Get Cultured — August 7, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Self-Congratulating “This Gonna Be On The Test, Miss?” at the MITF 2017

by

What a summer it has been! After a hiatus from reviewing, I am back to enjoy and share the love of all things theater.

this-gonna-be-on-the-test-miss

At this point of the summer we are deep in festival season, and with a few weeks left of the season to go, theater is everywhere. More importantly, new theater is everywhere. From the Planet Connections Festival to the Fresh Fruit Festival, New York City is booming with creators of all types and creeds. It is indeed a beautiful time to catch some plays. I did just that when I went to the Midtown International Theater Festival’s presentation of This Gonna Be On The Test, Miss? written and performed by Ronny Levy and directed by Taylor Spice. A solo show about a woman’s journey into accepting herself as an educator and understanding her own value, while going through the usual hoops life gives you.

Levy exposes her own life to us throughout the 45-minute runtime of the show, leaving no rock unturned and giving us a glimpse of what made her the woman she is today. I said a glimpse because that’s really all we get. While I think that what she did with the show was brave, the play seems like a greatest hits of a life instead of a focused work. It deals with her disillusions, relationships, decisions and her work with the students, without really delving deep. Instead, what we get is a summary of that stage of her life. A Sparknotes version of a life full of inside information that was missed by those of us that are strangers. While at the time I found the play funny, most of the time I thought I may have lost the joke because of not being an educator. But then I saw my wife, and she was as lost as I was and she is an educator.

It also relies too much on impressions that are borderline stereotypical (and by borderline, I mean completely outdated and offensive) of her students, which is the only grasp we get about who they are. This may have been funny once upon a time for some people, but in 2017, acting like you are patting your weave as a white woman, while making a caricature African American accent is completely unacceptable and dare I say, lazy. And it is not about being sensitive, is about the lack of creativity involved when you need to rely upon these cliched views to identify the people. And then, to make matters worse, she doesn’t celebrate their success at the end. She celebrates her own success in helping these dumb students. I called them dumb because during the 45 minutes, she made sure we knew most of them weren’t going to make it at least 4 times…. In 45 minutes.

Sadly, I wish the first play being reviewed in almost a month was one I would give a recommendation to. But I can’t. “This Gonna Be On The Test, Miss?” belongs to another time, and it doesn’t add anything to any conversation. Solo shows are a tricky monster, as they are mostly based on people’s lives, they have to attached them to a bigger theme to appeal to those that do not know them. I’m still looking for what this play was attached to.

Out of 4 stars:

1-out-of-4-stars

Twisted Talk: Did you see any MITF shows this year? What’s the latest show you’ve seen in the city? Discuss below!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this:
/body>