Black Musical Theatre

“Breaking the Mold: A Personal Reflection on A Strange Loop” “Unlocking the Power of Simplicity: A Personal Journey Towards Clear and Concise Writing”

ATTEND IN PERSON a performance of A STRANGE LOOP and write a 4 page personal response OPINION based paper!
Please include the names of the composer/lyricists/writing team/creative team.  Please include the themes that are presented in the musical as well as critical response to those themes.  Was there anything presented in this musical that you had heard previously in class?  If so what- explain. Please feel free to write about your experience.. which can include but not limited to… What was the set like, the lights, the sound scape– how did it effect or distract from the story telling?  Did you enjoy the performances? If so, what stood out for you.  The 4th page of your paper should include a selfie of you IN THE THEATER/Picture of the playbill program.
*I know it’s a personal response paper that needs to go to this show, but as a non-native speaker all I can do is outline every point that I need help writing into the text, below are my scattered ideas, feel free to add anything on top, thank you*
The plot: Usher, a fat, black, queer play writer writing a musical about a black, queer, fat writer and so forth, meanwhile consistently battling the 6 thoughts within him and the pressures from his family and society
—The idea and structure unlike any usual musicals, deconstructing musical theater and break down certain conflicting contradictions between stereotypical black culture and queer culture, cover topics including race, gender, equality, self-esteem and so much more, in a way that I never expected before
Stage setups: The two rows of giant box-shaped stage setups represent Usher’s brain: very simple but practical & so creative; Usher’s 6 thoughts played by 6 different actors each has their own characteristics
Things that are presented in the musical we discussed in class: 
Tyler Perry: Iconic black musical theater writer, but his gospel concept in this show became a representation of the traditional black musical formula which represents the mainstream society’s expectation on Usher, a pain in Usher’s ass
Chitlin’ Circuit: Once a major force in the development of black musical theater but now becoming a meme, which is interesting
Jokes about The Color Purple quote: symbolic and interesting
Scenes that leaves me deep impressions:
Sex scenes (Usher’s encounter with a handsome black stranger, and his bumpy one night stand with the guy in Confederate flag briefs, with the bold sex dance choreography in the background): extremely outta pocket & uncensored expression, yet does not feel sexual to the audience, instead in a unique way it showed the internal fear and disgust that Usher had for himself, stemming from the body shaming and hate he gets from society and other gay men who won’t sleep with him
Usher’s conflict with his Christian family (Parents’ lack understanding of his queer orientation, and expect him to write a traditional Tyler Perry gospel show) Very relatable and deeply resonates with me coming from an East Asian family of origin; the conflicting between pursuing self-worth and “be loyal” to cultural heritage, fulfilling family’s expectations; Also made me realize even more how much Black and Asian culture are alike when it comes to certain things like our values and education
The climax when the box stage set removed to reveal the giant cross and entire bands: Visually astonishing, everyone singing “AIDS is God’s punishment” as a gospel song, it’s a playful (and probably religiously offensive) expression and also rebellious against patriarchy and tradition, until the end Usher’s reconciliation with himself
Conclusion: A Strange Loop serves both as a window and a mirror for me: As someone who grew up in a traditional Asian family, me and Usher came from very different backgrounds but with the same struggle on cultural and self-value issues, my Chinese queer friend from back home went through pretty much the same thing; We need to find balance 
PS: Non-native speakers, don’t use language expressions that are too complicated, please! And write more from a first-person subjective point of view, not like a research paper. Thank you so much.