WANT TO GO?
"Race" by Charleston Stage Company
WHERE: Capitol Center Theater, 123 Summers St.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today though Saturday and May 30-June 1
TICKETS: Adults $15, students and seniors $10
INFO: 304-343-5272 or www.charlestonstagecompany.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sometimes, good entertainment can be uncomfortable, and Joe Wallace, who directs the Charleston Stage Company's production of David Mamet's "Race," wants the audience to squirm in their seats a little.
"We're doing some heavy material here," he said. "But Mamet set out to have a discussion with the audience and give them something to talk about afterward."
The show, which opens today at the Capitol Center Theater, revolves around two attorneys -- one black (Russell Hicks) and one white (Tim Mace), who have been hired to defend a white man (Norman Clerc), who is accused of having raped a young black woman.
"[My character] Jack is like a lot of attorneys, I think," Mace said. "He just wants to get his client off, found not guilty. The truth doesn't really matter to him, which I think is the case with a lot of attorneys."
Added to the mix is a newly hired legal assistant named Susan, played by first-time actress Belen Abdulqadir, a young black female who, Wallace said, may have her own agenda.
The play, which features Mamet's sharp dialogue, explores racial tensions both above and below the surface. It's meant to be a frank discussion on how different people perceive the subject of race, how they see themselves and how they see the other side. It also looks at how race might be viewed in the context of the legal system.
"It's kind of a potboiler and whodunnit," Mace said.
There's also quite a bit of comedy, he added.
"Jack has a lot of funny things to say, but they're sort of funny-ironic."
And some of the things he has to say aren't especially funny at all.