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Students stage ‘die-in’ to protest blackface in production co-written by black playwright

University of Texas-Austin protesters don’t want theater audiences to know that white actors wore blackface on stage in the “Roaring 20s.”

They staged a “die-in” Thursday in response to the theater department’s production of The Wild Party, a play co-written by African-American playwright George C. Wolfe that – gasp – includes blackface, because it’s historically accurate, The Daily Texan reports:

In an email, theater department chair Brant Pope said his program is not including the blackface as an endorsement of the practice but as a critique used by co-writer Wolfe, a playwright whose works deal with race and identity. 

“It’s critical to understand that we are producing the play as written,” Pope said. “The writers use blackface in this play as one of many elements that point to a lack of a moral compass in both the character and the world he inhabits.”

It’s not the blackface per se, the protesters claim, according to the Daily – it’s the “inclusivity problems shown through what they said was insufficient communication with the black community about the use of blackface.”

Apparently, the possibility that a play about the Roaring 20s might include blackface never occurred to the protesters. But it’s Pope who is apologizing for their ignorance:


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