We Are Proud to Present...

Feb. 10—March 9 $40–$62.50
Woolly Mammoth Theatre
641 D St. NW, Washington, DC
(202) 393-3939
The most rigorous element of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play about playmaking about genocide is its unabridged title: We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915. Drury wrote the play as her thesis while earning her MFA at Brown University. She told the Washington Post’s Nelson Pressley that she struggled to address this tragic, little-publicized history “in a way I was fully satisfied with.” What fully satisfied her, apparently, was to depict instead a company of American actors, three black and three white, none of whom has ever been to Africa (as one of them points out in a rare moment of sobriety), arguing over who among them is best qualified to tell this African story. I’m afraid the answer isn’t controversial or complicated or racially charged: None of them. None of them has done the homework. All of them should shut up. But they don’t have the sense to throw up their hands, the way Drury did. Maybe she didn’t do enough research. Maybe she couldn’t solve the riddle of how to mold her research into an intellectually honest piece of historical fiction. All that matters is what she’s actually put on the stage, which is dull, cheap, and ultimately gross. [CK]

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