(photo: Karl Ferguson, Jr.)
Multi-talented Karma Mayet--actor, vocalist, composer--is busy crafting something both fun and painful in Race Card at JACK, now through December 16. As the title suggests, this project gets all up into America's favorite non-favorite topic. You might remember Congresswoman Maxine Waters responding to the accusation that she's playing the race card. Words to the effect of "Good, because I've got a whole deck to play!"
Mayet, a Chicago native with roots in Mississippi, has a whole deck, too--literally--with playing cards liberally distributed around the audience seating at JACK. A fan of Bid Whist--her granny is her Bid Whist guru--she has worked out a way for an audience, even card game novices like me, to play a version of the usually intricate, fast-paced game with her as she sits at a little table with a pencil, paper and a phone full of music. The winner of each round triggers her telling of a personal story of racism in a society where macro-aggressions are fundamental and micro-aggressions are thick on the ground.
In between Mayet's true-life stories that both amuse and sting, viewers are shuffled like cards while grooving to what Mayet enjoys calling her "white jams"--the tastiest, most irresistible music made by white appropriators of Black style. ("Twenty years after you create something," she quipped, "they'll get a passable imitation.") Here and there, things might get a bit raggedy--part of the fun, actually. The overall concept rocks. The chance process and continuous audience involvement as co-creators--no two evenings will be alike--are refreshing.
And you've gotta love Mayet. Even rooted in her chair as she tells her stories, she's the Queen of movement and dynamic charm. Go play Bid Whist with her at JACK.
Race Card continues through December 16 with performances at 7:30pm, except where noted:
Saturday, December 2
Sunday, December 3
Friday, December 8
Saturday, December 9
Sunday, December 10 at 3pm
Thursday, December 14
Friday, December 15
Saturday, December 16
For information and tickets, click here.
505 1/2 Waverly Avenue, Brooklyn
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