“A theatrical romp through America’s racist minefields.”
A 3-Legged Dog Production | Creative Capital Award | Multi Arts Found
Conceived and Written by James Scruggs
Directed by Tamilla Woodard & Kareem Fahmy
Premiered May 2017/ 3LD Art &Technology Center, NYC
3/Fifths, a satire, is a comprehensive theatrical exploration of root causes and continued violence perpetrated against men of color, and America’s fascination with the virtual weaponization of black skin. 3/Fifths create a truly immersive environment using large scale video, performance, and music to trace the brutality from America’s original sin (Slavery), to the latest unarmed black man killed due to a heavily armed policeman fearing for their lives. Trauma of hundreds of years of racist carnage has been passed down to direct descendents of those enslaved. Measurable biological traumas of past atrocities are literally ‘cursing’ through the blood of living African Americans. All too often, the mere proximity of a black man can incite enough fear in an officer of the law that judgment gets skewed and charges toward violent, deadly outcomes.
Inside of the entire facility of 3LD Art & Technology’s 10,000sq foot space, we will create SupremacyLand, a dystopian ethno-theme park devoted to the preservation and celebration of white privilege and supremacy. SupremacyLand consists of The Private Prison, The Atrocity Carnival, and The Cabaret. Representing The Private Prison, a life size 6’ x 9’ prison cell will be built and visible through the street level floor to ceiling windows. The space will be inhabited by a durational artist “performing incarceration”
Inspired by Mr. Scrugg's 2005 multimedia solo show "Disposable Men" about the treatment of black men in America, the enormously ambitious "3/Fifths" means to connect the dots of racism in United States history with the huge numbers of black men behind bars today.
Visually and conceptually, "3/Fifths" is extraordinary . . . this relentlessly provocative, intricately imagined satire does offer plenty to shock and horrify, and at least as much to make you think.
Half immersive spectacle, half cabaret, this satire is a provocative and unnerving exploration of American racism. Full Review
Laura Colins-Hughes The New York Times
You're asked to choose your racial designation at the door to James Scruggs's incendiary interactive carnival performance, and that's just the beginning of "3/Fifths' " funhouse mirror reflection of American racism. Depending on whether you choose to be "black" or "white" (designated by a mark on your forehead), you'll have a radically different experience at SupremacyLand, lies in the way Scruggs's, along with directors Tamilla Woodard and Kareem Fahmy, co-opt the conventions of immersive theater to deliver a powerful message. The show offers what may be one of the most uncomfortable experiences you'll ever have to a theater - and that's entirely the point.
Upon entering "SupremacyLand", you are immediately confronted with a black woman, seated and blind (Catherine Braxton). She asks you, "Black or white" and the two entrances to the space, labeled "White" and "Colored", stand ominously behind. "White" I answered, sheepishly. I take a moment to process that I'm not sure I've ever publicly declared my whiteness save for on a census form. My whiteness is assumed.
3/Fifths is meticulously researched and crafted by the directing and dramaturgy team of Tamilla Woodard and Kareem Fahmy from the brave mind of James Scruggs, writer and creator. And the trademark technology of 3LD is on full display here, using tons of projectors, choreographed with ease.Full Review
Jenna Scherer - Time Out
Scruggs's look at the way subservience is enforced -- partly by the oppressed themselves, brainwashed into acceptance -- is disquieting to say the least. Full Review
The New Yorker
Audiences should ready themselves for a provocative participatory experience with 3/Fifths, written and conceived by the African-American theater artist James Scruggs . . . Eye opening from moment to moment, the production is an act of great daring and discomfort.
BOTTOM LINE: step right up to impactful, intentionally nauseating, and gut-punching realness of James Scruggs's 3/Fifths. 3/Fifths is meticulously researched and crafted by the directing and dramaturgy team of Tamilla Woodard and Kareem Fahmy from the brave mind of James Scruggs, writer and creator.
The Village Voice
After a simulation of what it must've felt like to travel in a slave ship, we are guided to a room full of light. I feel like my soul has left my body. Full Review