Consultation Time Heats up the Law Office

Written by David Mamet, Race is the enticing legal story that faces controversial issues including sexual assault, gender discrimination and race.

The drama begins when a wealthy white man is charged with raping a young black woman. He goes to the law office of a small firm in hopes they will represent him. The firm’s partners, one white, one black and their new female employee, grapple with the decision. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” These raw performances on controversial topics are brought to light with witty and provocative dialogue that will push boundaries.

Jonnique Peters as Susan, Brennan Thomas as Charles Strickland, Andre McGraw as Henry Brown and Doug Blackburn as Jack Lawson

Some of the actors give a little insight to their characters. Doug Blackburn who plays Jack Lawson, the white attorney and partner in the firm, describes his character as a showman who’s like a bulldog that never backs down from a good fight. “He does not shy away from confrontation and always says what he believes the truth to be,” said Doug.

Jonnique Peters who plays Susan, the female employee at the firm, describes her character as fresh out of law school. “She believes she can be a warrior. Idealism still hangs upon her like morning dew,” said Jonnique.

Why should audiences come watch this production? Doug said, “[The play is written by] one of the greatest playwrights of our generation with topics told through incredible dialogue that is so rarely and bluntly approached in theatre. Remember to keep your mind open when watching this production,” said Doug.

Jonnique has similar thoughts. “An attentive observation and intellectual engagement is needed among the audience,” said Jonnique.

Doug has enjoyed his time working on this production. “The discussions that have arisen, such as making sure we all understand the context of each scene has been a great experience,” said Doug.

Jonnique has enjoyed her time too. “I've been away from the theatre for a long time so being cast in Race is like starting over again. I'm the newbie! Working with the director and actors who are so good at what they do has been equally exhilarating and terrifying,” said Jonnique. “I love watching them work.”

Amy Lane, the director, has enjoyed working with this script and actors. “The playwright, David Mamet, offers so much to the actors: great characters, high-stakes storyline, exciting twists and turns. His language is usually stripped down to essentials, but so rhythmic and precise. It's a real challenge for actors. As a director, it's exciting to guide a group of actors through the story,” said Amy. “I think audiences will be surprised at how their views of the characters and their perceived innocence or guilt shift throughout the play,” said Amy.

“There [are] so many lines that we believe are resolutely fixed between right and wrong, black and white, good and evil, and I think David Mamet, the playwright, has gone to great lengths to ensure that everyone leaving the theatre is left with a world of realities to consider, ideas to wrestle with and truths to discover,” said Jonnique.

Don’t miss this thought-provoking production, Race, May 9-June 8 in the Howard Drew Theatre. Tickets are $35 for adults and $21 for students. For groups of 12 or more, adult tickets are $23 and student tickets are $15. For more information, call (402) 553-0080, visit the Box Office or click here.

After the Show

A talk back with the cast and crew will be Friday, May 23 immediately following the performance. Post-show discussions facilitated by Peggy Jones, associate professor of Black studies at UNO, will be held after the performances on Sunday, May 25 and Sunday, June 8.

This production contains strong language and adult situations intended for mature audiences.

Story by Yoyo Ma


Donna said...

Who is the actor playing the black attorney?

Omaha Community Playhouse said...

Andre McGraw