Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-04-10
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

The Shipment
by Sheri Flanders
2018-09-19

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Young Jean Lee

At: Red Tape Theatre, 4546 N. Western Ave. Tickets: redtapetheatre.org; free. Runs through: Oct. 3

Written by Korean-American playwright Young Jean Lee, The Shipment is a minstrel show, but not on the level that one might expect. Minstrel shows traditionally had several elements: music, dancing, a "stump speech" (similar to stand-up comedy) and wrapped up at the end with a play.

Outside minstrelsy, audiences are allowed to entertain the thought that the talented folks on stage are better than us. The obsequious shuffling and self-effacing content of a minstrel show undercuts that authority, flipping the script by allowing the audience to feel superior to the performers.

Although minstrelsy has long faded into history, covertly the inverted audience/performer power dynamic still exists. When white, liberal audiences buy a ticket to a Black show, they expect to be educated and/or gently scolded, yet ultimately catered to. Wealthy arts patrons enjoy graciously reminding underprivileged actors exactly who pays the bills.

In The Shipment, the first act flips and body-slams that power dynamic. Marcus D. Moore delivers a jolly and blisteringly crude stand-up set, each joke more tasteless than the next. The punchlines are interspersed with an unvarnished critique of White America. Moore dares audience to leave if they don't like it.

There's nothing that liberals hate more than being perceived as not being able to take a joke. The Shipment's reverse psychology seals the deal forcing them to confront which is worse: raunchy jokes or their complicity in racism.

In The Shipment, the calculus of this moment falls short of being fully triumphant because several jokes traffic in the worst stereotypes of Black women (voiced by a Black man, written by an Asian woman). Lee is unaware of her own blind spot of privilege, She stages liberation on the back of Black female bodies.

The second act depicts the tale of a downtrodden Black kid who struggles to overcome ... well, I won't ruin it. Lee strips this stereotype bare, revealing our insatiable desire for poverty pornography. Director Wardell Julius Clark could stand to tighten this section up, yet scores some truly hilarious moments while trafficking in the cliché of cliché.

Act three is arguably the most powerful, sophisticated and effective. A stark a cappella song in three-part harmony delivers the thesis in the form of a threat. This not entertainment. It is is a promise.

This moment questions the ethics of a non-Black artist writing for Black actors. Lee has dumped gasoline on a fire that she will be able to watch rage out of control from a safe distance.

The fourth act is the most polished and developed, a bawdy play. Unfortunately this ending never had a chance of matching the savagery of the first act,, sapping the impact of the final lines, resulting in an ultimately structurally flawed show.

This final fourth showcases the considerable acting talents of the ensemble. Sheldon Brown grounds the madness with calm, understated energy and vulnerability, Eric Gerard keeps perfect pacing as the dynamic nexus, Marcus D. Moore and Kiayla Ryann shift between passive and passive-aggressive to exceptional effect, and Hunter Bryan is infintely watchable and charming. With a lesser cast, this show might have been unwatchable, yet the strength of this group elevates it to something compelling.

Ultimately The Shipment is avant-garde, messy, uneven and unfinished—a Trojan Horse, delivering savage bluntness and defiance instead of the usual safe messaging. It's an artistic confrontation that just might spill off of the stage.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Cambodian Rock Band 2019-04-15 - Playwright: Lauren Yee At: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: 773-781-3000; VictoryGardens.org; $32-$65. Runs through: May 5 Cambodian Rock ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Lottery Day 2019-04-14 - Playwright: Ike Holter At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: GoodmanTheatre.org. Runs through: April 28 "If you want to ...


Gay News

Millennium Park Summer Films to celebrate Year of Chicago Theatre 2019-04-12 - The Millennium Park Summer Film Series will offer a lineup of popular classic and recent movie selections on Tuesdays, June 4 through August ...


Gay News

Downton's McGovern and Fellowes reunite for "The Chaperone" 2019-04-12 - In 1922, Wichita, Kansas, native Louise Brooks left her home to study modern dance at the Denishawn School in New York City. Just ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Utility 2019-04-12 - Playwright: Emily Schwend At: Interrobang Theatre Project at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave. Tickets: InterrobangTheatre.org or 312-219-4140; $32. Runs through: May 4 ...


Gay News

'Night of Noise' variety show April 14 2019-04-11 - The Illinois Safe Schools Alliance will be "breaking" the Day of Silence with its third annual variety show, "Night of Noise: Onward and ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Afterglow 2019-04-10 - Playwright: S. Asher Gelman At: Buena Theater, 4147 N. Broadway . Tickets: $25-$40; PrideFilmsandPlays.com, or 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222. Runs through: May 5 ...


Gay News

Spotlight 2019-04-10 - We've all said it: "The world would be a better place if there were more people like me!" Oh? Really? How many identical ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-04-10 - Herland, Redtwist Theatre, through April 14—Empowered by Bruce Springsteen anthems, four women of diverse ages, intents and erotic impulses vow to determine their ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Pinocchio 2019-04-08 - Playwrights: Joseph Steakley and Ben Loppries At: House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. Tickets: 773-769-3832; TheHouseTheatre.com; $30-$50. Runs ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.