Race: a Fire

By James Lex

 

“This isn’t about sex. It’s about race.”

“What’s the difference?”

Cue Blackout.

Cue audience to turn to their neighbor to hurriedly whisper their reaction in the brief moment before the lights rise again. Georgia Southern University took on the challenge of David Mamet’s Race: a play with fast-pace dialogue and a bleak modern perspective that proves to be a brave choice for a college setting.

The two lawyers, Henry Brown (V. Akil Jackson) and Jack Lawson (Whitacker Gardner) are subtle in their humor and step-up to the plate of understanding the truth of the situation. And Susan (Tatyana Arrington) is an intriguing character, becoming more complex and even mysterious as the show goes on. The set is a simple frame of a typical lawyer office, matching the structure of the three-scene show.

As nervous as I was to see if a college department could handle the pacing of Mamet, they did it with ease. If the goal was to light a fire of conversation about the brutal questions of racism, then this production uses an abundance of matches.