Fresno Soap Co. Presents D.W. Cato’s original play examining the
complicated world of race relations and understanding in an American
Tickets available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3026660
*EXCERPTS of a Review by Cherylyn Smith*
Prepare for the genesis of “reality theater.” Unlike reality TV, this genre
is not “dumbed down,” as demonstrated in the original play *Us and Them* by
Deshad Cato. (The play is being presented through Aug. 6 by the Fresno Soap
Co.) Instead, it raises our consciousness and offers us the insight we
often lack in real-life situations. Ultimately, the audience is challenged
to think, open up to experience and change the status quo.
The subject is the ongoing problem of police use of inordinate force
against people of color. It mirrors the Black Lives Matter movement but has
no qualms about taking all the characters’ perspectives into consideration.
With all the news of repeated police killings, this play is revelatory and
enlightening, as it examines the inner workings of institutionalized racism
and how it robs us of our essential humanity.
The truth is that these protective barriers, based on irrational fears,
strengthen the wall between “us and them.” The play acknowledges that these
defense mechanisms emerge out of systemic racism in our society with its
history of racial tensions that can quickly polarize and spiral out of
control. In the end, the audience is left to consider removing the barriers
and to find ways to join in unity with those on the other side. It’s a
short step out of the theater and into the “streets” where it’s all
happening. *Us and Them* empowers us to take it on.
*Cherylyn Smith is a part-time instructor at Fresno City College and an
environmental activist with the Sierra Club and Fresnans Against Fracking.
She has a boundless love of theater and books. Contact her at *
*firstname.lastname@example.org* < email@example.com>*.*
The Fresno Soap Co. is a theater that is not afraid to take on social
justice themes. This theater company and the playwright Deshad Cato deserve
recognition, praise and support for this and future offerings.