Entering the Greenhouse Theater last night, I was struck by the very obvious lack of pickets outside. Why, you ask, should there be pickets? Because inside there’s a man dressed in women’s clothing and pretending to be a woman—specifically, Lady Bracknell in "The Importance of Being Earnest."
If you think it would be ludicrous to protest such a thing, recall that when the Wooster Group brought "The Emperor Jones" to the Goodman several years ago, picketers showed up outside the theater because a white person was performing in blackface. That person was also a woman portraying a man, but no one cared about that: it was the blackface to which they took offense.
I happened to disagree, regarding that particular use of blackface as a case of deconstructing and attacking a cliche. But in general, my heart is on the picket line, and probably so is yours: performance in blackface is almost universally condemned. The most uncomfortable moment in the 2009 season of "Mad Men" involved a white character’s blacked-up minstrel imitation.