Play Challenges Racial Perceptions

“I know there is nothing a white person can say to a black person about race which is not both incorrect and offensive” says Jacky Lawson (a white lawyer) to her young black associate, Susan, when she confronts Lawson about her extensive background check on her due to her skin colour in the premiere of David Mamet’s play Race that took place at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) last Thursday.

Race starts off in the office of a law firm that consists of Lawson (in her 40s) and Henry Brown, a black man in his forties and Susan, a black woman in her twenties who are approached by a white billionaire Charles Strickland (white, mid 40s) accused of raping a young black woman.

Charles however admits that he was intimate with his accuser but claims it wasn’t rape, insisting that the sex was consensual and that he and the woman were in love.With the press all up in the scandal, the law firm partners are forced to take on the case and to stimulate a dialogue of race, wealth, truth and deception. Throughout the show, the play exposes anger, hidden agendas and trying to find the truth somehow gets lost in stereotypes and misconceptions. Every dispute and decision Jacky, Henry and Susan clash with, Race always comes up.

When the lawyers try manipulating race to the case’s aantage, Charles appeals to fake race relations by saying, “We are all brothers beneath the skin,” and with a snap Brown cuts him off saying: “I don’t think we’re brothers beneath the skin, over the skin, or in any way associated with the skin.”

Brown is a perceptive and one of those straight-forward lawyers. He first detects how Charles’ case will be lethal to their law firm.

The 90 min play, Race, as its title says, can surely leave anyone thinking, questioning and re-examining ones perceptions about race.

The show features top local cast such as Yanna Smith (Jacky), David Ndjavera (Henry), Senga Brockeroff (Susan) and Morne Botha (Charles). The play is directed by Aldo BehrensandJoseph Keamogetsi Molapong.

Source : New Era