Monday, November 12, 2018

Weekly Margin 2018, W45: Super Awesome World, The Niceties

11/05/18: Super Awesome World
What: Part of the United Solo Theatre Festival, Amy Conway's piece uses her love of classic video games as a lens to explore her struggles with depression.
And? Delightful and powerful. Full review here.

Playwright/star Amy Conway.

11/06/18: The Niceties

What: Playwright Eleanor Burgess's new play at MTC, about a clash of ideasand ideologiesbetween a white history professor and her black student that leads to unexpectedly viral complications for both women. Inspired by a real-life incident at Yale in 2015.
And? A contemporary revisioning of Mamet's Oleanna, where the conflict may no longer be about gender, but it most assuredly is still rooted in the flipping of power. I find it interesting that this is the second play I've seen this year (the first being JC Lee's Relevance at MCC) to feature an older white woman, who fought and won her own crusade for gender equality in academia, being challenged for her unexamined and internalized presumptions about race by a younger black woman joining her field. While I think Relevance stumbled into permanent imbalance by having the older woman at last use the N-word (and thus turn irredeemable), Burgess's work here is subtler and more elegant. She challenges the audience to think, but she doesn't instruct the audience what to think. Both women are right; both women are wrong. The degree of wrongness, or the category of wrongness, spans the gamut from basic ideologies to blind spots to intersectionality to the tenets of solid and professional scholarship (to say nothing of how to examine revolutions, both moderate and radical, and the fallout and recovery from sudden unwanted media attention). Both women say things that are hard for me to forgive, but both women also have a point (and before I forget, both are perfectly performed by Lisa Banes as the professor Janine and Jordan Boatman as the student Zoe).

Lisa Banes and Jordan Boatman as Janine and Zoe.
Photo by T. Charles Erickson. (note: photo does
not reflect final costume or scenic design)

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