Speakeasy on Race

Did I say The Whistler would be on Court Street, and the tickets $10?  Oh la!  My partners on the ground have found a better space literally around the corner at 815 Race Street. It wasn’t a Prohibition beerhall but you gotta love the name “Speakeasy on Race.” We’ll have less work to do to fix up the space–mostly removing a drop ceiling–and it’s not quite so narrow, which should afford better audience views from anywhere in the house.  Now that we’ve done a real budget, ticket prices, after all, will be set at $15 recognizing that we’ll give discounts for large groups and students.

I do want to talk more about the role played by race in this story.  The Whistler is no by means a civil rights play though the movement certainly forms a backdrop to much of the action and affects what characters decide they must do, and how.
Colored Childrens Library in US
Were the topic whether racism is bad or the South more ignoble than the North, that would be melodrama, and this ain’t that. If anything it’s about how Americans manage, in our better moments, to transcend race in spite of all our efforts to enshrine it. Audiences will notice that the main character, Henry, is a very lukewarm liberal who claims he voted for Kennedy but now wants to let the rule of law wind its slow course along. Similarly, Joe Summers, who complains that Negroes share swimming pools with the daughters and wives of whites, turns out to be a very lukewarm bigot. And that’s exactly the point. We could all boo at Simon Legree and cheer on Uncle Tom (well, many would), but at the end of day there’d be no catharsis.

Hate them both, if you want. I’m also going to try to convince you to care what happens to them–because they’re funny?  Because they both have soft hearts? Because their bark is worse than their bite? Or just because you see yourself in them.

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