Blue Review – A Wounded Society

John Colella and Julanne Chidi-Hill in BLUE - Photo by Jeff Lorch
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The Rogue Machine proudly presents the world premiere of its current production, BLUE. Penned by June Carryl – who could easily have torn this play from the headlines of most big city newspapers – BLUE digs into the dynamite dynamics which might well underlie today’s multiple reports of police brutality focused on people of color. When do the tasks “protect and serve” turn into something else? Where is the line between offering help and using that power to harm? When does the juxtaposition between black and blue morph into genuine, palpable injury?

John Colella and Julanne Chidi-Hill – Photo by Jeff Lorch

Detective LaRhonda Parker (Julanne Chidi-Hill) has been assigned to investigate allegations that her colleague and old friend Sergeant Boyd Sully (John Colella) exceeded his authority and, in doing so, fatally shot a young black man in the back of the head during a traffic stop. A tricky situation, especially since Parker’s husband is also Sully’s former partner. Where do her loyalties lie, and when does the Blue Line begin to dissolve into something quite different? What will happen during that fateful upcoming interview between Parker and Sully? Especially when she discovers that Sully also participated in the events of January 6.

John Colella and Julanne Chidi-Hill – Photo by Jeff Lorch

BLUE studies the boundaries of friendship, loyalty, collegial connection, and systemic racism with honesty and compassion – but also as a route to the truth. No small task for people with deeply ingrained views and beliefs. For here we have two average – even likeable – people with two very different world views.

Julanne Chidi-Hill and John Colella – Photo by Jeff Lorch

Produced by Guillermo Cienfuegos, Sara Fenton, Kila Kitu, Mildred Maries Langford, Tarina Pouncy, and Betsy Zajko, BLUE is a controversial play about a controversial topic which will intrigue audiences with thought-provoking questions and frequently hazy answers. Director Matthews carefully manages the delicate balance inherent in such cases. Chidi-Hill and Colella do a splendid, passionate job of building suspense as the see-saw of inquiries slowly works its way to a climax. When two people engage in conversation – and both feel deeply that they are right – the fur will surely fly.

John Colella and Julanne Chidi-Hill – Photo by Jeff Lorch

BLUE is a suspense-filled tale drawn from the headlines, a tale with no clear-cut answers and lots of emotional drama heaped on its shoulders. BLUE is also a provocative play which will both challenge and stimulate, a play which will appeal to the thinking public on both sides of the fence. And just maybe it will draw attention to the personal and professional challenges in policing, especially at this point in time. Can victims be seen as enemies by their protectors?

BLUE runs through June 5, 2023, with performances at 5 p.m. on Saturdays, at 7 p.m. on Sundays, and at 8 p.m. on Mondays (no performances at 8 p.m. on Saturday, 5/27/23). The Rogue Machine Company currently performs at the Henry Murray Stage (upstairs at the Matrix Theatre), 7657 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Tickets are $30 (students and seniors $20). For information and reservations, call 855-585-5185 or go online


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