Archives for November 2017

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…]

Girls Like That: How theatrical is this exploration of gender politics?

Evan Pacey's Girls Like Us examines slut shaming.

Louise Cove (left) and Isabella Tecson are standout members in the strong cast of Girls Like Us.

There are a couple of different ways of approaching Girls Like That, which is about slut shaming: you could look at it as a piece of theatre or you could assess it as a focal point for discussion. Despite committed performances from the teenaged cast, this production of Girls Like That mostly doesn’t work on theatrical terms. To a large extent, that’s because Evan Placey’s script is so polemical. I daresay Girls Like That works better as part of a social process. And that process is an urgent one with high stakes. [Read more…]

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