THE STORY: A disparate group of white Americans—a businessman, his wife, a Hollywood actress, and a young missionary—have all traveled to the same corner of West Africa to “do good in the world”—whatever that means—and find themselves confronting the limits of their humanitarianism when they come into conflict with the realities of local power, politics, and money. Over the course of one long day and night, they find themselves gradually descending from altruists to torturers—voted for democratically, of course.
“…lucidly satirical…THE UNMENTIONABLES is memorable for its incisive comic commentary on Americans who foist themselves on another country to fend off their own fecklessness. [Norris] is a fine crafter of characters, locating their contradictions with polished ease and having them judge each other even more than he judges them.” —Variety. “[An] acidic satire of bourgeois venality and hypocrisy…a chatty comedy that gradually darkens as a disturbing mystery disrupts the friendly arguments over subjects as trivial as the sex habits of believers and as serious as the toxic corruption of postcolonial Africa…THE UNMENTIONABLES poses, in allegory, uncomfortable questions about Americans’ tolerance for brutality when the ethical issue becomes intensely personal, not theoretical.” —NY Times. “Fluid, disturbing, and thoroughly engaging, THE UNMENTIONABLES is a significant step forward for a challenging playwright.” —Chicago Reader. “THE UNMENTIONABLES is an extraordinary inversion of the elements of classic farce, taken to a dark side bordering on horror…Despite moments that are macabre and frightening, the play cannot help being substantially comedic, albeit a serious and darkly sardonic comedy that pulls back only at the last moment from the chasm of complete moral and social chaos.” —Windy City Times.