Aren't paradox and irony what make us laugh?" asks Sterling Vappie in the program notes to The Colored Museum, which he's directing at The Ensemble Theatre in Houston from Jan. 29 - March 1.
The Colored Museum was written in 1986 by George C. Wolfe, now executive producer of The Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival as well as a Tony Award-winning director. The Colored Museum's 11 "exhibits" satirize racism, sexism, and other stereotypes, historic and contemporary, within the black community.
According the Vappie, "The challenge of any company producing this play is: how do we successfully present this show without offending the stereotyped and/or the stereotyper? For the purpose of the play is not to offend, but to use humor to awaken, enlighten, warn, and remind the audience of what American society has created and to leave them with a feeling of where-do-I-go-from-here."
It's a pivotal time to mount such a show, observes Vappie, with Houston inaugurating its first black mayor.
The Colored Museum runs Jan. 29 - March 1 at the Ensemble Theatre in Houston. For tickets, $10 - $25, call 1 (713) 520-0055. -- By Peter Szatmary