CofC Theatre to Explore Subtle Racism, Interracial Friendships and White Privilege in ‘Chore Monkeys’ Production

By | January 17, 2018

Presented by the College of Charleston Department of Theatre and Dance, the world premiere of Chore Monkeys “takes a look at subtle racism facing young men trying to work and the challenges of maintaining interracial friendships in a world of white privilege and racial discrimination,” according to playwright Patrick Gabridge. “This is a play that I hope moves fast and tight, and like a razor it cuts you before you even know what happened. While you’re still laughing.”

Dante is a young black man, trying to make his way as a handyman on the Chore Monkey website, but has found it nigh impossible to get customers to look past his profile photo and hire him. So he turns to Peter, his best friend in high school who happens to be white to become the face of his Chore Monkeys team. They use Peter’s white face as the key to land jobs—Peter gets them in the door and Dante does the physical labor. It is almost a perfect situation – until it isn’t.

Just as the audience thinks it has it figured out, Gabridge offers another jaw-dropping moment — either through laughter or pure shock — and hopefully for long moments after leaving the theatre, some echoing moments of truth and complacency… if not complicity… that might change the way we view those with whom we interact.

The production will run Wednesday, Jan. 24 through Sunday, Jan. 28, with a second run Wednesday, Jan. 31 through Saturday, Feb. 3. Curtain times will be 7:30 p.m., with an additional 2:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Jan. 28. A talkback will occur after the show on opening night. Performances will take place at the Chapel Theatre, 172 Calhoun St. Admission is $15 for general public; $10 for senior citizens, College of Charleston students and employees. Tickets can be purchased online at theatre.cofc.edu or by calling (843) 953-6306. 

The show contains adult language.

The College’s production of Chore Monkeys is directed by Associate Professor of African American Theatre and Performance, Joy Vandervort-Cobb. “Having the honor of working on a world premiere with a group of student actors, student designers and a student technical director, while also interacting on a daily basis with the playwright has been incredibly exciting. Working with a playwright can go two ways – a perfect collaboration or a hot mess. Luckily for me, Patrick has been the consummate collaborator. He has embraced our students and we’ve had a blast going through the script, wrestling with certain moments and then coming up with either mini-changes or a clearer understanding of the moment to moment work. I truly am the luckiest. Chore Monkeys is exactly the kind of work I love to do and having Mr. Gabridge in the room – either physically or through Skype or via email – has just added to the gift.”

The design team includes Charlotte Leinback, Costume Designer; Kirstin McWaters, Scenic Designer; Dexter Mitchell, Sound Design and Jordan Maria Benton, Lighting Designer. The acting company includes Caroline May, MaryKate Kelly, Sabrina D’Andrea, Kara Shannon, Frankie Stofan, Elizabeth Lawson, Javaron Conyers and Sean McAlister. There are two Assistant Directors on the project as well, Dexter Mitchell and Ariel Zambrano.