Controversial Play Admissions Comes to The Public Theater of San Antonio

click to enlarge SIGGI RAGNAR
Siggi Ragnar
If last year's college admissions scandal is anything to go by, if you've got the money to spend, it's just as easy to get into USC as it is to get a seat at The Public Theater's latest play.

This weekend, The Public debuts its production of Joshua Harmon's 2018 satire Admissions, a controversial domestic drama that provides no easy answers, especially for those looking to cheat the system. 

White high school senior Charlie Mason gets rejected from Yale and throws a tantrum blaming affirmative action for his college woes. Though his liberal parents lament “raising a Republican,” they still pull some privileged strings to get him into a prestigious school, because they want what they think is best for their son — even if he's a "racist spoiled little shit."

Unlike Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, the Masons are education administrators who advocate for racial diversity, but their performative "wokeness" is hypocritical and at times obnoxious. Turning a commonly deployed tactic used to deny bigotry on its head, at one point Charlie's mother Sherri Mason finds herself exclaiming, "Some of my best friends are white!" — in order to argue that she isn't biased against her own race.

In its rush to lambast white liberal hypocrisy, Harmon’s script has been lauded for its caustic commentary on affirmative action and white entitlement. However, it’s been criticized for offering typically white audiences more of a cathartic therapy sesh than a challenging experience.

Audiences at The Public will have to decide for themselves if this production is worth the price of admission.

$15-$35, 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through March 22, The Public Theater, 800 West Ashby Pl., (210) 733-7258, thepublicsa.org.
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