Monday, August 06, 2007

The Hanging Of Razor Brown

photo: Kymm Zuckert

We never meet the title character in The Hanging Of Razor Brown - he's a "Negro" sentenced to death for stealing a horse in a small town in Florida, circa 1918. Instead our focus is on the proper, socially correct schoolteacher Madame Genevieve LeCompte, who has escorted three of her charges to witness the hanging in order to teach them a hard, insidious life lesson: know your place, and suffer it with dignity. When she holds forth about the proper place of men, women and Negroes, the play is an absorbing character study that brings to vivid life the social conventions, hypocrises and prejudices of the time. The play is less successful in its depiction of its male characters: at least two might as well be wearing placards that say "Derived from Tennessee Williams".

A longer review at New Theater Corps.

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