Immediate Family, play

Gordon and I went to Kendall’s for onion soup and a glass of wine before going to see Immediate Family at the Taper last night. I couldn’t believe how empty the restaurant was until the bartender explained that the Amundson, the opera, and Disney Hall were all dark. There were only about ten of us in the bar but we had a good time playing Jeopardy. The bartender commented that she wanted to do what we do (eat soup, drink wine, play Jeopardy, and go to a show). I assured her that if she gets to our age she’ll probably be able to. She looked hopeful but I suspect she’ll go back to Ohio. Los Angeles is expensive and the good jobs are leaving. If you can’t get your snout in the guvmint trough, you’re screwed. I love LA but I’m thinking of leaving myself. I’m tired of being raped tax-wise for all the nonsense. And there’s no way things will ever get better. I read in the LA Times that 23% of the population is on welfare and 30% work for the guvmint. That leaves 47% of the rest of us paying for everything. We can’t beat them at the ballot box so the only alternative is to leave. The Democrats can fight over the carcass. Oh dear, I’m ranting…

Immediate Family–by Oakley Stovall–is about a black family getting together for a wedding in Chicago. The hero is the brother living in Minneapolis. He’s gay but he’s never come out to the family. And he’s asked his partner, a Swede (white guy) and a photographer, to shoot the wedding–for free. The play starts out with the oldest sister, a teacher, preparing remarks for her class. She starts logically but eventually starts screaming about evil white people. I think the writer was copying the tone of an Al Sharpton speech. It was a completely racist rant. And some Lefties started applauding and hooting. I thought, “Are they that stupid? Can’t they hear the racism in that speech?” Guess not. I enjoyed their discomfort when the character is exposed as a homophobe (which is why the man never came out to his family) and a racist (when she meets the white boyfriend). My favorite line was by the mixed-race half-sister–same father, different mother–who, in my opinion, voices the writer. She said (I’m paraphrasing), “Do you ever think about how your white hate speech affects me? I’m half white; that’s me you’re talking about.” She adds, “I can’t believe you’re allowed to teach children.” I thought the play was a thoughtful discussion of racism, homosexuality, and family relations. And believe it or not, it’s a comedy. The writer is from Minneapolis so I suspect he knew August Wilson. He seems to share a lot of Wilson’s sensabilities. He doesn’t hate white people and seems disgusted by the posturing of members of the Church of Perpetual Victimhood. I enjoyed the play and would recommend it highly. But pee before you go. It’s ninety minutes without intermission.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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