Is it possible for people who mean well to do more harm than good when it comes to race relations? Well-Intentioned White People, running Thursday through Sunday, examines this idea. It is the first production in the Festival Playhouse at Kalamazoo College’s 58th season themed “Black is Beautiful: An Ode to Black Life, Love and Strength.” All three plays—including Black+Phats in February and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet in May—will feature Black playwrights telling Black stories.
In this play, college professor Cass wants to forget about experiencing an anti-Black hate crime while simply moving on with her life. Her white roommate and the dean of the university, however, push her to do something about it.
Suddenly, Cass is roped into planning an Equality Day and Unity Week while trying to convince her roommate not to plan a sit-in. Well-Intentioned White People explores how some people attempt to deal with discrimination not directed at them and how “well intentions” can be problematic.
“This play has a lot of heavy themes, wrapped up as a humorous political satire,” said Meaghan Hartman ’23, the play’s dramaturg. “It deals with the constant presence of racism at primarily white institutions and how white people attempt to cover it up, rather than digging into the root of the problems. It also forces its audience to think critically about racism on this college campus and the impact it has on our daily lives. This whole play shows us that meaning well is completely different from doing good.”
Cameo Green ’23 plays Cass in the main role. Addison Peter ’25 portrays Viv, Arman Khan ’24 plays Parker, Brooklyn Moore ’24 presents Dean Baker, and Mickie Wasmer ‘25 fills the role of Mara.
Tickets for Well-Intentioned White People, which will take place at the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse at 129 Thompson St., are available online. The presentations start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. A virtual live stream will be available with Friday’s show. A recording of the live stream then will be available until Sunday. Adults are $15, seniors are $10 and students are $5. K students and faculty and staff are free when an ID is presented. Audiences should expect mature language and situations within the play.
“We hope to start a larger and critical conversation about race and racism on campus and in the community,” Hartman said. “I hope that after seeing Well-Intentioned White People that the audiences, especially white people, are able to critically examine their own feelings about race.”