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Trevor Noah, Michael R. Jackson On Themes Found in 'A Strange Loop' During Black Theater Night

A Strange Loop, a Broadway Play on Consciousness and Values Through the Lens of Black (Gay) America.

(L to R) Trevor Noah, Michael R. Jackson, Raja Feather Kelly

Being plagued by the pressures of self-doubts and insecurities in preservations of acceptance and righteousness is a rigorous and preemptive attempt towards understanding the concept of value. The Broadway production A Strange Loop investigates the notion of morality to address the question of what a man is worth. This story is narrated by a Queer-identifying cisgender male named Usher, who is deemed an outcast according to the hierarchy of societal standards against the landscape of America.

Usher is a young, alternative, fat, sassy, Black brilliant creative looking to make his mark in the Big Apple as a playwright. Along his journey to thrive as a successful producer of a musical about a Black, queer writer producing a musical about a Black Queer writer, he encounters internal and external forces that create a cyclical merit of consequences. His actions cause effects that are egged on and antagonized by his consciousness. The prison of the mind holds the key to fulfillment, however, it’s known to stifle the growth of achievement as it juxtaposes one’s reality with false perceptions, or does it?

During Black Theater Night hosted by Trevor Noah, the creator, Michael R. Jackson, shared, “I realized that the show is what it is. It is continually showing what it is to itself and the audience. Just being itself is a radical act, and I find myself moved to realize that."

Noah added, “The first time you watch it, depending on who you are, you think this play is about being Black and white. The second time you watch it, you may go 'oh no, it is a play about religion and how it controls people's lives;' telling us how we should or shouldn’t be. Then it becomes about acceptance etc. Each time it feels like a different layer.”

Both perspectives can be true; I found A Strange Loop to be a construct of living within systems and structures mapped out based on checkpoints. The POV can be subjective, biased, and objective based on self-exploration and the boxes you check off in alignment with where you deem or dream your placement in the hierarchy to be. The production tugs at your decision-making in order to follow your desires, your choice on how to identify, and question your reasonings for placing value in those things.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning and Grammy-nominated Broadway play is a comical, thought-provoking must-see. Although Michael sarcastically jokes about playwright Tyler Perry in the show, A Strange Loop embodies its own satirical essence and charm of a Perry production. However, it possesses the penmanship and skillset of prolific literature and storytelling of writers like Baldwin, Wilson and Walker. A Strange Loop is what it is.

The production is running for seven more weeks and will play its final Broadway performance on January 15th. We implore you to experience this explosive artistic masterpiece for yourself and take the journey of A Strange Loop.

Get your tickets here.

Photo Credit: Avery Brunkus


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