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October 7 – 22
Fringe company MAP Theatre has once again set up shop at 18th & Union, this time with the world premiere of A White Haunting. Written by Brian Dang and directed by Zenaida Rose Smith, it’s a queer rom com that morphs into a surreal home invasion horror tale.
Smith was game to produce this play. “Brian has written a taut narrative that is deeply personal and vulnerable AND brutally incisive about what it means to be non-white in America,” she told The Ticket. “It’s so rare to find a play with such a distinct voice and point of view that doesn’t get lost on its soapbox and still maintains unselfconscious humor.”
Dang clarified the genre-bending work. “The vibe is ‘Should I throw up or should I laugh? Or both?’ Or maybe in the words of a past production member: ‘It’s like Cat in the Hat.’”
“In MAP style,” Smith continued, “this play is deeply uncomfortable and funny and has the big ol’ bleeding heart of its central couple as the pulse of this story. It is Social Horror Dramedy, a genre I don’t see in live performance often, though we’ve seen a renaissance of films in and around this genre the last decade or so.”
Both Smith and Dang are elated with the crew they’ve put together for A White Haunting. “An important part of the play is that it does not engage in realistic portrayals of onstage violence, even though it’s a home invasion,” Dang explained, “so the production team is getting real fun and creative.”
Dang was also happy to dig into the show’s themes. “History and trauma—especially for Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the U.S.—can feel like unstoppable forces that push communities apart to the benefit of power, specifically white supremacy,” they explained. “The effects of whiteness can haunt the connections we seek to make. Without looking, acknowledging, and acts of care and repair, we may be faced with more division than solidarity. It may be messy, but what does it look like to try?”
📸: Photo courtesy of 18th & Union