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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

POC Christmas in Austin

People of Color Christmas: the White Elephant In the Room.

The title alone is amazing.

And it's amazing that this was accomplished through the vision of what I can only imagine is one woman (Christine Hoang) inspired by a lot of other people (of color).

So this Christmas if you're just a little tired of the same old trail of lights, carol singers at the Domain, and Christmas shows performing  on repeat at theatres this time of year... buy a (cheap) ticket to POC Christmas at Ground Floor theatre.


This is local theatre at its purest.

Script-writing is hard. And for a team of people (of color) telling their stories (of color in Austin), this is a refreshing start to an important conversation. Are there some hard hits in this play? Yes. Is Austin as liberal as we're all happy to claim? No. Are there times when the audience held its collective breath? Yes (although I admit, it may have been more about sexual promiscuity than about racial implication). But for an admitted first-time producer, writer, and director, this was a brave undertaking... financially, socially, and professionally.

I rather enjoyed it. if memory serves, there were two "blacks" (they didn't like the term African American), one Vietnamese, one Chinese, one Latino (but with white parents), and a Latina (who couldn't speak Spanish) and someone Asian-AmericanIndian-Eurpean a blend that so quickly came off the tongue that I can't remember.

Or perhaps it was the construction happening in the next room over that caused the cotton in my ears. Good God, people. It's after hours. Go home. (But kudos to the cast for maintaining focus and plowing - pun intended... what the hell were they doing over there?! - on through the distractions).

Although I've admittedly never had a party that diverse in my home at one time, it felt kind of familiar. Not because of their shared experiences as racial "minority" (they prefer people of color) but because of their quirkiness. Because of the bond of the women. Because of the obnoxiousness of the men. Because of the nerdiness of the whole cast. Because of the awkward geekiness of being an intellectual, professional, thirty-something who still busts out a rap tune in the living room in the middle of a Christmas party at 1am.

We've all done it. Don't deny it.

While the addition of the microphones and beat box through the sound system took the audience out of the party happening onstage (I can't decide if I liked it or not), it enhanced it simultaneously. Because, as I said before, who hasn't sung into a champagne glass, capers bottle, or best friend's high heel at a Christmas Party? You don't even want to know what happens at the Pittmans in good ol' St. Jo Mo when the Latinos, gays, and white girls show up. It's not for public consumption.

My point is: this is an enjoyable show. You'll laugh. Even as you listen to the stories of the people of color and reflect on your own experiences. As you wonder how to make the world a less PC, less offensive, just more real (colorful?) world.

Just do it. Do something a little off the beaten path this Christmas. Pass the Christmas lights and the spiked cider, and go find the white elephant in the room down at Ground Floor. Now playing through Sunday, December 20.