An immersive theatrical experience that addresses historical events that impact the Black community is now playing at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers.
The goal is to challenge audiences in how they think about stereotypes and how they affect how everyone sees and gets along with each other.
The Colored Museum is playing Friday, Saturday and June 30th at the Alliance.
The play was written by George C. Wolfe in the 80s.
In Fort Myers, Sonya McCarter is directing the play.
Its tough topics are discussed with a hint of humor and a touch of irony, packaged as entertainment. There are eleven different exhibits all around the Alliance for the Arts campus that guests move to throughout the show.
“The caricature of the Aunt Jemima, the house slave, the stereotype of the poor Black family with the mama who can’t make ends meet,” McCarter said. “It uses exaggeration to expose these stereotypes that we all kind of embrace about African-Americans and the African-American culture.”
Wolfe meant to make audiences uncomfortable, McCarter said.
“He wanted African-Americans to kind of hold a mirror up to their figurative faces and say, OK this stereotype that I’m seeing, am I perpetuating it? Is this really who I am? But then also to hold up the mirror to white America and say, you know, why is it that you continue to perpetuate these stereotypes in our media and our entertainment? This is not all of who we are. This is not our story,” McCarter said.
The actors and actresses take audiences on a journey of laughter and reflection.
“People can really get to see the humanity of all people and not just Black people, but really see how we sometimes live up to all different types of stereotypes,” said Antwon Lindsey, an actor in the play.
Chantel Rhodes, an actress in the play and a community activist, said she hopes people are challenged by the play.
“It was challenging because there was a definite stretch and an over-exaggeration that had to take place but nevertheless it made me so proud to be a part of such a resilient people,” Rhodes said.
To see more information and to get tickets, visit the Alliance for the Arts website.