Oil and Water

A play based on a true story. a US navy ship goes down, a small community in Newfoundland rescues as many sailors as possible, including one black man. the white coal mining community treat him with the most respect he has ever had in his life because they have never seen a black man before. The experience of this very brief friendship changes him and them forever.
Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland is an innovative company, founded in 1995. Robert Chafe, who wrote this play, and is a primary creator of Artistic Fraud, won the Governor General’s Award for Drama in 2010.
I enjoyed this play and the way it addressed the issues of racism and poverty from a number of perspectives. Lanier Phillips, as the young sailor, joins he navy to get away from the restrictions of his home town, but finds that things are not any better when the ship goes down. but when he is rescued, he finds that not all whites are racist, a lesson he carries forward.
His daughter endures the racist taunts of the whites who object to bussing as a solution to segregation. Listening to her describe the rock throwing and obscenities hurled at kids on the bus is perhaps the most difficult part of the show. You want to turn and apologize to every black in the audience, but wonder if that in itself is not a racist reaction.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in aartistic Fraud, Factory 2012, Roberr Chafe, Ryan Allen. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Oil and Water

  1. Keith says:

    Well written and performed and an interesting story.It's no fun being at the bottom of the pecking order, whether you are a southern black or a Newfoundland miner. Maintaining some dignity and humanity is difficult in either situation, but the story indicates it is still possible.

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