Reflections: The House that Will Not Stand

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Patricia and Paloma McGregor have done it again! And this time with a new piece called The House that Will Not Standwritten by Bay Area poet-playwright, Marcus Gardley. I had the pleasure of seeing the one of the early performances and was blown away by the powerful women cast. I went through a roller coaster of emotions during the performance; from fear, to joy, and even longing. A story about survival and a mother's fight against time; a woman who will do anything to keep her daughters from following her steps as a placée.

Placée's were women who were chosen by powerful rich white men who would offer gifts, a home, and even sometimes children. The practice was considered a union, but they were not permitted to marry because of a law disallowing a white men and women of color from joining hands. However, the placée had some independence, that is, until Louisiana became another American plot. This play demonstrates a new world, a time of transition, and a different story against American history that I've, personally, never been aware of. That of free black women who lived in New Orleans, women who later had to change their lifestyle during the transition from French to American colonizers.

One of the passages in the program reads, "Slaves could earn and keep their own money on the side, which could be used to purchase property, or, one's own freedom. By law, slave owners were required to attend hearings requested by their slaves in order to set a price point based on skill level. By contrast, in the American colonies, the vast majority of external slave earning went to owners, and there was little to no ability to purchase one's freedom." (The Berkeley Rep Magazine/Program, The House that Will Not Stand)

I recommend you go see this performance. Watch how the complexities of race, gender, and family ties unfolds on the stage in this historical yet topical piece of work.

Click here to see the extended show dates at The Berkeley Rep!
Click here to read the SF Gate Review!