Jeremy O. Harris's Slave Play is meant to be provocative—certainly moreso than most other Broadway productions that transfer from Off Broadway theatres. The play itself is about a group of interracial couples who go to a kind of psychosexual couples' therapy that involves BDSM, reflecting Antebellum master-slave dynamics. During previews, the show even hosted a "Black Out," or a dedicated performance for black audiences, so they can enjoy and discuss the play without worrying about the reactions of white people around them.
As such, it's not surprising that it might make some white people (and others) uncomfortable; that is, after all, the purpose of provocative art. But it reached a head after the Friday night performance on November 29 during a post-show talkback hosted by the playwright:
Apparently, the unnamed woman missed the whole part of the play about white people taking up space and centering things around themselves. She yelled at Harris for—in her words—"being told as a single woman I'm not good enough to fucking raise [my own children]," and asked, "How the fuck am I not a fucking marginalized member of this goddamn society?"
Harris answered calmly, "I never said you aren't. I never once said that you as a white woman were not a marginalized person. But if you heard that in my play, I don't know what to tell you. Perhaps read it or see it again," before ultimately telling her, "I think you've given us another really amazing play."
I haven't seen Slave Play myself yet, though I've heard great things. But if this tense moment is any indication, it certainly succeeds at its goals of provocation. I'm inclined to think that's a good thing.
A Broadway-goer railed against a play as unfair to white people. The playwright responded. [Hannah Knowles/The Washington Post]
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
“#BreakingNews an SUV just plowed through protesters on 42nd street in #manhattan Still assessing injuries if any. More on @NY1 #blacklivesmatter #nycprotest more on @NY1,” tweeted NY1 news reporter Ruschell Boone [@RuschellBoone] at 10:19pm New York Time.
Americanism has a weird obsession with vague notions of “law and order.” At its core, there’s nothing unique about a society whose existence depends on a collective respect for its own internal rule system — indeed, that’s basically just a society. But those who buy the narrative of Good Ol’ American Jingoism love to toss around […]
British historian David Starkey was fired today from one appointment and resigned from several others after remarking that the existence of “so many damn Blacks” showed that slavery was not a form of genocide. Canterbury Christ Church University immediately gave him the sack, while Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge said it “accepted the resignation of historian […]
For all their amazing growth over the past 25 years, the most impressive thing about the monumental rise of Amazon might be the speed and sophistication of their lightning-fast delivery network. Sometimes it doesn’t even take 24 hours for the idea you ordered to be perched right on your front porch, ready for use. The […]
You could actually watch a Tyrannosaurus Rex walk down your street right now. And no, this isn’t the latest Jurassic Park sequel. Of course, it isn’t real either, just a Google recreation of some pretty realistic looking dinosaurs transplanted right into any environment around you courtesy of augmented reality. Yet it’s just another example of […]
A guy on the Apple discussion forum started a thread titled, “Why do your Charger Cables have the lifespan of a housefly?” That question is probably enough to elicit a whole bunch of head nods from virtually everyone reading this, whether you’re an iPhone user, an Android owner or have virtually any device that needs […]