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The What-What Whats? 

Wednesday, May 25 2011
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In September 2005, Ron Jones and Larry Jay Tish holed up for a weekend at the apocryphally named budget hotel the Plantation Inn. Their goal was to write a play about their experiences as a black man and a Jew in America, respectively. What resulted is a lot more complex and unclassifiable than either expected: a multimedia comedy show examining their ethnic experiences and the tensions between the black and Jewish communities, using a format that includes sketches, improv, puppetry, and a game show. The shaggy beast that evolved from the duo’s weekend at the Plantation Inn is fitting for a show that riffs on some of the country’s most uncomfortable and unresolved issues. Fortunately, The Black-Jew Dialogues isn’t a dry treatise on race in America, but a contentious and wickedly funny dialogue that lays bare simmering ethnic tensions rarely voiced in a public venue. In an interview with the Washington Post, Jones said that an alternative name for The Black-Jew Dialogues could be either Jews for Dummies or Blacks for Dummies, which gets to the root of the show’s appeal — it’s a chance for folks from all ethnic backgrounds to get some hearty laughs from some uncomfortable topics, while Jones and Tish lay well-worn misconceptions to rest.
Sat., June 4, 8 p.m., 2011

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Paul M. Davis

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