“I thought you said race is a construct,” says a mocking, identifiably white male voice coming from the sound system at Soho Rep halfway through Jackie Sibblies Drury’s vehement, searching, fourth-wall-demolishing new play Fairview. “It is,” answers another voice, also identifiably white, this one measured, anxious, female: “Just because it’s a construct doesn’t mean that it isn’t real.”
The same could be said about theater. It’s a construct and it’s real, at once make-believe and flesh-and-blood. Questions of spectatorship quickly meld with questions of privilege and power: Who’s working and who’s watching? And 24 hours after seeing Fairview — which, under a playful surface, is strenuous and scalpel-sharp and working its way through deep rage — I’m just starting to pick apart the many knotty questions it left me with. I’m contemplating metatheatrics and responsibility, spectatorship and representation (which takes on a double meaning when we start to think about whose stories we’re used to hearing, what kinds of faces and bodies tend to take up the most space on stages or in the seats). And, most of all, I’m grappling with the question this play inherently asks of whether I (straight, white, cis) should be writing about it at all.
(continue reading the full review HERE)