Why are so Many People Miffed about Wooster Group’s “Cry, Trojans!” at REDCAT?

The Wooster Group presents “Cry, Trojans!” at REDCAT. Photo courtesy of REDCAT.

Well it’s not because the show appears to be decidedly mediocre according to our LemonMeter Rating. Nope. It’s because a whole bunch of folks find this production’s use of “redface” to be incredibly racist. Check out the freakin’ rodeo of protest that’s occurring on the REDCAT Facebook page for the event. Check this comment from someone called Sarita See:

I deeply admire TWG’s work. But no longer. I walked out of tonight’s show because I felt like I was attending the avant-garde theater’s equivalent of a red face frat theme party. While I’ve studied and written about the long traditions of racism in the experimental as well as mainstream arts, I was ill-prepared for this barefaced reversion to red face as an attempt to revise Shakespeare’s revision of Greek tragedy. Yes, I “got” the attempts at postmodern, postracial irony and farce, e.g. the repetition of the line “John Wayne’s teeth” from Chris Eyre’s movie Smoke Signals, the use of what looked like anthropological footage of Natives, etc. But in the end TWG’s message is that white people think they can do anything. Especially to Native peoples.

Haven’t seen the show so can’t comment myself, but man, there are some irate peeps on this case and they want this show canceled and closed. Appears that REDCAT is basically dismissing them, even making a second event page to try and shed some of the bad publicity. The show is closing this weekend so there’s that.

The critics have been mostly critical of the overall incoherence of the production but haven’t really dug in on the “racist” angle. Anybody out there see the show and care to comment?

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Colin Mitchell About the Author: COLIN MITCHELL: Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Father, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Broadway veteran, Marvel comics scribe, Van Morrison disciple, Zen-Catholic, a proud U.S. Army Brat conceived in Scotland and born in Frankfurt, Germany, currently living in Los Angeles and doing his best to piss off as many people as possible.

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  1. Matt Richter says:

    I saw the show. I enjoyed it. I won’t go too in depth about my feelings about it, other than I didn’t find it to be racist in the slightest. I would point out the fact that the person you’re quoting from the event page walked out, and yet finds nothing wrong with saying “in the end…” I believe they did indeed miss the point.

    • Which is usually the case. But beware the credo of identity politics, Matt, you can’t possibly know what is and isn’t racist nor are you allowed to even comment on the topic because you’re from the land of Caucasia.

  2. Matt Richter says:

    Valid points, Colin. I didn’t mean to infer that because I felt a certain way that others were wrong in feeling otherwise. If you read through the comments on the Event page, a number of people posted that they would not attend because the show was racist. I’m a proponent of judging for yourself. I hope this issue sparks more of a dialogue than just the two of us and the detractors on the event webpage, however.