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Monday, February 26, 2007

The Dance: The History Of American Minstrelsy

photo: Tatiana Elkhouri
***1/2
Richmond Shepard Theater

I haven't seen black-face in New York since Mandy Patinkin in The Wild Party. Billed as "educational theater for social change", this highly theatrical history lesson featured two African-American gentlemen diving headfirst into this banished and buried "art-form" with hilarious and harrowing effect. I might have questioned the relevance of this show as we all today acknowledge that black-face is wrong and bad, but this production, presenting racial stereotypes in their most severe and extreme and then the hurt and shame that they inflict, couldn't be any more relevant in our everyone's-a-little-bit-racist society. Actor Aaron White in black-face deftly lip syncing to Al Jolson's "Mammy" is an image I will not soon forget.

4 comments:

Webcowgirl said...

I'm jealous that you have a group like this going on, even though I've only seen 6 shows that would count this year (I average about one a week). Let me know if you want an American in London in your group ... I've about given up on posting about my shows but could be easily convinced to get back in the swing of things.

Cambel said...

Wow, that poster above....how nice of her to volunteer to join your obvoiusly lacking group. You don't find generousity like that very often these days. Good thing she didn't sound desperate or anything.

Oh, by the way, the review, great. Your service is invaluable for those of us who only go to a few shows and would be really dissapointed to hit a bad one.

Patrick Lee said...

webcowgirl - thanks for posting; I read through your blog and I'm so excited for CORAM BOY to get here.

Webcowgirl said...

Thanks, Patrick, my circle of friends here doesn't share my rather mad passion for theater and it's nice to see some folks who do! There was a fellow in Seattle named Joe Boling who saw more shows than humanly possible and even eventually did a one-man play about his obsession.

This is a great way to catch up on theater in New York, much better than just reading the New York Times. I'm glad they wrote about this site, though!