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Theatre Review: Underground Railroad Game ****

Michael Cox reviews 'a challenging production that demands to be seen'.

There are a lot of productions currently out there that seem like they are trying to offend, but only a small handful are actually taking objective subject matters and successfully making a valid argument.

Case in point: Underground Railroad Game.

We the audience are students in an American high school, and two teachers have devised a ‘game’ in order to teach the history of the American Civil War and, much more importantly, slavery. But our two teachers have an awful lot of baggage—baggage that they are trying to keep from the students but end up showing each other.

Much of the play is grounded in taking audacious situations and running with it: not only is the history of slavery looked at but, more importantly, our two teachers experience first hand how the legacy still effects them in the modern world. To explain some of the scenarios might take some of the shock value away (or cause offense), but to the production’s credit each beat is thoroughly explored and argued.

Underground Railroad Game is not about causing offense but instead is about looking at offensive subject matter straight in the eye and demanding change. As thought provoking as it is funny, it is a challenging production that demands to be seen.

Underground Railroad Game is at the Traverse until August 26th. Check for specific performance dates and times.

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