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Ghost Canyon

'Onstage In America: Honky'
(DVD / TV-14 / 2016 / PBS)

Overview: 'Honky' is a hilarious send-up of race relations in contemporary America by young playwright Greg Kalleres. The characters juggle imaginary pharmaceuticals, basketball shoes, race, and love in this no-holds-barred yet touching comedy.

DVD Verdict: When a young African American is shot to death for his pair of trendy Skymax basketball shoes, sales of the shoe suddenly triple among rich white teens. The new white CEO of Skymax, a shoe company catering to African American kids, sees only dollar signs. The shoe's black designer is, however, enraged and blames the murder on the company's ghetto-themed ad campaign. That campaign was the work of a white copywriter who is now so tormented by guilt that he seeks help from a therapist who, to his dismay, turns out to be black.

Careers are ruined, wedding plans up-ended and hypocrisy unmasked in this inventive, free-wheeling send-up of race relations in contemporary America. With the vexed question of racism dominating American headlines, Honky throws political correctness out the window and dares to reveal the dark underside of commercialism and privilege. The results are both sobering and hilarious.

'Honky' by Greg Kalleres was performed at San Diego Repertory Theatre under the direction of Sam Woodhouse. It received its World Premiere at Urban Stages Theater in New York in 2013 under the artistic direction of Frances Hill. Watching it, as a white man, I did feel a little out of the loop for the most part, sure, but the overall message came through loud and clear - of which I have no doubt it will for you also. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.