The Shipment

[Korean-American playwright Young Jean Lee] consciously set herself the uncomfortable task of creating what she calls a “black identity-politics show,” having explored and lampooned the culture of Christian churches and Asian-Americans in her previous works “Church” and “Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven.” (Clearly she likes a challenge.) Combing through the images of African-Americans that dominate the media, Ms. Lee wields sharp, offbeat humor to point up the clichés, distortions and absurdities, turning the wearily familiar — a foul-mouthed stand-up comic, a drug dealer, a would-be rapper — into loopy, arch cartoons.

Please don’t let the social-studies tag “identity-politics” put you off; “The Shipment,” performed by a diversely talented cast of five black actors, will bore or offend only the humorless. Ms. Lee’s method is not to wag a finger but to wink and smile, trusting that you’ll register the point after you’ve had a good laugh.

Both photo and text are from The Times. I'd heard of neither the show nor writer Lee until I stumbled upon the article, which makes several questionable points. But I'll be uncharacteristically reasonable and suspend judgment until I see the thing for myself.

If you're in New York:

The Shipment
A play by Young Jean Lee
January 8-24, 2009
The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
Buy tickets