Another play at Woolly Mammoth Theater in Washington, DC is headed for Broadway. The funny, but thought provoking “Ain’t No Mo,” is now playing though Sun, Oct 9.
The show opens with Peaches, a Kente-dressed, natural styled wigged person screaming to the audience, “Welcome your XXXXX XXXXX.” It’s at that moment that I knew I was in for yet another self-proclaimed Woolly “pushes beyond perceived boundaries,” experience at the comfortable D Street, NW theater.
Artist Director Maria Manuela Goyaness calls the play “absurdist satire.” Initially, I called the series of vignettes, sick, as writer Jordan E. Cooper rolled out slice of life skits that portrayed the “worst” of African American life.
Yes, though the satire was absolutely absurd, it was eye-opening and hilarious.
The first segment presents the Nov4, 2008 funeral of the “Brother RightToComplain,” who dies after the election of Barack Obama. Later the preacher asks the mourning congregation to turn to your neighbor and say “the President is my Nxxxxx,” - - repeatedly. The audience participates.
The performances continued to depict the most questionable slices of African American life as the “Real Baby Mamas of the South Side” skit presented a talk show and someone in the audience said above a whisper “The Real Show.” I wasn’t too sure to be disgusted or defeated until the dispute between the “born” Black women and the “transracial” Black woman – as part of the play - broke out.
Call me slow, but then the play became too serious to laugh with as the transracial person defended her reasons for not changing her sex, but her race. Creative, I thought.
Then comic relief came flooding down when the transracial woman retorted a line borrowed from The Color Purple: “All my life I have had to fight . . ." Yes, though the satire was absolutely absurd, it was eye-opening and hilarious.
Cooper says he was inspired by George C. Wolfe’s 1986 play, “The Colored Museum.” (The original 1986 off-Broadway cast included Loretta Devine as did the 1991 TV broadcast.) Yes, the parodies delivered through vignettes reflect the 1986 show, but while Wolfe was biting, Cooper snaps - - very hard.