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This Greenville Journal article by Paul Hyde was originally published on June 8th, 2022.  (Photo:  Will Crooks)


The patriarch of a wealthy family has passed away, and the estranged relatives gather at his crumbling Arkansas homestead to divide the estate.A chance discovery in the attic, however, reveals some long-buried secrets, and soon the house is in an uproar. Accusations, recriminations and heated denials create havoc and uproarious conflict.

To divulge more about the plot of “Appropriate” would give too much away, but suffice it to say that the revelations have everything to do with America’s original sin, its legacy of slavery.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ critically acclaimed dark comedy, which premiered in 2013, has been staged off Broadway and throughout the country in regional theaters, and now it’s coming to the Warehouse Theatre, June 10-26.

The eight-character play spotlights how the past continues to haunt our present.

‘Powerful experience’

“It’s going to be a powerful experience,” said Jay Briggs, director of the Warehouse production. “The best way to describe the play is ruthlessly funny. The dialogue is fast, witty and sharp.

“I think it’s a classic Warehouse Theatre play,” he added. “It’s fun to watch and has something important to say. You’re going to leave having laughed, cried and engaged in self-introspection.”

In the play, the patriarch’s three adult children sort through a lifetime of hoarded memories and junk, colliding over clutter, debt and a contentious family history.

The house itself, with its skeletons in the closet, or rather the attic, can be seen as a symbol of the country, Briggs said.

“The playwright is saying you can’t escape the ghosts of the past. You have to deal with them,” said Briggs, who also serves as director of education and community engagement at the Warehouse and who is a frequent stage director at the theatre.

“In a place like Greenville that considers itself part of the New South, I think it’s especially important for us to confront the legacy of what it means to be Southern,” he said.

Essential theatre

“Appropriate” was first cast in 2019 and scheduled as the closing show of 2020; then the pandemic hit.

“This is one of those plays that is becoming essential to the American theatre,” Briggs said, “and we’re glad it’s finally coming to fruition here at the Warehouse Theatre.”

Paul Hyde, a longtime Upstate journalist and teacher of English, writes about the arts for the Greenville Journal.