Shotgun Players Takes on Race and Sex in America

James Ijames’ play White explores racist and misogynistic systems.


Photo by Ben Krantz Studio

In James Ijames’ biting social satire White, Gus (Adam Donovan) is a talented gay white male artist on the rise. When his good friend Jane (Luisa Frasconi) becomes the new curator at a prestigious museum, Gus thinks that he’s now got clear shot at getting his paintings displayed. But it’s not to be.

Jane tells him that gay white Gus just isn’t the right demographic; she’s looking to get more representation from black artists. Not to be dissuaded, Gus hits on the perfect solution: He’ll simply hire a black actress to pose as the creator of his paintings, and his work will be hanging in that museum in no time. He plucks Vanessa (Santoya Fields) from his boyfriend Tanner’s (Jed Parsario) improv class, promising her an opportunity to develop her own artist character. What could possibly go wrong with that?

What sounds like the groundwork for a bizarro comedy of errors turns out to be a probing meditation on the slippery intersections between race and gender in America, exploring with acerbic wit how racist and misogynistic systems of control shape the way that we think and behave despite best efforts. Audience members are invited to participate in talkback discussions immediately following each performance.

Through Sun., Aug. 5, 8 p.m., $27-$42, Shotgun Players, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley,