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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

"Straight White Men"

Junior Caleb Pierce, sophomore KB Barnes and freshman Bethany Moore are some of the cast members in “Straight White Men.”
Junior Caleb Pierce, sophomore KB Barnes and freshman Bethany Moore are some of the cast members in “Straight White Men.”

By: Sam Veremchuk, Contributing Writer

There’s a new show opening this week at Wofford – “Straight White Men,” a new comedy by Young Jean Lee, a writer, director and filmmaker who has been called “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation” by The New York Times and “one of the best experimental playwrights in America” by Time Out New York.

‘Straight White Men’ is both an aggressive and timely exploration of patriarchy, privilege, and identity, and a hilarious comedy with a surprisingly compassionate heart.

“When Ed and his three adult sons come together to celebrate Christmas, they enjoy cheerful trash-talking, pranks, and takeout Chinese. Then they confront a problem that even being a happy family can’t solve: When identity matters and privilege is problematic, what is the value of being a straight white man? The issues ‘Straight White Men’ explores include family, race, class, identity, privilege, stereotypes/prejudice and violence – it’s a very American play,” says Dan Day, assistant professor of theatre.

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Day will be the director of the play at Wofford and hopes it will spark conversation on campus.

“One of the things that excites me the most about the play is how timely and immediate it is. The students are thinking about, exploring and embodying some of the most important issues and ideas of our current moment. Their bold commitment, and this challenging play, will generate thought and discussion – and perhaps even some controversy. To me, this kind of work is an essential component of a liberal arts education at Wofford.”

The show is made up of a small, mostly male-led ensemble of seven actors. They have been exploring the themes of the show and the personalities of their characters throughout this semester.

“The play itself is extremely challenging, but working with these students has been a joy,” says sophomore Mike Hoffman.

Hoffman plays Ed Norton in the show. Ed is the elderly father of the three other men in the play.

“The most challenging part for me has been how to become an older person physically,” Hoffman says. “I can learn how a person’s beliefs and experiences affect him later in life, but changing how you move is so very difficult.”

Hoffman loves working with Day and the other cast members.

“We’ve gone through many failures and successes this semester. I love the theatre department at Wofford. It’s what has really allowed me to appreciate my time at Wofford.”

Similar to Day, Hoffman believes the play is important for Wofford students to see.

“It asks a lot of important questions about a group that isn’t thought about a lot consciously being, of course, straight white men. It doesn’t seek to condemn anyone, but it forces us all to step back and look at who we are as straight white men, and I’ve personally never been called on to do that before.”

“Straight White Men” opens Thursday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. in the Tony White Theatre. The theatre is located in the Campus Life building. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at wofford.edu/boxoffice.

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