Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...how does the rest of that go? Oh, but nevermind. Can I tell you about one of my least favorite things?
So, I wasn't going to write anything about The Second Tosca. And I'm sort of still not, except tangentially, because both reviews I've read commented enthusiastically on the performance of two-time Tony nominee Vivian Reed as a larger than life diva-in-decline. I did enjoy this, in a way. She did 100% of what the script asked her to do. Thing is, and I'm not casting aspersions on the play as a whole, which was funny and well-paced...but when do we get to retire the archetype of the Black Woman Who Will Tell It To You Straight? And then maybe slam a door. It's sort of the verso of the very funny Mad T.V. sketch you may have seen floating around on youtube mocking the yearly ritual of an execrable movie about a Nice White Lady who teaches the kids at an inner city school not only to write/dance/juggle/play canasta, but [gulp, gulp, gulp, taking my anti-emetic] to LIVE.
I know this is a play in which everyone is to some extent a type. But this particular type is a wearying fetish, embarassing for everyone on either end of the equation, particularly when coupled in a sort of hybrid with The Sassy Black Woman Who Always Gets The Last Word (Oh No She Di-glottal stop-unt! Sass-amplifying Finger Wag!) The only opportunity they missed was having her cook for the whole family and dispense earthy wisdom. Even the horny, catty, gay character felt less problematic, maybe because he had a bit more of a story in him. It's not lost on me that a white guy critiquing portrayals of black characters is an iffy enterprise, by the way. Anyway, um, it was a pleasure to see a play about opera, and Rachel de Benedet was terrific, and I think I meant this to be about a sentence long but this medium-deeply pisses me off. Do I need to just take a fucking valium, or does this bug anyone else a lot?