Arts & Culture
3:44 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

LISTEN: David Mamet's 'Race' Takes No Prisoners with Legal Drama

"Race" by David Mamet performed by Next Act Theatre. (l-r) Tiffany Renee Johnson, Jonathan Smoots, David Cecsarini, and Lee Palmer.
Credit Timothy Moder
Lake Effect's Bonnie North speaks with Next Theatre's David Cecsarini, Tiffany Renee Johnson, Lee Palmer, and Jonathan Smoots.

Of all the “isms” that are out there, racism is one of the most enduring, and in this supposedly post-racial age, the most pernicious.

It can be hard for people of different races to even talk openly with each other about how race has impacted them without the conversation devolving into accusations. And that makes any change in race relations that much more difficult to achieve.

Next Act Theatre is throwing open that conversational door with its production of David Mamet’s play Race:

A wealthy white man is accused of assaulting a young black woman. He denies the charge, claiming it was consensual. Two law partners - one white, one black - are considering the case, but they're doubtful of the man's veracity, and highly concerned about racial politics. Mamet pulls no punches as he cross-examines our views and prejudices of what is, arguably, the most complex and intransigent socio-political issue in America.

Mamet is known for his biting and unsparing dialogue, and he is true to form here. Director Edward Morgan says the playwright offers a fresh take on the subject.

“It’s a very different kind of look at race," Morgan says. "It’s more about an analysis of how race relations have affected the people through all the institutions in this country right now in the present.”

The cast includes David Cecsarini, who is also the Producing Artistic Director of Next Act, Tiffany Renee Johnson, Lee Palmer, and Jonathan Smoots.

The show opened on Thursday and runs through Feb. 23rd.

Listen to a scene from "Race" featuring David Cecsarini and Tiffany Renee Johnson.