Who You Callin’ Black Eh?

Written by:

Rita Shelton Deverell

Artist/Creator(s) Identify As:

Black

Cast Size:
10

Roles For:

  • Men: 4
  • People of Colour: 3
  • Women: 5

Genre:

Black Theatre
Comedy
Drama

Themes:

Culture
Identity
Racism

Length:

90 min.

Year Written:

2019

Synopsis:

Who You Callin’ Black Eh? is a coming-of-age play set in Canada’s largest, most multicultural, multilingual city, that is not about sexuality, but is about colour. Wherever Our Heroine goes, whatever she does, with whomever she relates, she is not Black Enough or White Enough to find her people. (From the CPO Website)

Characters:

–Actor 1 – OUR HEROINE, 20-30 something, skin very slightly brown-ish.

–To play multiple characters: 4 (or more –actors, age not really important, ideally skin colours from lily white to ebony black. Everyone contributes to CROWDS/CHORUS. The important thing about role assignment is that white actors will have some black assignments and black actors will have some white assignments.

-2. Actor 2 –A Youngish Man, white appearing skin, will play Heroine’s DREAM BOYFRIEND; a working colleague, BLACK LULU LEMON.

-3. Actor 3 – A Youngish Woman, white seeming in her real skin, will play HEROINE’S MOTHER (Trudy); Heroine’s FUTURE MOTHER-IN-LAW; and Our Heroine’s best friend in high school.

-4. . Actor 4 – An Older appearing Man, black/brown in his real skin, will play Our HEROINE’S FATHER (Daniel); The Boss, MR. White HUGO BOSS.

-5. Actor 5 –Not age/gender/race specific, Narrator/Chorus Leader. A resonant, multi-character voice is important, the kind used in audiobooks. This character is very wise, knows everything that is going to happen, however, cannot control or change events–even though this character may be seen to try and control. The Narrator/Chorus Leader can give us access to what Our Heroine thinks.

The role assignments are from the 2019 Toronto Fringe production. The roles can be assigned differently, as long as the actual cast is “rainbow” and white actors are assigned some black roles and black actors some white roles. This 2019 production also had a Musician/African Drummer.

First Produced:

2017: Developed for a staged reading at the Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival. 2019: Full production at the Toronto Fringe Festival, Factory Theatre Studio.

Resources:

Who You Callin’ Black Eh? is available through the CPO Website.

To view more plays like this, click here.

Notes:

–A cast of some Black actors and some White-appearing actors is essential, ideally a range of shades.
–This play uses masks as well as the actors’ real faces. A director or other team member with knowledge of mask-work is essential.
–The audience participation is optional.

Gallery: