Homebound’s episode 5 finds us once again with Craig (Craig Wallace), who has become somewhat of an avuncular safe haven for the various souls of Homebound. It’s easy to understand why: his kind eyes and smooth voice, which waxes both authoritative and understanding, and willingness to listen without judgment.
“Double Entendre,” written by Psalmayene 24, introduces CFS security guard Kofi (Yao Dogbe) who calls shortly after Craig has decided to stop watching the news (man, haven’t we all been there these last few months). Kofi first plays a practical joke, because Craig is still the kind of guy you rib for fun. And Craig takes it for far longer than most people would.
Kofi and Craig discuss their mental state while Facetiming, and Craig admits “Today I was a little unhinged,” Craig says. “I can’t watch the news anymore, Kofi. It’s not good for my mental health.”
Craig, is, of course, referring to all that coronavirus has wrought—from death to unemployment—and also to the most recent insidious act of hate: the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
”If you stick your head in the sand,” Kofi warns him, “you leave your backside exposed.” And then, Kofi drops the reason why he’s called. He is home bound. Not stuck at home, but headed back home to Ghana. This is, in effect, a goodbye.
The roles in Homebound are written for the specific actors, and, here, Dogbe, whose parents are from Ghana, easily steps into the role and accent of Ghanaian native Kofi, an enthusiastic, slightly offbeat guy whose penchant for joking probably made him a fun security guard to greet you at the start of each day. But beneath that jovial personality lies wisdom in the face of a biter truth: America is no longer where he wishes to live.
Psalmayene 24, through Craig and Kofi, explores the notion of home and, true to the title, what it means to be “homebound.” We have all been homebound, but, once borders order open and the virus dissipates will we, like Kofi, yearn to return to the place we remember as home? For Craig and for Maboud, who gets briefly mentioned here, is home a place, a person, their CFS workplace, or even a culture?
The layering in “Double Entendre” is subtle and effective. Arbery was jogging and likely bound for home when he was murdered. The news has drawn such national outrage that it finally drew the media’s attention away from the virus. This episode seeks to ensure that his murder and the fact that African Americans do not feel safe in this country will not be ignored.
Round House Theatre’s Homebound is an original web series that explores life under Stay-at-Home orders in the Nation’s Capital.”Written by Psalmayene 24. Directed by Nicole A. Watson. Featuring Yao Dogbe and Round House Theatre Resident Artist Craig Wallace. Produced by Ryan Rilette and Ed Zakreski. Post Production Courtesy of Digital Cave. Reviewed by Kelly McCorkendale.
The 10 episode Homebound series is produced as a benefit for Round House Theatre’s Resilience Fund.