What follows is Charles Isherwood’s January 13, 2009 New York Times review of The Shipment by Young Jean Lee. Additional dates for the play are January 14-17, 21-24 (Wednesday–Saturday), 8PM, at the Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, Chelsea; (212) 255-5793, Ext. 11, or ticketweb.com :
Off-Center Refractions of African-American Worlds
Cultural images of black America are tweaked, pulled and twisted like Silly Putty in “The Shipment,” a subversive, seriously funny new theater piece by the adventurous playwright Young Jean Lee at the Kitchen.
Ms. Lee, who is Korean-American, consciously set herself the uncomfortable task of creating what she calls a “black identity-politics show,” having explored and lampooned the culture of Christian churches and Asian-Americans in her previous works “Church” and “Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven.” (Clearly she likes a challenge.) Combing through the images of African-Americans that dominate the media, Ms. Lee wields sharp, offbeat humor to point up the clichés, distortions and absurdities, turning the wearily familiar — a foul-mouthed stand-up comic, a drug dealer, a would-be rapper — into loopy, arch cartoons . . .
(Work by Young Jean Lee is included in the Applause books One on One: The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century and the upcoming Duo!: The Best Monologues for Two for the 21st Century.)