Trustus Theatre to Present David Mamet's RACE, 4/10-19
David Mamet's Race is a complex piece that explores the very subject matter for which it is titled. The NiA Company collaborates with Trustus Theatre to bring this sharp and daring script to life in the Capital City this spring. Race opens in the Richard and Debbie Cohn Trustus Side Door Theatre April 10th at 8:00pm, and runs through April 19th, 2014.
Playwright David Mamet is best known for his Pulitzer-prize winning script Glengarry Glen Ross, which was produced at Trustus in the theatre's second season. Mamet's style of writing dialogue, marked by a cynical, street-smart edge, precisely crafted for effect, is so distinctive that it has come to be called "Mamet speak". Race is one of the newest pieces from this 2002 inductee into the American Theatre Hall of Fame, and Columbia's NiA Company is co-producing the show with Trustus this spring.
The story of Mamet's Race introduces audiences to Jack Lawson (a white lawyer in his 40s) and Henry Brown (a black lawyer in his 40s). These two men are attorneys at a rapidly escalating law firm. Charles Strickland, a prominent white business man, has been charged with rape and comes to Lawson and Brown for legal representation. The woman accusing him is African-American, which becomes the crux of the case for these two attorneys. They are quick to realize that the case will be all the more difficult because race will be the dominant factor throughout the trial. When a new legal assistant gets involved, the opinions that boil beneath explode to the surface. When David Mamet turns the spotlight on what we think but can't say, dangerous truths are revealed, and no punches are spared. This production will leave audiences with plenty of post-show discussions on the ride home or over dessert.
The NiA Company, under the creative direction of Trustus Company member Darion McCloud, has created a strong foothold in Columbia's theatre community by producing edgy works that turn a mirror to contemporary society through theatrical exploration. Trustus Theatre has been collaborating with NiA since its creation in the 1990's. Mamet's Race was the perfect script to bring the two popular theatre companies together again in 2014. "There's something about The NiA Company tackling a show about race written by a white male playwright that makes the show a compelling choice for us," said McCloud, "and for the audience."
Heather McCue, NiA Company member and director of Race, feels the show is an important exploration of American society. "When I read this play, it felt like a story that we hadn't told," said McCue. "I think this play is important for everyone. We are constantly having conversations around race--whether it's in discussions about Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis or the President. It's difficult to know what you can say or how you can say it, but saying that racism is over doesn't help. Providing opportunities for open, honest conversation is what is needed. This show has an element of danger to it, but providing that opportunity to have an open discussion is what is appealing about bringing it to Columbia."
The cast of Race boasts many talents who are familiar to Columbia stages. Playing Jack Lawson is Harrison Saunders, last seen as Rothko in Trustus' Red. Returning to the Trustus stage as Henry Brown after appearing in last season's off-site production of Whipping Man is NiA Creative Director Darion McCloud. Clybourne Park cast-member Erika Wright comes to the Side Door as Susan, Lawson and Brown's newly acquired attorney. Nathan Dawson rounds out the cast as Charles Strickland, the accused.
With a provocative script by one of the nation's most prolific playwrights and a talented cast in tow, Race promises to be the kind of programming that Trustus audiences crave: intensely edgy theatre that examines the world in which we live. "This show explores guilt, innocence, gender, money, politics and, of course, race," said Director Heather McCue. "This script gives no easy answers, but provides the opportunity for challenging conversation over cocktails--during and afterwards."
Race opens Thursday, April 10th at 8:00pm and runs through Saturday, April 19th, 2014. Shows on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays start at 8pm. The Sunday matinee on April 13th will be at 3:00pm. The doors and box office open thirty minutes prior to curtain, and all Trustus Side Door tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students. Reservations can be made by calling the Trustus Box Office at (803) 254-9732, and tickets may be purchased online at www.trustus.org .
The Richard and Debbie Cohn Trustus Side Door Theatre is located at 520 Lady Street, behind the Gervais St. Publix. Parking is available on Lady Street and on Pulaski Street. The Trustus Side Door Theatre entrance is through the glass doors on the Huger St. side of the building.