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last night, i went to check out a show at the public theater, emergence-see! just so you know my opinion of the show right from the top, it was the truth. a one man show, the brainchild of poet-actor-opera singer-extraordinaire daniel beaty, the fantastical show was about a slave ship that suddenly rises from the hudson river, right in the shadow of the statue of liberty.

beaty examines various reactions to past and present history through the voices of the characters he takes on, but the drama centers mainly around one family: a father, haunted and possibly driven crazy by his past, and his two grown sons who are tryin to figure out who they are in life. the father somehow makes it onboard the ship, and his sons go after him to bring him back to land.

beaty takes on stereotypes head on, but then slips in a subtly subversive note. what's funny, is also touching, what's touching is also absurd. one of the funniest moments in the show: a pseudorasta, a young black man, declares that he is, in fact, a white man. his reasoning has everyone in stitches (when his girlfriend says he should get a job, he decline, because he's actually a rich white man, and he's waiting for the universe to tell that to the bank). but then he slips in some telling questions.

the premise does ask that the audience to suspend its disbelief - a slave ship randomly surfacing from the hudson? all on its own? - but then plays to it. yes, this is strange. many of his characters don't even believe it. but that is the whole point. by the time the sons find their father, one of the sons says to the other, "maybe we're all crazy, and tryin not to show it."

in life, i'm inclined to agree.