Black women and the city | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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Black women and the city

'Ain't nobody want to hear us,' say the stars of the joyous Single Black Female.

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Part Sex and the City parody and all celebration of Black female culture, Single Black Female at Congo Square Theatre is an incredibly different and joyous stage play. Playwright Lisa B. Thompson sets out to lift up the lives of middle-class single Black American women, a demographic largely bypassed by mainstream media in favor of voyeuristic and exploitative narratives of downtrodden poor single mothers.

"Single Black Female: Ain't nobody want to hear us," proclaim the show's two stars, Tiffany Addison and Ginneh Thompson, jubilantly dancing down the stairs through the audience to the stage, demanding to be seen and heard. Set inside a boutique, the show guides us through a hilarious series of monologues, vignettes, poems, and scandalous stories. Though the pacing of the show ebbs and flows, Addison and Thomas are comedic forces to be reckoned with. Their vibrant characters, ridiculous expressions, and comic delivery wring huge and frequent belly laughs from the audience. In the quieter moments, they both express acute vulnerability, pain, and longing that any viewer—Black, female, or otherwise—can identify with.

Black women as a demographic are hardly a monolith, and the show reflects this reality. Paradoxically, it feels simultaneously dated and progressive as it tackles a wide range of topics, including the search for love and a husband, monogamy, motherhood, sex, queer relationships, and polyamory. Director TaRon Patton does a wonderful job easing the sharp transitions to and from heavier subjects, such as racism and misogynoir, through playful and silly energy and an incredibly banging soundtrack of Black women's power anthems.  v

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