While waiting for the play to be- gin at the famous Goodman Theatre, it’s hard to know what to expect from a play called RACE with a picture of a red sequined dress on the front of the playbill. I made a note not to look at the synopsis beforehand because I wanted to be thoroughly surprised. Was I surprised? I was half a mile past shocked! The playwright David Mamet is a new force in the theatre world because of his intelligent dialogue, witty lines, opposing characters, and the realistic but touchy content of his plays.
The plot lies in an upscale law office with two high profile lawyers: one white, one black, who take the case of a rich white man, Patrick Clear as Charles Strickland, accused of raping a black woman. “You want to tell me about black folks?” says Henry, played by Geoffrey Owens starting off a lengthy conversation with his know it all partner Jack played by Mark Grapey.
The play puts forth stereotypes and underlying prejudices that no one likes to talk about. These realizations are disturbing, complex, and frank. By the end of the play, you never do find out if the client is guilty, but instead you find that the junior lawyer, a black woman named Susan, played by Tamberla Perry, gets the upper hand on them all. The complexity was as compelling as it is thought provoking.
RACE was directed by theatre veteran Chuck Smith in an up close and personal examination of how we treat the subject of race in our lives. It reveals the corruption of law, the morality and naivety of the general public and how individual perceptions of others influence injustices and discrimination. RACE runs 90 minutes with one 15 min intermission from January 14th to Feb 19th at the Goodman Theatre at 7:30pm.
Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012
Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2012 00:02