The Blacks, by French dramatist Jean Genet, is a play-within-a-play that explores racial prejudice and stereotypes while exploring black identity.
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The Blacks is a lyrical, ritualistic play that centers on two groups of Black characters: one, a royal colonial court made up of such stereotypes as a Queen, Missionary, and General, who wear whiteface masks throughout; and the other, a group of unmasked “Negroes,” who represent colonized natives in an unspecified African village. The Blacks is an absurdist condensation of colonization, with a final coup staged by the Negroes, who kill the members of the court. We are remounting America’s longest running off-broadway play for the Hollywood Fringe Festival to examine and provoke critical discussion and thought about the prejudices and judgments embedded in our social constructs.
This is a play that profits from the absurdities of the 21st century’s grip on long outdated assumptions and stereotypes surrounding race, sexuality, gender, and religion by mirroring them in their entirety before its spectators. With the ever mounting tension of our social climate, we couldn’t think of a better time for this story to be re-examined.
The play is directed by Craig Gibson (Theater MFA 14), produced by Donna Simone Johnson (Theater MFA 14) and Arielle Siler (Theater BFA 13), managed by Kaitlyn Cornuelle (Acting BFA 13) and with cinematography by Corey Gates (Film/Video MFA 15).
The Blacks stars Jonathan Bangs (Theater BFA 16), Ajala Bandele (Theater BFA 10), A’raelle Flynn-Bolden (Theater 14), Daphne Gabriel, Zan Headley (Theater BFA 14), Carissa Pinckney, Precious Ra’Akbar (Theater MFA 14), Gyasi Silas (Theater BFA 14) and John C. Sweet (Theater 12).
The Blacks: A Clown Show runs weekends from June 6 through 20 at The Actors Company in West Hollywood.