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The Colored Museum

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  370 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
The Colored Museum has electrified, discomforted, and delighted audiences of all colors, redefining our ideas of what it means to be black in contemporary America. Its eleven "exhibits" undermine black stereotypes old and new, and return to the facts of what being black means. " Mr. Wolfe is the kind of satirist who takes no prisoners. The shackles of the past have been de ...more
Paperback, 62 pages
Published January 12th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1987)
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Aug 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Overall, this play is quite good. I enjoyed all the metaphors in the play. A few of the parts in the play were a little confusing, but I have a feeling that the more I let them sit and think about it, the more I will understand them. New ideas will most likely come as I am able to think about the play. These are good things.

Reading the play, though, it seems like mounting the play would be a legal nightmare because of all the songs used in it! The songs are used - they are no parodies, so that w
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Colored Museum is a series of scenes that depict different characters in each scene as if it were an exhibit to demonstrate what it means to be African American in the United States from slavery until the 1980’s. George C. Wolfe takes the functions of literature to add depth to particular stories in the past giving the reader a new perspective to understanding history.
What a fantastic play! It was hysterical, but it also brought to mind some very important issues in African-American history and theatre, as well as American theatre in itself.
Jul 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Black satire at its best. Genius!
Cam Le
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Unlike traditional linear narrative, Colored Museum takes us from one exhibit to another, with each stands for different timeline in history. My favorite is Git on Board, narrated by Miss Pat, a witty character who has the manner of an ordinary flight attendant yet the language of the most poisonous snake. This scene IS unexpectedly intense, but I think beside making us feel absurd and unease, he also makes us aware of how realistic Miss Pat’s attitude is compare to society perspective toward hi ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
It was a cute little read. At first it's a bit unclear but once you get into the style it becomes more enjoyable. You may like a few of them and you may dislike a few of them. But its only 45 pages so it is worth the read.
Carrie Callaway
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this play. The isolationist tactics that Wolfe uses throughout, especially the throttling satire, wrench readers out of their comfort zone and into the issues present in each exhibit.
Li Sian
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, no-holds barred satire of racism and race relations in America. Wolfe's work is challenging, heartbreaking, and very funny.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Totally sharp, biting, and tight. This script is sadly as relevant today as it was when it was first performed. The variety of settings and characters adds a lot of depth and nuance to the show, but they are all tied together, and they present a complex, contradictory, and challenging look at black identity.
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: screen-or-plays
Provocative, exciting, hilarious...had me thinking how I'd stage it as I read it because it grabbed my imagination and had it running away the whole time I was reading. I was also struck by the Miss Roj section, as it features a black drag queen, reading and snapping away in an evocation of the east coast drag scene, a la "Paris is Burning."
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays-musicals
Never did I think I'd enjoy reading a play. I just never liked the format; I preferred traditional novels because they were fleshy and more detailed, but The Colored Museum uses the play format so well. It's a phenomenal story around race and it's so clever.
Jeffrey W.
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely recommended to fans of Ishmael Reed's work.
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction, plays
Oh memories...of my favorite BTE play.
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. This play was so daring and it's surprising to see how necessary it still is.
Feb 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Clever and smart humor. This play captures blackness on display and under restraint. "It's not everyday a bunch of babies break outta a white egg and start to live."
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This addressed some pivotal issue in the Black community specifically, and America as a whole in relation to black culture. One of my favorites from my African American theatre class.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
The scenes in The Colored Museum illuminate the continuing issues found in social identities like race. I enjoyed it so much and hope one day to see the play!
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Robert-anthony Artlet
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING a must read play :)
Rachel Linn
Apr 10, 2014 added it
Shelves: theatre
"Before exiting, check the overhead as any baggage you don't claim, we trash." What a genius last line.
Trina McKinzie Manor
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Jul 20, 2013
Lorah LS
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Jul 19, 2007
Carol Copper
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Oct 22, 2015
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Sep 17, 2017
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May 20, 2014
Lori Abbatepaolo
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Dec 25, 2016
Kylah Williams
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Dec 27, 2014
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“c. “So, hunny, don’t waste your time trying to label or define me…’cause I’m not what I was ten years ago or ten minutes ago. I’m all of that and then some. And whereas I can’t live inside yesterday’s pain, I can’t live without it.” 3 likes
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