Lorraine Hansberry Theatre's latest turns Toni Morrison's tragic book into, of all things, a slapstick comedy

Humor can be a powerful tool for conveying serious content in the theater. Rather than communicating didactic messages about human suffering or stupidity, plays by the greatest dramatists often get their point across by making us laugh. If plays like George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House and Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman punch us in the gut, it's not just because they're bleak, but also because they're viciously funny. But getting the balance right is a challenge. With too much seriousness, a play becomes preachy. Go too far in the other direction, and it loses its aim.

Mrs. Breedlove (Tamiyka White) stands over her daughter, Pecola (Shanique S. Scott).
Marc PÂquette
Mrs. Breedlove (Tamiyka White) stands over her daughter, Pecola (Shanique S. Scott).


Adapted from the novel by Toni Morrison.

Through Nov. 11 at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 620 Sutter (at Mason), S.F. Tickets are $22-36; call 474-8800 or visit

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Despite Diamond's obvious connection with her source material through the direct use of many lines from Morrison's book, Scott's bittersweet performance, and the gaping hole of the empty set, the comedic elements prevail over the tragic in this production of The Bluest Eye. It shouldn't be so easy to forget that Morrison's novel has the power to make people cry.

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