BREACH: a manifesto on Race in America through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self hate, written by Antoinette Nwandu and directed by Lisa Portes is a phenomenally funny, poignant and heart-wrenching play. It is a contemporary story of love and loss but is entrenched with comic relief, drama, a fist fight, a love triangle, tears and everything that makes for an entertaining evening. Topics of race, class and gender are written through the perspectives of the characters which causes the topics to become imperfectly human.
Lights come up on a modern stage and a couple on a date. An African American woman Margaret (played by Caren Blackmore) and a white man Nate (played by Keith D. Gallagher), are pouring a bottle of wine and playing the long term relationship game. Nate goes on a rant about work and Margaret flips her auburn wig. I think to myself, “wow she seems fake.” Later, we realized the brilliance of her performance and how she was putting on this persona for her white boyfriend. We see her code switching throughout the play depending on what world or situation she was negotiating. As we follow Margaret through her relationships and friendships we get a glimpse to the complexity of race in America while at the same time laughing out loud. Scene by scene, act by act, we see her peel away her presentation of whiteness and we fall in love with her authentic self. Because we see her push away all the people close to her in order to protect herself, some might not find her likable throughout the play. But I found it refreshingly real as the story carried on. I could relate: creating walls between important relationship in order to keep yourself safe from disappointment and abandonment. However complicated it is to negotiate a white world, the audience is taken along on her journey and they may not always agree with her rash decisions to protect herself.
The lights fade to black after the final scene. The audience gives a standing ovation to the actors. They made us cry. They made us laugh, a lot. And the playwright pointed out the layers of race in America through the eyes of Margaret in a way that pulled at the heartstrings.
As a white woman giving a review of a black joy, black grief, black wisdom, or blackness in general, seems wrong. To say that my opinion is superior to those who created the play, defies the mission of the play and it is what is wrong with the world. Therefore I say, go support local black art by seeing BREACH. This production is definitely worth your time and money.
Get tickets now for Breach through March 11th!