How To Be A White Man: A Hilarious New Play About Privilege
Luna Malbroux co-stars with Kevin Glass in How To Be a White Man: A Practical Guide To Getting Privilege You Don’t Have But Are Entitled To, her own play currently on view at the African American Art and Culture Complex (762 Fulton Street). The production is being put on by the San Francisco Bay Area Theater Company.
In the play Malbroux stars as Michelle, a comedy writer trying to get a job as a gag and sketch writer on Avacado Nation, an SNL styled comedy show on TV. When her rejection letter informs her how good her work is, Michelle rightfully assumes that she didn’t get the job because she’s an African American woman.
Michelle hires Ted (Glass), a down on his luck actor to “play” a comedy writer and apply for the same job. Ted will pretend to be a writer while Michelle supplies the material. Ted instantly gets a better job than the one that Michelle applies for.
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As they continue with their masquerade, Ted and Michelle have numerous conversations on race and gender–Ted thinks that he, too, is oppressed. This leads to an hysterical fantasy sequence called the Oppression Olympics in which both characters run out into the audience and compete for the title of most oppressed person. They also develop an attraction to each other.
For 90 minutes Michelle and Ted continue their masquerade while Michelle points out that the races are not in fact equal. Through some good natured humor and even a little bit of rage, Michelle expresses her frustration at not having the same doors opened to her that whites take for granted. The end result is a funny, profound and thought provoking evening at the theater.
Both actors are quite good in their roles, particularly Malbroux, who knows her character well because she created Michelle out of some of her own life experiences. She and Glass play off each other beautifully–Glass will amuse audiences as a nice guy who just doesn’t get it. He is unable to get just how good he has it because he’s a white male.
“I am personally familiar with the history and consequences of years of institutional interpersonal, and systemic racism, sexism, heterosexism, colorism and body-shaming that has specifically affected the internalized messages that Black women receive,” reads part of Malbroux’s artist statement, which can be read in full in the How To Be A White Man program.
Her play is the perfect response to those issues. It leaves the audience with much to think about.
How To Be a White Man: A Practical Guide To Getting Privilege You Don’t Have But Are Entitled To can be seen at the African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton Street, through April 1st.