Toni Morrison’s Work and ‘Unapologetic Blackness’ Serve Rebuke to Trump’s Racist America

“What narratives is the United States, under the ‘leadership’ of Donald Trump generating now? Separated immigrant families, children in cages, unarmed people killed by a militarized police force, a proliferation of weapons that turns any lone gunman with hurt feelings into an instant mass murderer. The policies and products of an administration that leverages congressionally unchecked power to make miserable the lives of the many, in service of one very large, frail, white male ego.

If she hadn’t left us this past Monday morning, how would Morrison have written about the latest 2019 appearance of the ‘dark, psychic force,’ that Marianne Williamson identified as underpinning America’s failure as a cultural melting pot?

While we’ll never have new words from the Nobel Laureate, we can be grateful for those she left to help us confront the racism corroding our national soul. In December 1993, she warned a Stockholm, Sweden audience of ‘infantile heads of state’ who speak only ‘to those who obey, or in order to force obedience…Oppressive language does more than represent violence…It is violence.’

We still have an opportunity to do as Morrison did, to move the lives of the asylum-seeking immigrant, the impoverished, imprisoned and powerless away from the margins and toward the center of the story of Donald Trump’s cruel, racist America. Though we’ve collectively lacked the author’s urgent persistence to tell the truth about who we are, it’s never too late to start.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

Afterglow

(l to r) Jacob Barnes, Jesse Montoya and Rich Holton in ‘Afterglow.’ ( Photo: Heather Mall)

“Mr. Gelman’s 2017 Off-Broadway hit delivers a rather common romantic cautionary tale, arising from a sexually titillating setup. Polyamory (having intimate relationships with more than one partner) underpins a plot revolving around appetites, emotional maturity and the complexities of modern fidelity. The playwright, however, inverts the typical trajectory of a three-way, love-gone-wrong story, starting with what might normally be the end game.

As the curtain lifts, married lovers and expectant parents Alex (Jacob Barnes) and Josh (Rich Holton) are comfortable with their open relationship. Weekend trick Darius (Jesse James Montoya) is just another fling… until he isn’t. The three characters enjoy mutual pleasure and an unspoken understanding that the intimacy ends when the evening does. But the rapacious Josh decides he wants more.

It’s easy to view Josh, a successful stage actor and primary source of financial support for all three men, as an entitled child deferring adulthood. Yet I suspect that in the hands of a more nuanced performer, he’d be more complex than flopping hair and whiny pleading for unearned empathy. The character’s crisis of commitment and responsibility is 10 years ahead of schedule, yet Mr. Holton’s interpretation looks backward. I found myself hoping that Alex and Darius would fall in love and leave Josh behind. Mr. Holton’s rendering of the lead — chiseled glutes aside — is simply too grating to yield any level of devotion and forgiveness.”

Read the full review on the Broadway Blog.