Home #Hwoodtimes The Niceties at the Geffen Playhouse

The Niceties at the Geffen Playhouse

Lisa Banes as Janine and Jordan Boatman as Zoe in The Niceties. Geffen Playhouse West Coast premiere April 9 – May 12, 2019. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.

Written by Eleanor Burgess
Directed by Kimberly Senior
Featuring Lisa Banes the Drama Desk Award winning actress expresses the maturity and talent we expect of consummate actor.

By Judith Oehman


Westwood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/10/19 – Jordan Boatman a 22-year-old who is really lucky and really talented —  In her first job out of college, she snagged a lead role in one of the most engaging, thoughtful and well-executed issue plays of the year. She is deserving of the honor.

Let us enter an elite East Coast university, where an esteemed professor is meeting with capable, bright student.  The two women are both part of the 10 % one gay the other black, one older who has fought for the right to be in class, to be heard, the other young longing for respect, acknowledgement and to be seen.


They have meet to discuss a paper the college junior is writing about the American Revolution. They’re both liberal. They’re both women. They’re both brilliant. But very quickly, discussions of grammar and Google turn to race and reputation, and before they know it, they’re in dangerous territory neither of them had foreseen – and facing stunning implications that can’t be undone.

Written with powerful truth and humor this provocative work is by Eleanor Burgess, about two extraordinary women square off in a high-stakes academic debate over race, reputation and who gets the final word on how American history is written. this deeply resonant work is directed by Kimberly Senior (Disgraced). The Washington Post hails it as “a barn-burner of a play,” adding that it’s “one of the best plays I’ve seen about who gets to tell the story of America, and how.” 

“In truth, there are few areas of American life that 
The Niceties doesn’t speak to right now.” —Los Angeles Times
When university professor Janine and her brilliant student Zoe don’t see eye to eye, their routine office hours discussion unexpectedly get heated and threatens to derail their careers, lives and the status quo.

In this explosive story, a black student and a white A polite conversation becomes a powder keg of race, history, and power, and you will not be the same after seeing it.


Challenge yourself, if you like, or just enjoy two wonderful actors, one seasoned and the other in her first major role volley.

Your view of history will change, perhaps your view of yourself and your place in future history of the races. I was dazzled, my mind was cracked opened, a long overdue debate about white history.


Go to this wonderful local theater.