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What Is Race About?
Race is about three lawyers—two partners, one African-American, one white, and their young, African-American law clerk—who are deciding whether or not to take the case of wealthy white man accused of raping an African-American woman. The play, like the case, is not open and shut. Shame, guilt, class, sex, lies and, of course, race, are all provocatively stirred together in this fast-paced show that will probably leave theatergoers dissecting and discussing it long after the curtain goes down. As the playwright wrote in a recent essay about his work, “Race, like sex, is a subject on which it is near impossible to tell the truth.” Audience members will undoubtedly bring their own set of judgments and preconceptions into this work that delves into a most complicated and fraught subject.
"A high-voltage melodrama that is unafraid to raise painful questions while dispensing prickly ideas and provocative dialogue amid steady suspense. The play is full of wry jokes, epigrammatic jolts, and acrid, even cheeky provocations, which, depending on the extent of your guilt feelings, can be taken as deserved flagellation or perfervid overstatement."Review by John Simon from Bloomberg News
"The issues it raises, particularly on the ethnic varieties of shame and the universal nature of guilt, should offer ample nutrition for many a post-theater dinner conversation."Review by Ben Brantley from The New York Times
What Is Race Like?
If you like the quick banter of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, the gloves-off approach of Speed the Plow and the provocative subject matter of Oleanna, you will enjoy all three in Race. Mamet is doing what he does best with this show: choosing an incendiary topic and asking more questions than he answers. Is this the most incendiary show of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright? That’s debatable, but it does seem that he’s found a new four-letter word in Race
Is Race Good for Kids?
In a word, no. Although there is no violence on stage, the alleged rape at the heart of Race—not to mention the endless stream of expletives—make this piece inappropriate for kids.