- Faith & Family
Does race still matter in America? When we are politically correct, do we really have less positive thoughts about others that we would prefer not to share? Does racism cause shame in Blacks and feelings of guilt in whites? How far have we really come in the arduous task of building better race relations in the U.S.? These are the kinds of questions with which one must grapple both before and particularly after seeing “Race” — a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Mamet that opened last week at the GableStage at the Coral Gables Biltmore.
This is the play’s Southeast Florida premier and is directed by Joseph Adler, GableStage’s producing artistic director. The actors include: Ethan Henry, Joe Kimble, Gregg Weiner and Jade Wheeler. Adler says the team of actors is outstanding.
“I’m thoroughly pleased with all four of the actors —it’s a terrific ensemble,” he said. “I’ve been privileged to work with the three [men] before and Jade is a young Black actress who just relocated from Washington, D.C. and is make her South Florida debut.”
Taking on a challenging script
“Race” premiered on Broadway in December 2009 to mixed reviews. It follows three attorneys, two Black and one white, whose job is to defend a white man charged with raping a young Black woman. It’s the fifth work by playwright Mamet that Adler has directed and he says it’s one of his favorites.
“I consider [“Race”] to be one of Mamet’s best works,” Adler said. “He’s always been able to find the scabs and then scratch them — this play is a perfect example. It deals with the fact that almost all of us still view the world through the prism of race. Whether knowingly or subconsciously, race affects so many of our ideas, actions, choices, words and decisions. Directing Mamet is, of course, always a challenge. It’s about collaborating with the actors to find the rhythm to his dialogue while maintaining the proper pacing and tension.”
When asked why he thought now was an opportune time to bring “Race” to the stage, Adler had this to say: “I chose “Race” because it’s compelling theater and because it brings up issues that are still central to our thinking in this country.”
The play runs through August 5th. It’s a show that every adult should see — then discuss later with friends, family and anyone who will listen. Does race still matter in the U.S.? You be the judge.
By D. Kevin McNeir