Throwback Thursday: Colored Museum Exhibition


Priscille Diwa

Black History Month is coming to an end, and usually it is focused on the brave people who took a stand for social justice and imprinted their names in history. However, there are times when the limelight focuses on someone different. On February 9th, 1988, Bart Lancelotti wrote an article called, “Colored Museum Exhibition.” focused on a select group of African American who, through the use of theatre arts, displayed how African Americans were being affected by stereotypes.

” ‘The Colored Museum,’ written by George C. Wolfe, is one of two plays rotating in repertory at the Studio Theatre, located at 1333 P. St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005.

” ‘The Colored Museum,’ a play made up of eleven live museum exhibits, explores the different black stereotypes in our society through the satirical vehicles provided.”

“The play begins with an exhibit called ‘Git on Board,’ in which Alexria Siglinda Davis plays Miss Pat, a slave ship stewardess who helps the negro prepare for his voyage into the future. She says it will be a future of oppression and enslavement, but in the end a light will shine through, for the basketball will make the negro people millionaires.”

“Lynda Gravatt follows in “Cookin’ with Aunt Ethel,” in which she plays Aunt Ethel, a happy smiling Aunt Jemima cooking a batch of negroes. Her recipe includes a bit too much attitude but she says they’ll need it.

The audience laughs almost constantly at the onslaught of comical depictions of the black stereotypes. The actors, actresses, and playwright succeed in showing us the pain and struggle the modern negro faces because of their past.”

The play climaxes in the exhibit ‘Symbiosis’ in which Michael W. Howell plays The Man and Valdred Doug Brown plays The Boy, The Man’s past self. It is here where George C. Wolfe looks to the negro who has forsaken his heritage to survive in a white man’s world.

Wolfe also brings to light the pain and contradiction of being the modern negro. The negroes, as Wolfe sees them, are products of their past oppressions and struggle. They are special and their past cannot be deemed forgotten or thrown away.

‘The Colored Museum’ successfully delivers it’s high impact message at the low impact message of comedy. Credit should be given to Alexria Siglinda Davis, Lynda Gravatt, Traci Halima James, Valdred Doug Brown, and Michael W. Howell, who through their various performances, made and will make for you, a thoroughly enjoyable evening.”