Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College presents its 58th season, Black is Beautiful: An Ode to Black Life, Love, and Strength. This season will support living Black playwrights by producing their work and support our own community though access to Black narratives that are not tragedy-centric or exploitative of trauma. These upcoming productions use wit, satire and thoughtfully complex storytelling to showcase a variety of intersectional Black experiences.
Our Fall production will be Rachel Lynett’s Well-Intentioned White People, a play that cleverly depicts how the performative activism of predominantly white institutions, like ours, can harm the very community members it attempts to support. In Winter, we will produce Kevin Renn’s BLACKS+PHATS, a vignette-driven satire challenging stereotypes and assumptions about people devalued by society simply because of their bodies. Our season will conclude in Spring with Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Marcus; or the secret of sweet, a Black and queer, heartfelt and humorous, coming-of-age tale.
This season will also include the Senior Performance Series, in which senior Kalamazoo College students write, direct, perform, design, and manage both original and published works. More information coming this June.
Well-Intentioned White People by Rachel Lynett
November 4-7, 2021
After experiencing an anti-Black hate crime, college professor Cass wants to forget about it and move on with her life. But her white roommate/ex-girlfriend and the dean of the university push her to “do something” about it. Suddenly, Cass is roped into planning an Equality Day/Unity Week while trying to convince her roommate not to plan a sit-in. Well-Intentioned White People explores how liberals attempt to deal with discrimination not directed at them and how sometimes “well intentions” can be just as problematic. The stereotypical white saviors, white liberals, and white allies seem humorously over-exaggerated, but those caricatures aren’t too far, if different at all, from the truth.
BLACKS+PHATS by Kevin Renn
February 24-27, 2022
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Black Panther Party, and Michael Jackson? BLACKS+PHATS is a satirical, vignette play about Black cultural issues, body image, fetishism, and their representation in modern society. This quick-witted comedy is sure to challenge your mind and tickle your comfort zone, touching on various themes like beauty ideals, relationship dynamics, and levels of attraction–all while attempting to find enlightenment in the stereotypes placed on minorities and full-bodied people.
Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet by Tarell Alvin McCraney
May 12-15, 2022
Marcus is sixteen and “sweet.” Days before Hurricane Katrina strikes the projects of Louisiana, the currents of his life converge, overflowing into his close-knit community and launching the search for his sexual and personal identity in a cultural landscape infused with mysterious family creeds. The provocative, poignant, and fiercely humorous coming-of-age story of a young gay man in the South, Marcus is the stirring conclusion of The Brother/Sister Plays.