Playwright Tracey Scott Wilson approaches America's uneasy relationship with race head-on in her latest work, which receives its world premiere at the Pillsbury House Theatre. "The reason the country is obsessed with race is the same reason it is obsessed with sex. There's a lack of honest discussion about it," she says. "We never talk about slavery and how the country was built on 400 years of free labor. We had a Civil War and Martin Luther King Jr., and now everything is okay." Things are definitely not okay in Buzzer, when a young, well-to-do black man returns to the tough streets of his youth with his white girlfriend and down-on-his-heels friend in tow. The three-way dance among the characters makes for uneasy times inside the apartment, while regular harassment from the locals just adds to the pressure. The play grew from an earlier short of the same name that featured different characters and situations, but delved into some of the same thorny subjects. Wilson has used the opportunity to look at hot-button issues that swirl around race, such as gentrification and stereotyping. Her hope is that people won't retreat from the issues presented in the piece. "All I ever want for my plays is for people to have a discussion," Wilson says. The show, a co-commission with the Guthrie Theater, has been directed by Tony nominee Marion McClinton. The company includes Namir Smallwood, Hugh Kennedy, and Sara Richardson. (Photo by Travis Anderson)
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Feb. 16. Continues through March 18, 2012
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