In 2006, two Yale drama students, Evan Joiner and Kobi Libii, conducted oral interviews about race and identity with 125 Midwesterners. The result is Boiling Pot, a 90-minute, Anna Deavere Smith-style documentary collage of interwoven monologues from nine characters that reveals the myriad confusions and even more startling certainties about race in America.
Joiner's carefully crafted acting portraits of a racist white retired salesman, confused white 16-year-old, murderously angry Iranian-American college student, and several others are unfortunately overshadowed by the versatile Libii, a powerhouse talent who loses himself completely in his characters — changing posture, body language, facial structure, vocal tone, accent, and speech rhythms. His black engineer-writer harassed by racist police and status-obsessed black college student, part of the in white crowd, are standouts.
Despite Joiner's occasional projection problems, this searing exposé of our boiling melting pot, compellingly directed by Milton Justice on a bare stage with two stools, is definitely worth seeing.
Presented by Where Productions as part of the New York International Fringe Festival
at the Studio @ Cherry Lane, 38 Commerce St., NYC.
Aug. 10-25. Remaining performances: Wed., Aug. 15, 9 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 17, 5:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 25, 2:30 p.m.
(212) 279-4488 or (888) 374-6436 or www.fringenyc.org.