The O’Mallery family is not surprised that Barbara is late to their barbecue in a public park. They’re less surprised that she arrives with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, but that’s also the point. Though each of the O’Mallerys is far from perfect, they’ve decided it’s time to send Barbara to rehab.
Barbara is given to outrageous antics in Robert O’Hara’s comedy/drama “Barbecue,” but nothing else about the work is predictable. The action careens out of control at the barbecue, and in fact there are two O’Mallery families and two Barbaras (played by Natalie Boyd and Mahalia Abeo Tibbs). The play features a black O’Mallery family and a white O’Mallery family, both with the same issues, which spill out gratuitously as the intervention gets heated.
“There isn’t a single teachable moment in it,” says co-director Jon Greene, founder of the Radical Buffoons. O’Hara is not interested in proposing answers to any social questions, Greene says, and “Barbecue” is not built on caricatures as it mines perceptions of race, class, substance abuse and family relations. Greene and Buffoons’ dramaturg Torey Hayward co-direct the work.
At 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 21-April 6, plus Monday March 25 and April 1. Fortress of Lushington, 2215 Burgundy St.; www.radicalbuffoons.com. Tickets $20-$30.