by Sam Maher
After seeing Fairview, I am now adding Soho Rep to my “I’ll see anything they put up” list. I LOVED their Is God Is earlier this year...and so did the Obie Awards: they showered them with praise for the trifecta of excellent writing, direction, and acting! Soho Rep's show Fairview accomplishes something that can literally only be done in live theater (no spoilers!), which is something I’ll always champion no matter what.
First off, know that this show stars the luminous Roslyn Ruff. She was Betty Shabazz herself in X; Or, Betty Shabazz vs The Nation earlier this year and when she’s in a show: you. go. see. it. She’s one of those actresses that you just can’t take your eyes off of the entire time she's on the stage and would trust with just about any role that exists. She’s, quite simply, a miracle.
Photo: Julieta Cervantes
The bulk of the play feels a bit like a fever dream as playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury and badass director Sarah Benson (who is also the Artistic Director of Soho Rep) literally turn the audience on their head in a brave, epic takedown of racism that will make even the most open-minded, liberal, progressive-thinking New Yorker question how they prejudge everything. You’re NOT prepared for what this 110-minute show puts you through.
Jackie's playwriting here is firm (but not unkind) about finally making you do face your innate racism. I wrote down the phrase "delightfully uncomfortable" in my notebook during the show and that's certainly the feeling you'll have during and be left with afterwards.
One of the reasons you live in NYC is to experience this kind of groundbreaking and glorious art and, with that, I can’t recommend Fairview enough. It's a home run. Unfortunately, tickets are very hard to come by for the rest of the run…but: get in line early enough one Sunday and you can see it through Soho Rep's awesome 99-Cent Sundays program.
Runs through August 12.
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