On December 2nd I saw the headline Woman Interrupts ‘Slave Play’ Q&A To Complain The Show Is ‘Racist Against White People’. Fortunately, I had tickets for December 3rd.
Slave Play is intense, it's hard to watch, and no one can seem to agree if it "bluntly confronts the lingering traumas of slavery on black Americans" or if it's just "Harris’ mouthpiece for his inconsistent opinions on race." I don't feel qualified to thoroughly praise or cast aspersions on Slave Play; I'll leave that to the many qualified reviewers of color who have covered the show.
So what's it about? Slave Play is about an experimental couples therapy for mixed-race couples. The show opens with a series of scenes that appear to take place during the slavery-era south. Each scene is a different couple acting out a sexual fantasy, and they go all out, they put the slave in BDSM.
Although none of this isn't obvious to the viewer. In fact we're not given any reason to believe these are just fantasies until one of the participants shouts a safe word to end it. After this happens, the play moves into the couples counseling phase. We see each couple discuss how they feel about the experiment.
The show takes this opportunity to delve into the legacy of slavery and how it affects all of modern society. There's a lot more there, but I'll avoid the spoilers.
I walked out of this show not sure how to process it, but I'm really glad I saw it. Slave Play runs until January 19th.