The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman Versus Mammy Louise and Safreeta MaeThrough May 2nd at The M Ensemble, 12320 W. Dixie Hwy, Miami 305-899-2217,

The one, brilliant, and even transcendent exception to the general mediocrity is Keith C. Wade, who begins the play as a bailiff and, by the end, has played a white movie producer, a black film executive, a white slave owner, and a white slave-owner's wife. (The first three are witnesses being called to the stand, but he performs the latter role on video, looking and sounding hilariously like a cross between Divine and Miss Piggy.) Momentarily scandalized by the appearance of a black man in crude plaster whiteface, turning in a scathing but in no way stereotypical portrayal of a yuppie California Caucasian, I was soon swept up in the fun of it. The offensiveness of the gag was ameliorated by Wade's dynamic, razor-sharp characterizations. If people of any color are going to make art about race in America, they should be as honest, as rude, and as alive to humor and surprise as Wade is in this show. He alone makes The Trial worth the price of admission, and then some.

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