Sunday, March 15, 2015

Madrigal in Black and White

Play #60 - Madrigal in Black and White by Patricia Montley

This short play shows a quick, seemingly simple exchange between Liz (who is white) and Cleo (who is black). Liz is outside mowing her lawn when she notices an unfamiliar, seemingly empty car in front of her neighbor's driveway. As she approaches, she notices that the car is not actually empty - Cleo is sitting inside. They begin to talk about the niceties of finding an unattended vehicle with its lights on, they introduce themselves, they discover that they are both teachers - Liz teaches choral music and Cleo teaches Shakespeare, and they even consider collaborating on some Shakespearean songs for Liz's choral students. It's really a pretty boring, normal conversation that could happen in any suburb in America. However, both Liz and Cleo are accompanied by their shadows who speak their inner thoughts as the conversation progresses. Liz's Shadow lets fly with white guilt and mistrust of unknown minorities and general bizarre stereotypes. Cleo's Shadow just knows she is suspect, knows her education is unexpected, knows there are bizarre stereotypes flying left and right. The Shadows beg their conscious selves not to engage in this weird partnership with these women they just met. They berate their conscious selves for their naivete, their political correctness, their internal insecurities. It's a sort of fun, sort of painful little look at the messy social subconscious that we all carry with us whether we like it or not.

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