The Colored Museum

When: June 14-30 2013

One of the greatest challenges in all of art is satire, and Street Theatre Company is wrapping its spring season with a doozy. George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum presents a series of 11 “exhibits” that turn a laser-focused eye and a razor-sharp wit on both public and private images of black America. All kinds of figures are lampooned — from businessmen and fashion models to drag queens and cooking-show hosts — as the play protests the artificial simplification of African-American culture and heritage for use as a commodity. It’s a brilliant play, wielding a delicate balance, celebrating the achievements of African-Americans despite centuries of oppression, while often undercutting the idea that their current social status is somehow “good enough.” Some of the best lines go to a pair of wigs in “The Hair Piece,” as they argue about which one their owner should wear to break up with her beau. Is nothing sacred? Not when it substitutes safe, middle-class aspirations for true self-respect, says Wolfe, as he cracks on A Raisin in the Sun and other guiding lights of black drama in “The Last Mama-on-the-Couch Play.” Come ready to laugh your head off, and leave with a new perspective.

Stephen Trageser


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