The Submission

“The Submission”: shockingly candid, surprisingly forgiving

Defunkt Theatre tells an inflammatory story with (some) sympathy for all sides.

In Defunkt Theatre’s production of “The Submission,” we start off rooting for Danny (Matthew Kern), the playwright-within-a-play. He’s written a script that he believes deserves to be read, picked, and produced by the theater powers that be—and it’s a long shot. But his friend Trevor (Matthew Dieckman) and his boyfriend Pete (Bjorn Anderson) vouch that his script—a story of a black family struggling to get out of the projects—is surprisingly legit, even brilliant and profound. Danny has apparently used a black poverty vernacular to reveal universal truth…but as a white gay man, he starts to worry that he can’t get away with that.

To save his script from the dreaded slush pile, Danny Larson replaces his name with a fake, “black sounding” woman’s name, Shalia Ganatamobe, reasoning that in this context, any black woman’s chances would be better than his own—and that’s…not…fair?

When his submission gets accepted under the new name, he sees that as proof of his presumptions, and he decides to prolong his con. He enlists black actress Emilie (Andrea White) to help him—just til the play can achieve the success he’s certain it deserves. But as Emilie enters his social circle and starts voicing opinions of her OWN, Danny’s possessiveness and prejudice rears its ugly head on many fronts. Gradually the young, idealistic, self-described “very gay” artist reveals his resentment of the theater scene’s informal affirmative action push, reframing reparation as minority privilege and bemoaning the white man’s supposed disadvantage.


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