They are feared, envied, occasionally attacked and derided. But pitied? When personal identity is essential and privilege is a problem, what is a straight white man to do?
Young Jean Lee – called ‘hands down, the most adventurous playwright of her generation’ by the New York Times – is a playwright whose work revels in subverting stereotypes. Straight White Men takes place over the Christmas holidays, when three Straight White Men by Korean American playwright Young Jean Lee is a hilarious and revealing play about the most unoppressed of this world’s peoples brothers assemble at the family home, to celebrate the season with their widowed father. The youngest, Drew, is an award-winning fiction writer. The middle boy, Jake is a hotshot banker, but the oldest, Matt, played Charlie Condou, is burdened by student debt and an unexplained failure to thrive.
Games are played. Chinese food is ordered. Brotherly pranks and trashtalk distract them from the issue that threatens to ruin the testosterone-fuelled, boys-will-be-boys celebration. In this raucous, surprising and fearless work, Lee takes an outside look at the traditional father/son narrative, shedding new light on that theatrical storyline we have come to know all too well.
But, and here is the twist, the people in charge of proceedings are neither white, nor straight, nor male…
Charlie Condou is an actor, columnist and LGBTQ+ rights activist best known for playing Marcus Dent in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street and Ben Sherwood in the BBC hospital drama Holby City. Theatre credits include: The Crucible (Sell A Door), Next Fall (Southwark Playhouse), Dying for It (The Almeida Theatre), The Changeling (Southwark Playhouse), Shopping & F***ing (No 1. Tour), Cracked (Hampstead Theatre) and After The Rain (Gate Theatre).
Charlie says: “I’m really pleased to be working on the fantastic “Straight White Men”. I feel like masculinity is in a bit of a crisis at the moment and this play explores the effects of white male privilege in a beautifully delicate way”.
Also in the cast are Kamari Romeo and Kim Tatum. Kamari Romeo has worked extensively in immersive and experimental theatre. He made his screen debut in ‘Silent Witness’ this year and his recent theatre credits include: Summer In London (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Bear/The Proposal (Young Vic) and Elemental (Bush Theatre). Kim Tatum is the director and founder of Mzz Kimberley’s Life, highlighting trans performers. Her recent theatre credits include: Closets The Musical (Hope Mill Theatre) and Summer in London (Theatre Royal Stratford East). She has also appeared in EastEnders and Cold Feet. She is a regular on the main stage for London Gay Pride and is Patron of CliniQ.
Straight White Men is at Southwark Playhouse 27th May to 20th June 2020.