Black is the New White 

Reviewed By  Grasshopper2       February 11, 2019


Author  Nakkiah Lui

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781760527341
Publisher:         Allen and Unwin
Release Date:   Febrary 2019  


Nakkiah Lui’s play, BLACK IS THE NEW WHITE has been performed in Sydney, Melbourne and will be in Queensland soon. There have been accolades given to this new young playwright for her sharp wit, her clever insights and her promotion of the huge issues of racial inequality. The author is a Gamillaroi and Torres Strait Islander woman from Mt Druit. She developed a love of reading from her grandmother and wanted to write for a purpose. She found it empowering that people found a value in her voice, and this is shown in her play.

Reading this play is comfortable, as it is well explained and set out. The humour in situations and speech is sometimes subtle and sometimes overt. When the young couple get caught out in the nude by their family at Christmas time, the horror and hilarity are evident. The title of the play suggests that nothing is either black or white, which is especially so at Christmas time with extended families gathering together.

However, this is no lightweight skit. There are many references to politics and past times. Aboriginal affairs are brought to the fore, with questions asked about a recent law passed, which will disadvantage Aboriginal people more.

The first character we meet is Charlotte, an Aboriginal woman who has become a lawyer with a brilliant career ahead of her. She has fallen in love with a white man, Francis, who is a modern composer of music, without a job. Her sister feels that it is the duty of the sisters to maintain their race and marry a man from their culture. Rose, Charlotte’s sister, is avoiding pregnancy for as long as she can. The girls’ parents are horrified when they find out that Francis’s parents are coming for Christmas Day. They are on opposite sides of politics with many a harsh word between them.

The dialogue and fast repartee are witty, as the two adversaries lock horns around the table. Many issues are raised, and some solutions are posed. For a while, everyone is involved in the melee, but then some step back and thoughtfully put forward suggestions. This is an educational, funny and insightful play to read. Hopefully, we look forward to more humorous, thought-provoking writings from this young author.

This idea for the play came about when Nakkiah was reading the Census and found that the Aboriginal community has the highest percentage of interracial marriages. It is indeed thought provoking.