Slave Play review – sexual fantasies examined with questionable intent
New York Theatre Workshop, New York
Jeremy O Harris makes his New York stage debut with a provocative triptych, skillfully constructed yet littered with problems
In the first scene of Slave Play, a provocative off-Broadway production from the up-and-coming playwright Jeremy O Harris, we see a woman dressed as a slave cleaning the stage with a broom when Work by Rihanna starts to play. Kaneisha, played by the If Beale Street Could Talk and Chi-raq star Teyonah Parris, is suddenly unable to stop dancing but stops when her white owner Jim (Paul Alexander Nolan) enters. They indulge in crude porn-like banter (he tells her to eat a cantaloupe he throws on the floor) before having sex. Two similar scenarios follow, each slightly altered: a black man is dominated by his white mistress; a black man tyrannizes his white male indentured servant. This explicit interracial triptych fills the stage and is only broken when a word is yelled.