It’s a familiar place: a doctor’s office, staffed by a doctor and two workers plus a patient.
The ordinary, however, becomes a charged place once race — and power — enters the picture, as it does in the play “Rasheeda Speaking.”
The Joel Drake Johnson play opens a three-performance run Friday night at the Jubilee Theatre and director Trent Sutton hopes it also opens a door to conversations about the subject.
The play watches what happens when Doctor Williams (Sutton), playing his two employees Jaclyn (Diamond Wade-Akridge) and Ileen (Shelly Sykora) off each other, gives white Ileen a promotion over black Jaclyn, on the basis on the latter’s work behavior and habits.
Racism? Or simply a reward to a better worker? Office relations start to fray and affects a patient (Jennifer Poole) who shows up for an appointment and finds herself in a crossfire.
Johnson’s characters aren’t easy to pigeonhole and their perceptions of what constitutes racism or not differ — much like real life, Johnson said.
“It’s something eerily real — it’s something to see how racism pervades each of our perspectives,” he said.
That’s why Sutton plans an audience talkback session after each performance, to work through issues raised by the drama.
“There’s a lot of reality in the show,” the director said. “If the audience is open to what we’re performing, it’s hard not to see this reflected in their own lives . . . In Waco, race is still something we need to discuss.”