Dramatic scenes after the performance of the play A Slave Play are going viral on social media. Seated at the panel for a question-and-answer session was Jeremy O Harris, the black playwright whose production has been the subject of much debate surrounding race relations in America.
A white woman seated in the audience reportedly raised her hand to speak, but when someone else was called upon instead, she chose to stand up and speak her mind anyway. The clips show her angrily asserting that she “doesn’t want to hear that white people are the f******* plague all the time” asking of Harris, “How the f*** am I not a f****** marginalised member of this goddamn society?”
“I never said you aren’t,” Harris responded to her calmly. He went on to say that the play is meant to be a commentary on the country and its history, “This play is about eight specific people and if you don’t see yourself up here, that’s great. You aren’t one of them...these are eight specific people that are in a play, which is a metaphor for our country.”
Social media users seem to be largely critical of the woman’s arguments, wondering why a play about slavery must necessarily validate or congratulate the oppressor. Some pointed out that a black person yelling angrily in public would probably have been arrested before they could finish speaking.
Moses Sumney, a celebrated electro-soul singer and songwriter who is also well-respected in the theatre community, said, “This kind of exchange in the theatre is truly my dream.”
Harris himself also posted a clip of the exchange, seen below with some of the online responses.