Faith Artis, Sabrina Farris, Kym J. Vaugn, & Stephanie Collins (front) in Single Black Female. Photo: Redline

Single Black Female

By Lisa B. Thompson
Directed by Brandi LaShay

A review by Keith Waits

Entire contents are copyright © 2024 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

This production of Single Black Female will be over when you read this. It’s a little frustrating to see something this enjoyable have such a limited run as three performances, but I assume that the reason is that it is part of the Kentucky Performing Arts ArtsReach MeX Project, an initiative that underwrites local productions.

Lisa B. Thompson’s script is sharp in its observations and raucous in its humor, even if it doesn’t dig nearly as deep as it might. It feels more like a series of sketches than a fully developed play examining aspects of identity for single Black women in the United States.

As such, Brandi LaShay’s production is an absolute blast. I laughed pretty hard, but not nearly as hard as the Black women who constituted most of the audience around me. Their loud vocal reaction was the surest endorsement of the truth of Thompson’s observations you could ask for. 

The central theme is, not surprisingly,  relationships, mostly but not exclusively in terms of men. Male audience members experiencing SIngle Black Female will also have a grand time, even if they see themselves in the complaints, as long as they have a sense of humor.. 

The production has an intermission, although the series of vignettes and exchanges could play without one, particularly with these four women onstage. Kym J. Vaughn has been in several Redline shows and has proven a reliable, professional presence playing mothers, principals, and other authority figures, so it is a real pleasure to see her allowed to cut loose and play a virtuoso comic performance. Her delivery reminded me of Wanda Sykes and her finest moment was hilariously vocalizing the “lines” heard from various males.

Sabrina Farris was an authoritative center, statuesque and commanding, while Stephanie Collins was a sly and sassy delight. Best of all was Faith Artis, whose range, energy, and facility come from an underlying discipline. She is having just as much fun, but her work here is built on a solid foundation of craft. 

Near the beginning, the women categorically refute the “angry Black woman” stereotype, yet that presents a challenge in the playing. Lazy acting with this script might indulge in those cliches, but LaShay has pushed her game cast to find the heightened energy while also discovering the subtler truths found between the lines. Together, these five women elevate Single Black Female to something more vital than a laughfest.

Featuring Faith Artis, Stephanie Collins, Sabrina Farris, & Kym J. Vaughn

Single Black Female

February 23-25, 2024

Redline Performing Arts
The MeX at The Kentucky Center
501 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of Artists Talk with LVA on WXOX 97.1 FM /, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music, and visual arts. His work has appeared in LEO Weekly, Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for