The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center announced Tuesday that while race relations dominate national headlines this year, N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk will bring autobiographical accounts of racism to the theater on September 24 at 8:00PM.
Starring Rafael Agustín, Jackson McQueen and Dionysio Basco, N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk blends theater, stand up comedy, poetry and hip-hop.
According to the release, the play has been performed in 44 states and on more than 150 university campuses, while it has won awards for pushing a social justice agenda through the arts.
“Particularly now, given the ongoing discussion regarding race, we as a performing arts theater have a responsibility to bring shows like N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk to students and the Greater Long Beach community,” Carpenter Center Executive Director Michele Roberge said in a statement.
She said the arts have the ability to entertain and make audiences laugh, but can also positively change perceptions and create conversation, the goal of the Carpenter Center in bringing the show to Long Beach.
According to the release, while attending UCLA, Agustín began to explore writing his own play after facing repeated rejection for leading roles in plays written by William Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams.
Agustín was an undocumented immigrant at the time, and reached out to two college friends, one African-American and the other Asian-American. The three set out to confront racist stereotypes they had experienced, and to do so through humor.
“As artists, we believe that these derogatory terms continue to resonate in the public sphere and are therefore exactly the kind of thing that should be considered in the arts,” Agustín said in a statement.
The first performance of N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk at UCLA led to picketing. Those picketers later joined the ticket line when they learned it was an anti-racist performance, according to Sharon Waxman in The New York Times.
Waxman said the show “examines the power of timeworn taboos, attempting to deflate them through a frontal, often funny, assault.”
Tickets for “N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk” start at $25. For tickets and more information, visit the Carpenter Center’s website here or call the Carpenter Center Ticket Office at 562.985.7000. This event is made possible in part by Season Media Partner KPCC 89.3-FM.
Photo courtesy of the The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center.