Trinity’s ‘Fairview’ tackles the race card


Theatre Review by Don Fowler

Playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury has given us much to think about in this provocative one-act play that will be seen through different eyes by a diverse – but predominantly white – audience not quite prepared for their usually comfortable night at the theatre.

”Fairview” is divided into three parts, joined together by the concept of racial blindness that provides some ‘aha’ moments along with a few ‘huh?’ ones.

What appears like a TV half-hour comedy about a Black family of means takes a drastic turn in the second segment.

It may take a while for you to figure out what is going on as the family goes through the same motions as they prepare Grandma’s birthday dinner.

Wait. They are not moving their lips, but white voices are talking. They observe, analyze, give opinions and make judgements, but are they really catching what is being said and done?

Are we in some sort of parallel universe or are we seeing things from a different perspective?

The third segment finds more people showing up, including Grandma who does not look like she was expected to.

Daughter Keisha is confused (as you may be) and tries to make sense out of all this, withdrawing from the group. A food fight breaks out. After an uncontrollable melee, something I’ve never experienced in all my years going to the theatre takes place.

The reaction of the rather sedate Sunday night audience was mixed. It will be interesting to see the opinions of an online request for comments.

People were slow to react and some appeared stunned.

I expect that the opening night crowd with seats filled with many younger students of the Brown/Trinity MFA Acting Program reacted differently.

“Fairview” is challenging, thought provoking, immersive theatre that attacks your comfort level.

It was good to see Mia Ellis back at Trinity and playing the mother, alongside Joe Wilson, Jr. as her husband, Jackie Davis as her sister and Aizhaneya Carter as her daughter.

A special shout out to Lex Liang for a perfect set.

“Fairview” is at Trinity Rep through June 19. Call 351-4242 for reservations.


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