The small play “Superior Donuts” was performed on March 13 at 8 p.m. at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. The Williams Theatre housed the play that was made up of nine actors. The play was set in the “Superior Donuts” shop in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood during the December of 2009.
It opened with two officers answering a call about vandalism in the “Superior Donuts” shop. The beginning was immediately rocky with one character stumbling and forgetting lines, but soon the other actors picked it up, and the play continued strong afterwards. The main character, named Arthur, performed by Rob Bowe, owned the dilapidated donut shop and came in on the investigation.
It was immediately clear that the female cop, Officer Randy, was deeply interested in Arthur. Thus ensued the awkward one-sided romance. That wasn’t the least of Arthur’s problems. The young, energetic Franco Wicks arrived seeking employment, believing in big dreams, trying to pay big debts and having just finished writing his first Great American novel. Franco was played by 18-year-old Cornelius Johnson.
Through the sluggish but believable pace, the actors brought life to a script that needed a clearer plot structure. Arthur and another character would exchange dialogue, one would exit, and then a moody red light would be cast over the stage as Arthur would pour out his sob story in monologue form. Arthur’s memories were tiresomely uninteresting and didn’t provide any character development that could not have been achieved through an interaction with another character. It left me feeling dismal and bored.
The fight scene between Arthur and Franco’s creditor was laughably clumsy and made light of the desolate setting. The romance between Officer Randy and Arthur was hard to watch, but its awkwardness felt genuine. The end scene was emotional and heartwarming. It tied in multiple themes of the real “American Dream,” courage, love, and hope. Overall, the actors saved a rather poor script that was murky and difficult by making the play remarkably believable.