, (though you likely will after seeing this production), you might get lost along the way, and you might be surprised to find that this work has nothing to do with the sci-fi classic with a strikingly similar title. Regardless, the emotional journey is one worth taking.
“Invisible Man” is a memory play and as such, the entire story is told through the narrative of its main character whose name we never know. In this co-production of the Huntington Theatre Company and Studio Theatre of Washington, D.C., Teagle F. Bougere so completely and convincingly brings him to life you can’t avoid being mesmerized by the experience.
The journey begins when the Invisible Man declares from a dark stage “I am an invisible man.” Over the course of the next three hours (including two intermissions) he relives the struggles that brought him from the optimism of youth to the resignation that comes with throwing in the towel.
It’s difficult to watch him get played by society, the establishment, liberal do-gooders and even his own people as he makes his way to invisible status in the most well-lit basement in New York. Bougere beautifully captures the plethora of emotions with a gut-wrenching performance that toys with your own feelings from start to finish.
Bougere is joined by a strong ensemble that includes standouts Deidra LaWan Starnes and McKinley Belcher III and local favorites Johnny Lee Davenport, De’Lon Grant and Jeremiah Kissel.
The authenticity of this troupe makes it clear why this is the only authorized adaptation of Ellison’s masterpiece. It’s his words that give “Invisible Man” its voice.
Through Feb. 3
264 Huntington Ave., Boston
$25 - $95, 617-266-0800