Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Appropriate Brings Race Into the Discussion at Woolly

Appropriate just wrapped at Woolly Mammoth in Washington D.C. and it is exhibit B of a triumphant return – after a series of questionable productions over the past year or so – as the city’s best theater company.

Following the also-excellent Detroit (exhibit A), Appropriate delves into comedic drama, with black playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins examining white siblings gathering with their families in Arkansas to determine what to do with their deceased father’s hoarded belongings in his decrepit mansion.

Wild child Frank (played with Stanley Kuwalski-like furor by Tim Getman), Bo (a Jack Nicholson-like, cell-phone addicted, big-bucks New Yorker), and nasty racist-like-her father Toni (the always-excellent Deborah Hazlett) discover possessions in their father’s house that lead them to confront whether their family has a history that includes KKK involvement.

The fact that Jacobs-Jenkins is able to keep the play from turning overly dark is a testament to his writing talent and gives Appropriate the stunning power to – hopefully – further our societal conversations about race and equity.

****1/2 out of *****

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