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African American Repertory Theater/Carol Piersol Race

By • Dec 3rd, 2013 • Category: Reviews
Race
African American Repertory Theater: (Info) (Web)/Carol Piersol
Virginia Rep Center – Theatre Gym, Richmond, VA
Through December 21st
$25/$10 Students, RAPT (Plus Fees)
1:20 without intermission
Reviewed November 29th, 2013

After a week of seeing holiday shows and going to holiday parties, tonight was quite the change of pace. Carol Piersol and African American Repertory Theater are presenting David Mamet’s Race. The play is just what it sounds like — an exploration into the darker side, so to speak, of what white folks and black folks really think about people of the other race.

A wealthy white man, Charles (Joe Inscoe) is accused of raping a black woman. He wants to hire two law partners — one, Jack, who is white (Billy Christopher Maupin) and the other, Henry, who is black (d l [sic] Hopkins) as his defense team. They are assisted by Jack’s paralegal Susan (Katrinah Carol Lewis).

This is Piersol at her best, choosing a play that makes you think, makes you laugh, and makes you squirm. She and director Bill Patton have pulled together a group of Richmond’s most skillful and authentic performers to pull off this study of guilt and shame in the legal and moral senses.

The four actors play well off each other and maintain a fast-paced, emotional roller coaster; jumping from humor to anger effortlessly. Hopkins did seem to struggle at times in remembering some of his lines, but this did not weaken the dynamic created by the four actors.

David A. Ballas’ set was filled with red hues enhancing the incendiary nature of the dialogue. There were a couple of problems, such as a step that almost tripped up Lewis a couple of times in her high heels; and some visible seams in the floors and walls of this otherwise fashionable office. Sarah Grady’s costumes helped establish each character’s self-image, in a play where image is everything.

In addition to the strong theme, there is some very strong language throughout the one-act play (which made me a bit uncomfortable that my “assistant reviewer” Nick and his friend were also in attendance) but the message is a good one for mature teens on up.

You should race to see Race for its powerful performances and message.

Photo Gallery

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Photos provided by African American Repertory Theater

The Cast

  • Jack: Billy Christopher Maupin
  • Hanry: d l [sic] Hopkins
  • Susan: Katrinah Carol Lewis
  • Charles: Joe Inscoe

The Crew

  • Director: Bill Patton
  • Stage Manager: Sarah Stepahin
  • Assistant Stage Manager:
  • Scenic Designer: David A Ballas
  • Lighting Design: Michael Jarrett and Cody Richardson
  • Costume Design: Sarah Grady
  • Producer: Carol Piersol
  • Associate Producer: Billy Christopher Maupin
  • Scenic Charge: Kevin Johnson
  • Scenic Painter: Christina Delli Santi

Disclaimer: African American Repertory Theater/Carol Piersol provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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is by day a Special Education teacher, teaching History, Science and drama to Middle and High School students in a private Day School in Stafford. He has degrees in Educational Media and Special Education. He is also a part time Radio News Anchor and occasional actor in the Richmond area. Bruce is a native of New Jersey and spent most of his "adult" life in Upstate New York, where he started and ran a national award winning youth theater and cable television program for over 10 years. He has lived in Virginia since 2002, and in Caroline County since 2005, where he is active in many community groups; including serving on the Board of Caroline's Promise.

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