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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"J.F.K.--The Man and the Airport" - Unknown, Suggested book title


“Race” on Broadway: Toying with taboos | The Economist

"“Race is the most incendiary topic in our history,” says Jack Lawson, a jaded, white criminal lawyer (convincingly played by James Spader) and the latest Mametian hero. He and his partner, a black lawyer named Henry Brown (a formidable David Alan Grier), are considering whether to defend a wealthy, white man accused of raping a black woman. “Do you know what you can say? To a black man. On the subject of race?” Henry asks the potential client (Richard Thomas). “Nothing,” says the man. “That is correct,” Henry replies. In a lean 85 minutes, Mr Mamet maps the minefield of any conversation about race, and this play is not without casualties...

Mr Mamet replaces moral righteousness with something more real. The law is “not an exercise in metaphysics”, says Henry, “but an alley fight”. There are no facts of the case, Jack adds, but “two fictions, which the opposing teams each seek to impress upon the jury.” These are laugh lines of the grim sort...

Everyone, it seems, comes to the table with a different viewpoint, a different personal history, a different way to feel aggrieved.

This is a powerful play. At a time when many Americans long to believe that electing a black president cancels out a history of slavery, prejudice and entrenched inequality, Mr Mamet reminds the viewer of the insidious forms of racism that poison ordinary thoughts. Is the white man innocent or guilty? Is the black woman a lying whore or an abused victim? The biases latent in every character, black or white, drive home the improbability of racial reconciliation in America. Audiences are sure to leave this play feeling self-conscious. But as Mr Mamet makes clear, consciousness alone won’t save anyone."
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