When I came into the theater to grab the seat that I had reserved for myself earlier in the evening, it was taken. Laughing, white faces were sitting in my seat, and instinctually I knew not to raise a fuss, to find a seat elsewhere. When I looked around the only people willing to let me sit with them, were the only other black people in the crowd.
August Strindberg‘s play “Miss Julie”, written in 1888, is a story of the walls that exist between people. The walls between the young and wealthy Julie and her father’s valet Jean are palpable. Unlike so many upstairs downstairs stories, this story makes no attempt to break down these walls. Misogyny, racism, and classism are fiercely clung to. There's no sympathy, only lethal attempts to dominate. The actions and words between the two main characters, taking place in a single night, illustrate that these wall may appear to move but they can never come down.
The performance at On the Boards, JULIA by Christiane Jatahy this weekend is a thought provoking, well considered, contemporary work. It tackles class, race, sex and all the isms you can think of between them all. It is done masterfully using the mediums of live theater, film and breaking the fourth wall. It is a journey through emotions and belief systems of each individual audience member.