Lookingglass Theatre Company Presents the World Premiere of
Written by Ensemble Member Kevin Douglas
Directed by Ensemble Member David Schwimmer
February 21 – April 22, 2018
Plantation!: Three City Girls Meet Three Southern Belles in the Deep South
By Rick and Brenda Mccain
You heard the phrase “forty acres and a mule,” but probably you haven’t heard of someone feeling so guilty about their family enslaving others that she decides to give away her home. Well, The Lookingglass Theatre has a family that is about to show us how the modern-day HDTV giveaway dream home sweepstakes began.
Playwright Kevin Douglas’ comedy “Plantation” is a story of what could happen if someone “did something” to make amends for slavery. This play shows one person’s willingness to make things right for the wrong others have done.
The conversation around race is as prevalent today as it was yesterday, and Douglas shines a light upon it with a fictional family who obviously profited from slavery with one person coming up with what she believes is an excellent solution to racism and her contribution to reparations. Unfortunately for the generous giver, her family is entirely against the plan.
Set in the great state of Texas, matriarch Lillian played by Janet Ulrich Brooks has a coming to Jesus moment after finding out that the antiquity of her ancestral home comes with a new revelation of relatives. She then plans to give the plantation to the descendants of a slave her family once owned.
The Federal government’s failure to redistribute land after the Civil War was considered the main reason why Blacks suffered from economic hardship. This order to redistribute land equally never happened because less than a year after the order, President Andrew Johnson intervened and instructed that the vast majority of confiscated property be given back to its former owners.
Lillian had good intentions to follow the original order and had all of the papers signed. However, when she reveals the news to her Southern Belle daughter, Kimberly (Louise Lamson), along with her two sisters, Kara (Linsey Page Morton) and Kayley (Grace Smith), affectionately called the KKK sisters, they disapproved and all hell breaks out at the plantation.
Not only is the heat scorching in Texas, but so are the rising tempers in this hotter than the devil’s armpits comedy. True colors, white sheets and the hard and hateful truths will be revealed when sisters meet for the first time.
From what can only be described as “It’s a different world” from where they came from, Lillian’s family greet London (Lily Mojekwu), Madison (Tamberla Perry) and Sydney (Ericka Ratcliff) at their home. These sistas (urban slang intended) who are straight out of Chicago have come per invitation to spend a weekend at the plantation, which gives a new meaning to “Look who’s coming to dinner?!”
When the sisters get acquainted, and they all find out what they are about to inherit and lose, nonstop laughter breaks out.
With such a delicate subject regarding the collective memory of slavery, Director David Schwimmer entertained us with a few “tell me about yourself” moments.
He allowed us to take part in a compassionate dialogue about the horrific act of slavery without being offensive to a subject seemingly still too sensitive to discuss. There is one scene that may trouble some people, but the playwright, who is African American, seems to seek to take this item and kills its meaning, which we found is needed more today than ever.
Slavery is a sore stain in our history, which can never be forgotten without remembering the pain many Blacks faced, but we see this as a way to somewhat “kill the mockingbird” of its meaning of hatred.
This all-female production was hilarious and twisted—taking a sad time in our history and turning it into something we could find humor in. It doesn’t take away from the horrific era of slavery where Blacks worked hard without proper remuneration or appreciation, but it does shine a little light of hope that people still need to remember that this nation has a lot of healing to do if we are ever to be considered a great nation.
We highly recommend this hilarious female production. It is a complicated story with convoluted feelings towards race; nonetheless, it is a must-see play that is funny.
The cast includes
Louise Lamson (Kimberly)
Ericka Ratcliff (Sydney)
Janet Ulrich Brooks (Lillian)
Hannah Gomez (Diana)
Lily Mojekwu (London)
Linsey Page Morton (Kara)
Tamberla Perry (Madison)
Grace Smith (Kayley)