White Suit Science | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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White Suit Science

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WHITE SUIT SCIENCE | By turns satiric, surreal, and painfully sincere, Shawn Reddy's new play defies easy description. The hour-long piece begins as a discussion of Mark Twain and the myriad way his memory has been cheapened, particularly by impersonator Hal Holbrook and Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. But soon enough, under the guise of comedy, Reddy and his ensemble of deconstruction workers (Joe Binder, Jesse Fisher, Rick Lazarus, and Beau O'Reilly) engage in a fascinating postmodern analysis of whiteness, especially white suits in popular culture, and the ongoing whitewashing of history. In one of the strongest sections, Reddy reveals how far the contemporary citizens of Hannibal have gone to erase the central role played by slaves in Twain's youth. In this tourist trap, bristling with references to characters from Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, there's nary a mention of runaway slave Jim.

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