by Lee Gabay
“Would I wear them? Would you wear them?” These are the first of many questions asked by an older white executive to a younger black designer in the new play Honky. Honky, written by Greg Kalleres, explores the often-ignored issues of race and identity within the business of sneaker advertising. Kalleres, invites the audience inside a world that most of us have never been, but would imagine to be an accurate depiction of a modern day corporate shoe sales. Kalleres brings his own first hand accounts, as prior to playwriting, he wrote commercials for ESPN, Nike and Jordan Brand.
The play begins inside the whitewashed offices of Sky Shoes after a young, black man from the inner city is killed for his Sky 16’s. The head of advertising views the tragedy as a way to generate a currency of street credibility that will sell more sneakers to suburban white kids.
In this attempt to fiscally capitalize on the murder, Honky, navigates the lives of five seemingly diverse characters, including the Sky 16 slogan writer, his all too honest and sheltered fiancée and his psychiatrist. The Sky 16’s sneaker ties all the characters togetheras they each explore inner and outer ramifications of the sneaker homicide in an often hilarious, over the top, morally challenging, and always thought provoking theatrical experience.
Honky, which is directed by Luke Harlan, is playing until April 15th at the Urban Stages Theatre. Peep the play’s flyer and on-stage images above, and click on the link to the theater’s website to learn more and buy tickets.