Mulatto Math – Summing Up The Race Equation in America
Created and performed by Monique DeBose
Directed by Denise Dowse
This one woman show is something a little special.
Monique DeBose is a singer-songwriter and playwright, a world traveller and mother, and her mother is white and her father is black. She has a perspective on race and an accomplished ability to cleverly frame it that makes for a compelling and fascinating life story. She brings us with her as she shares moments of her life, from early childhood to her more recent epiphanies, all interspersed with her lovely, bluesy voice showcasing her gift for songwriting and brilliantly accompanied by the rather fabulous Rene Patrick Audain on his bass.
Monique studied math in college, hence the ‘math’ segments of the show. She illustrates her internal debates with the use of “Beautiful Mind” like illustrations, as she struggles with the logic of her mind and the emotions of her heart that pull her from one side of her family to the other and from one explanation of her existence to another. All the while using her mathematical formulae trying to prove what she is still unable to pin down herself, namely why America has such a problem with race.
As an import from the UK I must say I can totally understand her frustration.
It’s a part of this wonderful country that continues to trouble me and often has me questioning whether I should stay or return to England, especially lately. These issues run so deep here and Monique does her part to fathom them and perhaps give us some way forward, or at the very least, help her come to terms with her own life.
Monique DeBose’s experience of living in two worlds, one black, one white, but never feeling at home in either has created an illuminating and inspiring work of music, memories and math. She has wrestled with her logical self to find her place in the world and her journey to her place of peace is fascinating, compelling and highly entertaining.
I highly recommend “Mulatto Math” at the Whitefire Theatre.
Monique DeBoise has the courage to ask questions that surely deserve our attention and in a way that is far beyond blame or judgement, which is a very good place to begin. Don’t you think?
Running from March 26 through May 6, Sundays at 7pm
Whitefire Theatre 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 91423