Friday, December 16, 2011

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of seeing StickFly,

the brand-new Broadway show being produced by Alicia Keys, starring Dule Hill, Mekhi Phifer, Tracie Thomas, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Rosie Benton, and Condola Rashad (yes, Rashad, as in Phylicia Rashad, better known as Mrs. Claire Huxtable). The African-American Studies program and Professor Imani Perry took my Diversity in Black America class and some other undergraduate and graduate AAS concentrators to see it, and all I can say is WHOA. This show is PHENOMENAL. Even though it was two of the stars' Broadway debuts, most of the acting was absolutely impeccable. It felt so natural. It reminded me of how much I miss things that aren't full of song and dance. I saw so much of myself in this show that it felt like home.
I liked this show in the same way I like Awkward Black Girl. Well, let me say that I loved the main female character the same way I wish J was a tangible person in my life rather than just a character I idolize on the even-smaller-than-small screen. She felt so incredibly real. [Basic premise: girl from a lower-middle-class background goes to a prestigious college, gets engaged to a bougie dude who grew up in Martha's Vineyard, goes home with him to meet the in-laws, awkwardness and hilarity ensue.] So many people in my class were hating on this character when we discussed in class on Tuesday, and I was like, personally offended for her. It was like they didn't see her feelings and reactions and awkwardness and confusion as valid or legitimate, like there were all these unwritten rules she was just supposed to somehow inherently know. Didn't she learn anything at Hah-vahd or what? Anyway, everything that she didn't understand, the way she expressed herself, the problems that mattered to her, and the ways she tried to get them dealt with all made so much sense to me. 
She was one of those people caught in an awkward class limbo that I'm going to find myself in soon. Raised in "a house full of books and never enough money," she gets into the best school in the country and meets, mingles with, and befriends upper-middle and upper class people. She gains this incredible education and access to this new crowd of people, but that degree doesn't just come in a deluxe package with all the cultural capital needed to succeed in this new world that same degree propels her into. I'm going to have that same struggle in the blink of an eye, and I just so wanted them to meet somewhere in the middle.
But she's FAR FAR FARRRRRR from the only character with a stack of issues, and the way it all comes together is just wonderful. The relationships are incredibly well put-together, and everyone plays off of one another so well. There's even Scrabble involved. I recommend this show so highly--and some tickets are as low as $35, so go go go! (And check out a one-minute clip here!)

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