Rastus and Hattie | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Illustration in Rastus and Hattie by Roy Thomas

Illustration in Rastus and Hattie by Roy Thomas

Roy Thomas

When: Mondays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 31 2021
Price: Free
16thstreettheater.org

Berwyn's 16th Street Theater offers a free encore presentation of this audio play, written by Lisa Langford and directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley. Langford's dark comedy involves two contemporary couples (one white, one Black) whose friendship is threatened when it's revealed that the white couple has Black robot servants—relics of an actual Westinghouse project in the 1930s, which created "“mechanical slaves," one of whom was in fact called "Rastus." Langford adapted her stage play for 16th Street, and her story also weaves in time travel and the theme of epigenetics, or the theory that generational trauma such as slavery leaves a genetic imprint. Illustrations from Roy Thomas add to the listening experience. Reader critic Kerry Reid called the production "a fitting coda to a year marked by heightened attention to racial justice and institutionalized white supremacy."

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