UNO Closes the Curtain on Race

At the University of New Orleans, Theatre UNO closed the curtain this week on Race, a play written by the controversial and thought-provoking playwright David Mamet.

The show ran Tuesday through Sunday, Sept. 12-17 at UNO’s Robert E. Nims Theatre.

Four Master of Fine Arts students completed the cast, each offering a stellar wish-I-could-see-it-again performance: Ariana Newman, John Neisler, Paxton H. McCaghren and Sam Malone.

David Hoover, professor of theatre and chair of UNO’s Department of Fine Arts, Theatre and Communication Arts directed.

Sarah Chatelain, an undergraduate theatre major, served as a stage manager, while Mignon Charvet, who will receive a Master of Fine Arts degree in Costume Design from UNO’s Film and Theatre Department in December, designed the costumes.  Joshua Courtney, an undergraduate theatre major studying lighting design, served as light designer. Anthonyka Ferdinand, an undergraduate pursuing a degree in theatre design, managed scenic design and properties.

In a Sept. 9, 2009 article, “We Can’t Stop Talking about Race in America,” The New York Times summed up the cast and plot of Race: "three attorneys, two black and one white, offered a chance to defend a white man charged with a crime against a black woman. The plot unfolds as the three lawyers and defendant grapple with the evidence of the case and their own feelings about race.”

Mamet has described the play’s theme as “race and the lies we tell each other on the subject." He filled his script with riveting plot twists that prompted profound questions at every turn and the Theatre UNO cast each brought their own gifts to both attack and play on stereotype.

The one-act play, no doubt, brought return visitors to the theatre, some of whom likely had stayed up late the night before, unable to sleep, thinking.