Roseanne is back. With a colorful cast to boot. MUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC, a title even more uninspired than the actual production. Created by Israelite Adam Seelig, and playing at Tarragon theatre, this is a show that asks the question; What the hell is this old lady white lady on? Because if it’s not the Muslim Brotherhood that will destroy us, its this diversity thing.
Suburbia. An amateur couple are getting freaky centre stage. Chemistry not detected. A forgettable musical number.
Insistent knock on the door. Probably Roseanne. I think she’s just been cancelled.
Theresa Tova hits the scene. Strutting with the confidence and husky tones of a white girl saying the N word at a Kendrick concert. In actor terms, her main tactic is upstage. She’s playing Roxanne – B, the matriarch come snooping at midnight. Very much unannounced.
Plot sounds about white. A familiar premise for those who might’ve watched the ill-fated ABC sitcom.
The daughter is even racially ambiguous. And the grandson is black! Roles clearly written for white people have been given to actors of color. With no further mention to their bodies despite the characters being descendants of Eastern block immigrants.
Diversity gone wrong. Very definition of tokenizing, but I’m sure that’s not how the grant adjudicators say it. Wow! You’ve got two of them!
Halfway into the show. To use the urban vernacular, grandma has reached a state of most litness. JJ and D, (acronym names are basic) have failed to get B out the house and it’s getting late. Their prepubescent son B is sleeping, probably masturbating, and must not be disturbed.
He’s portrayed by ebony queen and Sheridan graduate Sierra Holder. A bright young talent utilized in the worst way.
Her solo is it by the shades of a child’s bedside nightliight. An intimate swan song brushing against against subtle blues melodies. Vocal tones hinting at lived experiences her pale co stars could never comprehend.
Playing a white boy, because historically black women have been seen as masculine. It was no doubt an easy decision in the white minds who cast her. Simple pronoun changes in the script would’ve have done so much to honor her femininity. Alas.
Her curves and tame hair sure to attract audiences. Genius really, to benefit off having bodies of color in your space, without actually making space for bodies of color.
Applause break. Back to the mayonnaise.The band is helmed by music director Tyler Edmond. Slick funk riffs evoking the spirit of black people, but the lack of melanin amongst the musicians summoning naught but disappointment.
If your breadth of life experience is being a white passing, jewish identifying, CIS male, stop writing, directing, and composing shows. Break a piece of your privilege off and invite Djanet Sears on the production team. Or at least someone whose had to wonder if their pregnancy will cost them their job.
In an ugly moment B reminisces on her father being a “jew” when it comes to money. There isn’t really any redemption for her. Curtain call and we’re left feeling like a co-sign of her racist views. Advised to take two Ambien before watching this show. One for sleeping, the other to increase tolerance for intolerance.