3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show

Nicholas Martin Hall
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston
November 3–11, 2017

James Scruggs’ 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show addresses America’s original sin in a blend of song, dance, video, and storytelling — at turns hilarious, terrifying, and sometimes both at once. This lean, mean theatrical machine featured three high-voltage actors slyly performing this country’s racist history and ongoing need for dialogue and change. Directed by Mark Rayment and video design by Jason Batcheller.



Edge Media Network’s Kilian Melloy:
“With so many intersectionalities of history, social justice, and theater in play, EDGE couldn’t resist the opportunity to chat with Sleeping Weazel’s artistic director, Charlotte Meehan, and also with James Scruggs himself to find out more about the show, how it came to Boston, and what audiences might expect.”
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Stages, The Boston Globe, interview with Terry Byrne:
“We have come to a point where videos of the killings of unarmed black men by police are viewed like paintings. Their meaning is interpreted differently depending on your perspective,” says Scruggs.
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“The Sleeping Weazel show is a theatrical culmination of every Internet argument in the past year. The production uses video, comedy, theatrics and audience participation to drive home the absurdity and the horror of our current racial politics.”
~ Celina Colby, The Bay State Banner
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“This is a show with jagged edges and urgent demands, but it’s not a stranger to the healing balm of mercy.”
~ Kilian Melloy, Edge Media Network
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3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show reclaims appropriated Black culture so to spit racism into the faces of oppressors. It’s beautiful and horrifying.”
~ Kitty Drexel, New England Theater Geek
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“This isn’t a piece that’s looking to assign blame, point fingers or lecture. Instead it looks to begin the difficult conversations that must be had about race in America and to invite you to the table.”
~ James Wilkinson, The Theatre Mirror
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“All art,” Baldwin wrote, “is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story, to vomit the anguish up.” There is nothing in the least oblique about the point-scoring in 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show. But the anguish is there and, at a time most of our theaters are increasingly indifferent to everything but the vicissitudes of marketing, it is mighty refreshing to see.”
~ Bill Marx, The Arts Fuse
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