Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Diamond stirs the pot by mixing together four characters of varied ethnic backgrounds, all of whom have a certain amount of educational and social privilege. The setting is Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 2007 through Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009; the people are actress Valerie Johnston (Lorene Chesley), psychologist Ginny Yang (Sue Jin Song), doctor Jackson Moore (Jaysen Wright), and neurobiologist Brian White (Gregory Perri).
Brian, a white man, is doing research proving that people of various races (specifically, Caucasians) are intrinsically likely to favor their own race; Ginny, a Harvard faculty member as well as a therapist in private practice, is determined to destroy the stereotypes of women of Asian descent. (Her ancestry is half Chinese and half Japanese, but she's all American.)
Then there's the combative first meeting of Valerie and Jackson, both African Americans, in an emergency room where he's working and she's come for treatment after injuring herself during a rehearsal. He asks if a domestic partner caused her injury; she assumes he's an orderly (he isn't wearing a lab coat) and demands to see a doctor.
These four characters, directed by Seema Sueko, seem at times like chess pieces on Misha Kachman's set of screened panels on metal scaffolding: each in his or her own little box. They may develop friendships or romances, but they can never really look beyond their own realities and connect with each other. The whole set-up is rather schematic and heavy on scientific jargon.