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Mulatto's Dilemma 

Thursday, Jun 19 2008
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Juliette Fairley wrote and stars in this crudely crafted melodrama about a penniless mixed-race woman named Annique. Ostensibly based on Edith Wharton’s novel The House of Mirth (though I didn’t quite see the connection), it takes place in the 1920s. Up from the South, the orphaned Annique knocks at the door of her white mom’s wealthy brother (Pierre DuLat) but is turned away by his greedy and flagrantly racist wife (Anadel Baughn). Down to her last dollar, she’s hired as an ad writer by an abrasive black businesswoman (Tina King). “I’m saving her from prostitution!” this character declares, taking her to New York, where she attracts many men. Fed up with American racism, she heads for Paris and hooks up with other wealthy relatives, who pressure her to marry money — which, despite the temptation, she refuses to do. The story goes on in this vein, recalling a preteenage girl’s soap-opera fantasy. The script, heavy on first-person narrative, is intercut with scenes involving two or three characters, whose ham-fisted dialogue thuds. A slipshod set goes hand-in-hand with the material. Had this mercifully brief 40-minute play been tongue-in-cheek, it might at least have been entertaining. Jeremy Levitt directs. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: June 14. Continues through June 28, 2008

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