'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom': Who plays Culter? Here's why 'Euphoria' fans will be thrilled with Colman Domingo
Cutler, like Domingdo's standout 'Euphoria' character Ali, is a pacifier. He is the balance in the band, tying together Levee and the rest of the older bandmates
It's probably the hottest day of summer in Chicago of the Roaring Twenties and Ma 'Gertrude Pridgett' Rainey has just arrived at a run-down recording studio to record some of her finest tunes. Thus begins the narrative of August Wilson's popular play, now a Netflix film of the same name called 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'. Theatre fanatics will know how the story progresses, and the rest of the cinephile universe has been gushing about the film as it is our beloved Chadwick Boseman's final performance for the screen. But if you belong to the neither and are a fan of HBO's 'it drama' 'Euphoria', you might find something very close to home in the movie by George C Wolfe. There's a character called Culter who is just as much of a pacifier as Rue's Ali has become over time. What's better? Coleman Domingo plays the role too.
We meet Cutler as the band Ma Rainey is supposed to sing to is entering the recording studio. The rest of the bandmates, that's Toledo and Slow Drag are asking Culter about their fourth member, Levee, aka Boseman's character who plays the trumpet. The band assembles in the basement and agrees to rehearse before the force of nature, that is the real-life Mother of Blues played by Viola Davis appears, but while her delay is understandable given her tar status, the band starts getting agitated about just where he hell is Levee. The band, except Cutler, are starting to get miffed, especially the oldest of the lot, Toledo, who just doesn't understand the young, ambitious trumpet players' audacity. And this is where Cutler comes in.
Cutler, like Domingdo's standout 'Euphoria' character Ali, is a pacifier. He is the balance in the band, tying together Levee and the rest of the older bandmates as the middle-aged man in the city. This is reminiscent of the way Ali ties together the balance in Rue's life, as the character played by Zendaya oscillates between mania and depression amidst her crippling drug addiction. Cutler tries to excuse Levee's delay saying he wanted to buy some snazzy shoes for the recording session. The others don't buy it but it doesn't matter to Cutler, he is happy to keep the equilibrium.
Even when Levee does make his appearance and Slow Drag goes on and on about a man he knew who sold his soul to Satan, Cutler is once again the balance between him and the rest of the band. Levee gets too cheeky with Toledo as debate sparks over the notion of 'colored man just wanna have a good time'. Once again Cutler dives in to rescue the seasoned and the youth from each other's verbal claws. The character strikes a balance that pretty much comes off as the glue that ties the band together.
Domingo's performance is not that far off from what he has already essayed on 'Euphoria'. While Ali is a former addict still clinging on to his sobriety desperately, Culter looks like an honest man up for an honest living. But in the end, they are older men wanting the best for someone much younger than them. There's an air of protectiveness Cutler feels about Levee, that resonates with how Ali is around Rue, and it goes to speak volumes about Domingo's expertise as an actor, director, writer and producer. Films like 'Lincoln', 'The Butler', 'Selma', 'The Birth of a Nation', and 'If Beale Street Could Tal' are all on the acclaimed actor's credit. He has been nominated for a Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, and Drama League Award, and continues to win the hearts of the younger crowd with his performance as Ali on 'Euphoria'.
Catch him on 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom', now available for streaming, only on Netflix.