[pullquote quote="The Beck Center is a class act and Race is a perfect addition to their repertoire." credit="Kory"]The regional premiere of David Mamet’s Race is playing now at Beck Center For The Arts. The entire premise for the show can be summed up in one line from the first Act, “There is nothing. A white person. Can say to a black person. About Race. Which is not both incorrect and offensive. Nothing.” The writing is stellar, as is three quarters of the 4 person cast. Unfortunately, the weak performance is enough to pull you right out of the show.
Mamet is known for his controversial topics and fast paced writing or “Mamet-speak.” Race contains all of the classic Mamet-esque elements while tackling racism in a legal setting. The play is a fascinating look inside a law firm considering whether or not to represent the defendant in a racially charged, high profile rape case.
The debate rages between the firm’s black and white partner attorney’s and their young junior attorney Susan, played by Aungelique Scott. I start with her because her performance is the only weak part of the show. In fact, her delayed, un-natural delivery of “Mamet-speak” and robotic portrayal of her character threaten the credibility of the entire production. The night I attended I overheard one audience member calling her a “Stepford Wife.” There are crucial moments in the show that sit squarely on her shoulders, and she dropped the ball every time.
Now for the positives. Justin Emeka, Tom Woodward and Brian Pedaci all deliver compelling performances. Richard Gould’s sets are detailed and elegant. The lighting is adequate and not overdone. I would give Race a 10 if not for the one distractingly poor performance. I give the show an 8. The Beck Center is a class act and Race is a perfect addition to their repertoire.
Race contains subject matter and language that I wouldn’t recommend for kids. Adults, grab your tickets, bring your friends and prepare to have the mirror turned on you. Are you a racist? Maybe we all are. Race will open your eyes.
Race is playing in the intimate Studio Theater at Lakewood’s Beck Center For The Arts October 21st – November 20th. For tickets and information head to BeckCenter.org
The views and opinions of Kory are his alone and do not necessarily represent those of CBS Radio.
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