Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This thing called blackness.

Over the weekend I had the pleasure and pain of seeing a new play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins called Neighbors at the Public Theater. It runs now through March 14: Tues at 7pm; Wed–Fri at 8pm; Sat at 2 & 8pm; Sun at 2 & 7pm. It's $10. Go see it. I'm going again this week.

When I walked out of the theater I was overwhelmed. I wanted to cry. But I couldn't break down in public. So I screamed. Ahh! I wanted to thrash about. Kick off my heels and fling my arms and legs; throw my whole body across the lobby from my core. Ahh! I was angry. Ahh! I was heartbroken. Ahh! I was sad. Ahh! I hurt. Ahh!

In three hours this play throws in your face every stereotype - truth or lie - about black people. It caricatures everything that we love and everything we hate about ourselves. It lays down layer upon layer of the psychosis that is race to reveal the complexity of this thing called blackness in America. You won't discover anything new, but you will see before you the threads that make up the effed-up fabric of our lives. (Kudos to the writer and director who brilliantly and incisively synthesize these elements through words, actions, music, costuming, lighting etc.)

When I see it again there will be another post. When I have better processed what I've seen, I will be able choose a point of entry to discuss this thing called blackness, because it's a trip y'all.

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