Wednesday arts pick: “Am I White” by Adrienne Dawes

Ricocheting back and forth in time, seguing into nightmarish scenes played out as a disturbing minstrel show, Adrienne Dawes’ new play “Am I White” tells the story of an imprisoned neo-Nazi convicted of plotting terrorist acts who mdyc-dawes-03ust confront his own mixed-race heritage.

Directed by Jenny Larson, “Am I White” opens Wednesday for a three-week run at Salvage Vanguard Theater.

“Am I White” is based on the true story of Leo Felton, a white supremacist who hid his own mixed-race identity as the child of a short-lived idealistic Civil Rights-era marriage between a black architect and a white former nun.

Dawes sets “Am I White” in a prison where neo-Nazi Wesley Connor awaits trial on terrorism charges. Connor’s dreams reveal his confusion over his biracial heritage. And in a deliberately evocative move, Dawes places some dream sequences within the context of a minstrel show, with its racially charged tradition of white performers in blackface.

‘Am I White’

When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays through Oct. 18

Where: Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 Manor Road

Tickets: $20-$25 (Wednesdays pay-what-you-wish)

Author: Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. She writes about visual art, theater, dance, music, performance, public art, architecture and just about any combination thereof.

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