Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

For a Black Girl

Nicole Acquah
Kate Cotruvo, Claire Mackey Berkman, Nicole Acquah
The Vaults

Chusi Amoros, Carly McCann, Nicole Acquah, Elisha-Grace Lawrence and PJ Stanley.
PJ Stanley. and Nicole Acquah
Nicole Acquah
“Racism doesn’t exist.”

That’s what the white male character (P J Stanley) says. And he should know because as he explains he has never experienced it.

He opens the show sitting on a couch across from his friend, a black woman character (Nicole Acquah) who disagrees when he tells her there is no racism and sexism. That scene frames the show in which a series of well-written, believable sketches give us plenty of evidence of both prejudices.

There is the all-too familiar court case where a woman is put through a disturbing set of intrusive questions that imply she really must have wanted the “so-called rape.” Behind her, giving visually surreal emphasis to her awkward movements, sit a long line of women performing exactly the same movements.

Sometimes, a sketch carries a small shock, as when a father speaks to his daughter about a cause of sexual assault being the way women dress.

More sensitivity might be expected of a father, but then, as one character observes in another scene, we are the product of “generations of hand me down objectification.”

There are a number of harrowing moments in the show, such as the domestic abuse of a woman who becomes homeless and the police harassment of black people. But there is also a good deal of humour.

In one sketch, where a man is explaining to our puzzlement the discomfort of wearing a bra, he finally admits that he is speaking the words of a woman because our society values more the voice that is attached to a penis.

Nicole Acquah and P J Stanley give confident, engaging performances.

We never get to hear the outcome of the rape case in which the woman is being interrogated in court. There is just the memory of her discomfort at the evidence of her supposed responsibility for the rape. But then that is a tradition in the world, so why not also in the theatre?

It’s more reason to change the world.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna