Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Blackballin' 

Modern American athletics as an outgrowth of slavery

Wednesday, Feb 21 2001
Comments
This new play by Rickerby Hinds treats modern American athletics as an outgrowth of slavery. Four black men, with emblematic sports-names -- Hoop, Down, Stick, and Jab -- ply careers in basketball, football, baseball, and boxing, respectively, only to run into historical and modern patterns of racism. Hoop, statistics-wise, won't graduate from the college that gives him a scholarship; Down will never be a quarterback. Stick bats with one strike against him (called by an evil umpire), and Jab replays great racial struggles in boxing, from Jack Johnson's early fights through the harrowing amateur match in The Invisible Man. The play sounds like a political cartoon, and most of it is: Instead of paying attention to human detail, Hinds puts his imagination at the service of his preconceptions. This doesn't keep Vincent Heckard from giving a lively performance as Down, or Dave Stewart from filling all his boxing roles with flair, or the choral-singing pieces from raising a strong defiant noise. But it does doom George Mauro, as the slave-driving Coach, to a lame performance, and almost the whole Hoop segment to tendentious and unnatural dialogue. Hinds needs to reread his Ralph Ellison and learn how to weave a political posture into the fabric of a style without sacrificing character.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"