A production is not confined to the confines of its stage.
And when dealing with a satire like Ain’t No Mo’ — a genre that blurs reality by emphasizing the absurdism in our everyday — it shouldn’t be a surprise if the bounds of its satirization stretch beyond the corporeal limits of the play.
Case in point:
When I walked into the Belasco, the security guard checking my bag was wearing…a Blue Lives Matter hat.
The fact that theaters even need such violence precautions resonates with Ain’t No Mo’s warped perspective on the absurdity in our everyday, but forcing the audience to pass through metal detectors wasn’t designed as explicit satire by the production (it’s the new normal on Broadway, and beyond).
But when I spotted that Thin Blue Line cap, I couldn’t figure out if it was a deliberately satirical costume planted here by the production…or if it’s just proof-positive that the play’s satire lands BECAUSE it’s so true. I mean, the guy was standing in front of a raised fist, courtesy of a poster for the show hanging on an exterior wall of the theater!
Such front-of-house design — which may or may not include the chapeau — is a form of marketing that doubles as the earliest physical objects a production presents to audiences, acting almost like a primer for the engagement to come.
Whether artistically intentional or accidentally fitting, this whole situation reminded me that art should inspire thoughtful audiences to notice the observably-interpretable material all around us, be they props or not.