'The Blacks: A Clown Show' (Revisited as an American Tragedy)

In 1961 a play  titled "The Blacks : A Clown Show" by the  French petty criminal and homosexual  prostitute  Jean Genet, was the avant garde sensation of New York.  At the St. Marks Playhouse it starred a cast of Black actors, then young  but now well-known to us all -- people like James Earl Jones, Louis Gossett, Cecily Tyson, Godfrey Cambridge, Maya Angelou, and Roscoe Lee Brown.  As I recall --though the cast most certainly changed over  time -- it remained one of the longest running off-Broadway plays of that decade.  In its review of the play, the NYT's Taubman put his own spin on Genet's meaning and  concluded  with no evidence at all: "'Whatever is gentle and kind and good and tender will be black.' So M. Genet has a Negro declare as if in a vision, but surely he looks for the day when these things will be all colors and no color."  Taubman to  the contrary, Genet said  "What we need is hatred. From it our...(Read Full Article)

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