When I saw “Slave Play” Off-Broadway last December, it felt like the work of a novice playwright – promising, provocative, and well produced, but too derivative, too long, too full of ideas that were not fully or clearly developed. It needed work….Much to my surprise, I liked it less on Broadway.
It would be unfair to sum up “Slave Play” as soft-core S&M porn followed by pseudo psychological insights about race in America – unfair because it’s other things as well. Harris has an undeniable sense of theatricality, there is some sharp satire embedded in the proceedings, and he is evidently effective enough in identifying real-life undercurrents both in race relations and in couple dynamics that his play has sparked numerous conversations. But these external conversations are surely more rewarding than the ones in the play.