Monday December 11th 2017

“Race”

Highly Recommended*****Anyone who loves David Mamet, will no doubt enjoy the Chicago premiere of his “Race”, now onstage at The Goodman Theatre. This Pulitzer Prize winning play is truly a no-holds-barred story filled with quick dialogue and suspense. The two act play that runs just under two hours ( but feels much quicker) is full of suspense and mystery as Mamet weaves his magic in story telling. As marvelous as a script can be, it is up to the skillful hand of the director and the members of the cast to make this all work, and  Chuck Smith is truly up to the task at hand.

This is a story about, what else,”Race” and Mamet is an “in your face” writer who holds nothing back. The story is about a wealth White man who has been accused of raping a Black woman. Charles Strickland ( the always reliable Patrick Clear) has left his original defense attorney in favor of a new firm, a firm that is bi-racial. The lawyers,Jack Lawson ( Marc Graney who truly understands the mind of Mamet), who is white and Henry Brown ( deftly handled by Geoffrey Owens), the African American are unsure as to if this is a case they want to take, but their associate attorney ,Susan ( deliciously played by Tamberla Perry) an African American, due to some errors in judgement makes the case one they have to take.

While the client admits that he was in fact intimate with the accuser, he also says that their relationship was mutual and with consent. The newspapers have made this a scandal, due to the clients wealth and stance in the community, and now these two high profiled attorneys must find a way to clear their new client. What makes this play so powerful is that as each of the attorneys try to find the truth in order to defend the client, they search within their own feelings about how they feel about each other. As they struggle with containing their clients desire to clear his name with the press and keep him from talking to anyone, they expose their own feelings and prejudices. There are many twists and turns in the plot and sub plots as one would expect from a master playwright and the action between Grapey and Owens and Grapey and Perry are powerful.

The ending is far from what one might anticipate as the story progresses and will be a shock to many of you- it is strong and Smith makes sure that every little movement or pause is meaningful as the characters are developed in the story. While many say that over the years the racial tension has lessened, as Mamet shows in this play, it is not gone and not one-sided. Racial tension is not just between the Whites and Blacks as in this play, one of the witnesses for the prosecution is Hispanic and Lawson tears into her as well ( if only for a second). The entire play takes place in the law office ( Linda Buchanan’s set is perfect with marvelous lighting (Robert Christen) and sound by Ray Nardelli and Joshua Horvath and anyone who has ever been to a law office may just feel as if they know the place. In fact, the entire play seems very real, as if we are the “fly on the wall” watching it unfold before our very eyes. The attorney’s position is to defend the client and to prove that he is not gulty and to do that they must appeal to the jury, no matter the facts. As you watch this production, and I suggest you find a way to do so, notice that each detail of movement, each pause, each gesture all have meaning to the outcome of the story- brilliant work by director and cast of making Mamet’s “Race” take life.

“Race” will continue at the Goodman Theatre , located at 170 N. Dearborn Street through February 29th with performances as follows:

Tuesday ( except 1/31),Wednesday,Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m(except 2/12 and 2/19).,Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees on Thursdays ( except 2/16),Saturdays (except 1/28) and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets range from $25 and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 312-443-3800 or online at www.GoodmanTheatre.org  This is one you must try and see- filled with many comical moments as well as truths that allow us to explore our own thoughts and ideals.

 

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