Monday, March 4, 2024

Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad : UNRATED

Ashley Smiley has grabbed on to a terrific metaphor: the Tesla, symbol of white entitlement, which the owners don’t even bother to wash, giving those who cannot afford the basics of a decent life, let alone a luxury car, to feel even more abandoned and left behind.

Her new play, directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges, is having its premiere at the Magic Theater. It shows promise. Tanika Baptiste plays the mom who is being evicted from her San Francisco home, for unexplained causes that seem to have to do with gentrification. She and her daughter Naima have three days to move everything they own across the bay to Oakland, but Naima isn’t having it. She gets involved in a shadowy plot with her uncle (Juan Manuel Amador) to…well, maybe it’s to steal Teslas or maybe it’s to link them together in some sort of revolutionary statement. Or maybe it’s just to get high. 

No getting around it, a first play is a first play. We aren’t really sure what was at stake here. One of our problems may have been that the dialogue is young, black slang and we are neither. The show definitely needs an ending: we have read the script and see how the story is supposed to end, but very little of that was evident on stage on Opening Night.  “Dirty White Teslas” is still a crackerjack idea that needs to have a story coalesce around it.


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division has chosen not to rate “Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad.” This is a first show from a playwright who shows promise. One word of caution: there are no reserved seats. We suggest arriving early to sit in the middle section. Our seats were on the side and much of the show was inaudible.

“Dirty White teslas Make Me Sad”

The Magic Theatre

Fort Mason, Building D

Through March 17, 2024


No comments: