It's a scene that could come straight out of a movie. Imagine attending a play centered on slavery just to have someone stand up at the very end to proclaim that it's racist.
Well, this is exactly what happened to a stunned audience attending Broadway's Slave Play written by Black playwright Jeremy O. Harris.
It's an award-winning play that's received rave reviews for its barrier pushing rhetoric. The New York Times has hailed the work as "one of the best and most provocative new works to show up on Broadway in years." But for one attendee, it was far too much for her privilege to bear.
According to multiple attendees, it all started during the live Q&A session held by Harris after the Friday evening play. Harris was taking questions, and after he mistakenly skipped over the attendee she stood up to proclaim that the play was just too racist for her liking. "I don't want to hear that white people are the f**king plague all the time," she exclaimed!
She then went on to profanely add that she too is marginalized as she is a rape survivor, has previously been falsely arrested, and was "told as a single woman [she's] not good enough to fucking raise them."
"How the fuck am I not a fucking marginalized member of this goddamn society?" she pleaded to know.
"I never said you aren't," Harris retorted. "I never once said that you as a white woman were not a marginalized person. But if you heard that in my play, I don't know what to tell you. Perhaps read it or see it again."
The woman then went on to say that she's sick of hearing such negativity about her race, particularly of their deeds from "300 years ago" to which Harris responded that his work isn't about "every white person."
"This play is about eight specific people — and if you don't see yourself up here, that's great," the 30-year-old creator added. "You aren't one of them…These are eight specific people that are in a play, which is a metaphor for our country."
Although the woman has yet to be identified, Harris affectionately coined her #TalkbackTammy on his Twitter page.
Dear Talkback Tammy,
— Jeremy O. Harris (@jeremyoharris) December 2, 2019
According to a synopsis of the show, Slave Play aims to "[rip] apart history to shed new light on the nexus of race, gender and sexuality in 21st century America."
Its narrative centers around three interracial couples who decide to try a Antebellum master-slave role-playing therapy workshop to spice up their dull sex lives.
According to BuzzFeed, one audience member recalled "Talkback Tammy" as having "freaked out."
"The videos don't do it justice. She went off on him," a woman, identified as Sydney, said. "She was screaming at the top of her lungs. She could not handle her own guilt or responsibility in her own feelings, and she demanded that Jeremy help explain and handle her feelings."
Despite the outburst, the play has been receiving great reviews from those who attend. Twitter user, @malaikatinashe took to Twitter to thank Harris for bringing back the essence of Black theater.
i probably won’t be able to see this beautiful show again before it closes but i wanted to give a huge thank you to @jeremyoharris for making young black theatre like @SlavePlayBway so accessible to students like me. i’m honored to be experiencing it firsthand. pic.twitter.com/PpI68STMvZ
— witchcraft enthusiast (@malaikatinashe) December 3, 2019
Since taking the incident to Twitter, #TalkbackTammy has gone viral. Harris is even giving away two free premium tickets for the best #SlavePlay meme based on the incident.
This the second best I seen so far…
— Jeremy O. Harris (@jeremyoharris) December 3, 2019
Slave Play, directed by Robert O'Hara, will continue to play at the New York Theatre Workshop through January 13, 2020.