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Art by Jason Simon

Token Theatre Friends: Rethinking American History with Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard

The Friends talk to the creators of ‘Underground Railroad Game,’ which is back in NYC; plus reviews of an all-female ‘Mac Beth,’ ‘BLKS,’ and ‘Continuity.’

Twice a month on the Token Theatre Friends video series and podcast, theatre critics (and theatre besties) Jose Solís and Diep Tran bring a POC perspective to the performing arts.

This week they speak to Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard, the creators and performers of the Obie-winning Underground Railroad Game, making its triumphant return to New York City from May 30-June 15. The play explores America’s racist history through a perverse game designed by two middle school teachers, involving students posing as Union and Confederate soldiers, and Black dolls. Kidwell and Sheppard talk about the experience of taking the piece all over the world and about the warped way we’re taught about history.

The audio of the interview is also available on the podcast, where the Friends review three shows currently playing in New York City:

Mac Beth adapted by Erica Schmidt at the Lucille Lortel Theatre through June 9 ($77 – $117). Seven schoolgirls gather in an empty field to do Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy, but violence erupts as they become unable to see the difference between the play and real life.

BLKS by Aziza Barnes, at MCC through June 2 ($35 – $95). Three young black women have an unforgettable night as shit goes down while they try to navigate love, sex, and life in New York City. Combining comedy and drama, the play marks the theatrical debut of poet Barnes.

Continuity by Bess Wohl at Manhattan Theatre Club through June 9 ($35). As members of a film crew attempt to shoot one scene from their big budget climate change thriller, their hopes and fears come to the surface leading us to wonder: can art make a difference in these chaotic times?

Then at the end of the episode, the Friends explain the politics of theatre awards and how to become an awards voter.

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Have comments, suggestions for segments, shows to plug, or thoughts on how the Friends can be even better? Contact the Token Theatre Friends via email or Twitter.

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