This show about race is one of the most stimulating productions of the season

Lydia R. Diamond's Smart People addresses race in America.

Jackson (Kwesi Ameyaw) and Valerie (Katrina Reynolds) negotiate a bloody first meeting in Smart People.

Mitch and Murray Productions consistently produces some of the smartest shows in town. This one is called Smart People.

Lydia R. Diamond has set her 2016 play in and around Harvard in 2007 and 2008 during the run-up to Barack Obama’s first election. It’s about race and it is appropriately complicated.

The play’s white guy, Brian White—yep—who is, interestingly, the play’s pivotal character, is a cognitive neuroscientist who lectures at Harvard. He’s up for tenure, but there’s a problem: his goal is to prove that all white people are racist and he’s getting close to doing just that. Brian is investigating the possibility of an innate predisposition to racism, and his stats on brain activity, oxygenation of the blood, and so on are adding force to his thesis. Harvard liberals liked Brian when he was a colourful iconoclast, but they’re less keen on him now that the iconoclast has an arsenal, and he’s aiming it at them. [Read more…]

Detroit: comedy of despair

Mitch and Murray Productions is presenting Detroit.

Luisa Jojic consoles a drunken Jennifer Copping in Detroit.

In Detroit, Lisa D’Amour has created a kind of comedy of despair. It’s fueled by fierce, often futile, resistance.

Ben, who has lost his job in banking, spends his days trying to build a website to sell his services to people who are scrabbling to get out of debt. When the play starts, Ben and his wife Mary, who seems to be an alcoholic in training, are entertaining their new neighbours, a younger couple named Sharon and Kenny, on their back deck. Sharon and Kenny met in rehab. [Read more…]