Nilaja Sun is a one-woman wonder.
Not only did Sun write “No Child…,” her play about the deeply flawed American education system, but she is also the one and only star of the play. She plays roles of narrator, protagonist, antagonist and every role in between. The play is part of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s second stage series, PRC2.
Sun’s first role in the show is that of an elderly African-American janitor at a fictional New York City public high school. Sun’s portrayal of the janitor is complete with facial tics and an almost perfectly pained walk and crooked posture. The janitor reveals that the play is, in fact, a play within a play.
This information sets the stage for Sun’s next role: herself. She enters the school and attempts to lead the troubled and extremely disobedient youth in putting on a play about convicts.
Much of the success of “No Child…” can be attributed to Sun’s honesty in portraying the high school students of New York City. She takes no shortcuts as she jumps head first — foul language and all — into the role of misbehaved 18-year-old boys and girls.