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Patrick Clear, Marc Grapey, Geoffrey Owens and Tamberla Perry star in the Pulitzer Prize-Winner’s no-holds-barred suspense story

 

Chicago, IL – Pulitzer Prize-winning and Chicago native playwright David Mamet ruthlessly examines guilt and oppression inRace, his “intellectually salacious” (Chicago Tribune), “scalpel-edged” (The New York Times) drama which bows for its first time in Chicago at Goodman Theatre. Resident Director Chuck Smith, who helms Mamet’s work for the first time, has cast a four-member ensemble including Patrick Clear (King Lear, The Clean House); Marc Grapey (Vigils; Dead Man’s Cell Phone at Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Geoffrey Owens (The Cosby Show; Julius Caesar at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.) and Tamberla Perry (In the Next Room or the vibrator play at Victory Gardens Theater, Eclipsed at Northlight Theatre). Race runs January 14 – February 19, 2012 in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre. Tickets ($25 – $89) can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Mayer Brown LLP is the Corporate Sponsor Partner for Race and WBEZ 91.5 FM is the Media Partner.

“Race, to me, is the most in-your-face play that I’ve dealt with on the subject of race in America, and David Mamet does it in an intriguing, effective way—sharp, precise, right to the point,” said Chuck Smith, whose numerous directing credits include plays of the twentieth-century African American experience: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Amen Corner and The Good Negro. “There are uncomfortable questions raised in this play, but I think it’s every theater’s job to address contemporary issues and mirror our society. Race carries on a conversation that is essential to us individually and collectively.”

Race begins as a crime mystery, as two high-profile lawyers—Henry (Geoffrey Owens) who is black, and Jack (Marc Grapey) who is white—are called to defend a wealthy white client Charles (Patrick Clear) who is charged with the rape of an African American woman. The client admits that he was intimate with his accuser but vehemently denies the charges of rape, insisting that the sex was consensual and that he and the woman were in love. As the two lawyers mull over the potential pitfalls in accepting the case—among them contemporary racial politics and myriad unclear details from the alleged crime scene—they enlist the help of their new associate, Susan (Tamberla Perry), a black woman in her 20s. Susan openly admits that she thinks Charles is guilty and makes a critical administrative error that prematurely forces the firm to take on the controversial case—and casts suspicion onto Susan’s motives. In the lawyers’ struggle to find the truth, their own prejudices are exposed, and they quickly discover that present-day racial and gender politics are as complex as the case in front of them.

“I do not think that people are basically good at heart,” said playwright David Mamet in a 2008 interview with the Village Voice. “That view of human nature has both prompted and informed my writing for the last 40 years. I think that people, in circumstances of stress, can behave like swine; this, indeed, is not only a fit subject, but the only subject, of drama.”

David Mamet began his association with the Goodman in the fall of 1975 with the world-premiere production of American Buffalo. Since then, the Goodman has premiered nine of his plays, including A Life in the Theatre, Lone Canoe, Lakeboat, Edmond, Red River, The Disappearance of the Jews, adaptations of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard, and Glengarry Glen Ross—the 1984 Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama. In 2005, the Goodman celebrated Mamet’s work with a festival that featured a variety of his productions including Romance, A Life in the Theatre and Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock. His other plays include Oleanna, Speed-the-Plow, Boston Marriage and November. Mamet has written the screenplays for The Verdict, The Untouchables, and Wag the Dog, and has twice been nominated for an Academy Award. He has written and directed ten films, including Homicide, The Spanish Prisoner, State and Main, House of Games, Spartan and Redbelt. He has authored the novels The Village, The Old Religion, and Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, and was co-creator and executive producer of The Unit on CBS.

Chuck Smith (Director) was recently awarded the Lloyd Richards Directing Award for his production of Knock Me a Kiss at the National Black Theater Festival (nominated for 13 Audelco awards, including Director of a Dramatic Production and Dramatic Production of the Year). Goodman Theatre’s Resident Director and an associate producer of Legacy Productions, a Chicago-based touring company, Smith’s Goodman credits include the Chicago premieres of The Good Negro, Proof and The Story; the world premieres of By the Music of the Spheres and The Gift Horse; James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner, which transferred to Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company where it won the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Award for Best Direction; Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun; Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky; August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; the Fats Waller musical Ain’t Misbehavin’; the 1993 to 1995 productions of A Christmas Carol; Crumbs From the Table of Joy; Vivisections from a Blown Mind; and The Meeting. He served as dramaturg for the world premiere production of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean at the Goodman. He directed the New York premiere of Knock Me a Kiss and The Hooch for the New Federal Theatre and the world premiere of Knock Me a Kiss at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater, where his other directing credits include Master Harold…and the Boys, Home, Dame Lorraine with the late Esther Rolle and Eden, for which he received a Jeff Award nomination for best direction. Regionally, Smith directed Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Birdie Blue at Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Story at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Blues for an Alabama Sky at Alabama Shakespeare Festival and The Last Season for The Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles. At Columbia College he was facilitator of the Theodore Ward Prize playwriting contest for 20 years and editor of the contest anthologies Seven Black Plays and Best Black Plays. He won a Chicago Emmy Award as associate producer/theatrical director for the NBC teleplay Crime of Innocence, and was theatrical director for the Emmy Award-winning Fast Break to Glory and the Emmy Award-nominated The Martin Luther King Suite. He was a founding member of the Chicago Theatre Company, where he served as artistic director for four seasons and directed the Jeff Awardnominated Suspenders and the Jeff Award-winning musical Po’. His directing credits include productions at ETA; Black Ensemble Theater; Northlight Theatre; MPAACT; Congo Square Theatre Company; The New Regal Theater; Kuumba Theatre Company; Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre; Pegasus Players; the Timber Lake Playhouse in Mt. Carroll, Illinois; and the Black Theatre Troupe in Phoenix, Arizona. Mr. Smith is a 2003 inductee into the Chicago State University Gwendolyn Brooks Center’s Literary Hall of Fame and a 2001 Chicago Tribune Chicagoan of the Year. He is the proud recipient of the 1982 Paul Robeson Award and the 1997 Award of Merit presented by the Black Theater Alliance of Chicago. He is currently a board member of the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago.

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