Fairview Summary – Spoilers Below
Beverly is frantic. It is the final hours of preparing for a birthday celebration dinner honoring her mother—lovingly referred to as “Mama”—the matriarch of the Frasier family and there is still much to be done. Beverly’s husband, Dayton, is barely any help as he teases Beverly’s attempts at perfection and every now and then offers a helping hand. Despite some minor setbacks, such as glitches in the music, the evening seems to be going as planned. Beverly’s younger sister, Jasmine, arrives with a bottle of rosé and begins to playfully criticize and spar with Beverly in a sisterly way.
While Beverly continues to prep, Keisha—Beverly and Dayton’s teenage daughter—returns home from soccer practice. Keisha is bewildered by the unprofessionalism of some slackers on the team, and mentions that she and her BFF, Erika, are super over it. Keisha then confides in Jasmine, asking her to broach the topic of taking a gap year before college with Beverly. Jasmine reluctantly agrees and attempts to do so after Keisha runs upstairs to take a shower. Beverly is not willing to entertain the conversation, stating that Keisha will go to college, and on the proper timeline. Jasmine brings a glass of wine upstairs to Mama.
Beverly receives a call from her brother, Tyrone, whose flight has been delayed. Adding to Beverly’s dismay, Jasmine relays that Mama has locked herself in the upstairs bathroom. Jasmine compares their lives to a “family drama,” something like a made-for-TV-movie. Jasmine continues to pester Beverly, this time turning to the topic of Dayton, who Jasmine claims doesn’t love Beverly right. Jasmine wonders if Dayton might be sick, which Beverly denies. Keisha rejoins the family with her “I’m clean and I’m starving,” dance ritual, which reminds the others of Mama’s special dances, that the whole family eventually proceeds to reenact.
Keisha breaks the dance party by addressing the audience directly. She explains that she loves her family and is excited for the future, but that she feels as though something is stopping her from being all she can be. Dayton interrupts the moment by announcing that Keisha has a phone call from her “friend,” Erika. Beverly is annoyed and insists that Erika cannot come over for dinner on a night like this. Keisha checks on the birthday cake and tells the group that she thinks it has burnt. Beverly is sent into a panic and faints. End of Act One.
Act Two is a visual replication of Act One with an added layer of audio commentary from unseen characters. Jimbo, Suze, Mack, and Bets, a group of white friends, appear to be watching and reacting to the events within the Frasier household in real time, along with the audience. They reference things said and done by Beverly and the rest of her family throughout. The group discusses Jimbo’s question, “If you could choose to be any race, what race would you be?” Suze struggles with the question, allowing for answers from the others first. Jimbo would be Asian, but “different”—he would be loud and obnoxious and take his parents to therapy. Mack would be Latinx, to match something “sexy,” and “fiery,” within himself that he has never been able to fully express. Bets states that she finds questions about race to be terribly boring because “America thinks of race and only race.” When pushed to answer, she says she would like to be Slav, which inspires questioning on what actually qualifies “race.” Mack and Bets admire and fetishize black women in particular. Suze memorializes the nanny who took care of her as a child, stating that she would be black, because the truest, most maternal love she has ever experienced, was given to her from a black woman. Jimbo argues that “everything is racist now, which means nothing is racist now.” He also claims that to be an authentic black person, one must be poor. He continues to pontificate on victimhood and villainy, and posits himself as the hyper-self-aware villain in a movie of his own making. The commentary from the white spectators catches up to where Act One ended. Beverly has been revived and she sits with Keisha, Jasmine, and Dayton, ready to begin the celebratory meal.
Act Three begins as Beverly calls for Mama to join the table. The voices from the Act Two physicalize and become the “unseen” characters mentioned in Act One. Suze, impersonating Mama, makes a grand entrance. Suze is overjoyed to join the family in this role. The meal begins and Keisha is the only one who seems to notice that “something is wrong.” Jimbo then makes a grand entrance as his own, impersonating Tyrone. He encourages everyone, save Keisha, to dance around the table to Barry White. Next, Mack enters “choreographed within an inch of all of our lives,” impersonating Erika. Suze is disappointed in how overt Jimbo and Mack’s performances are, and claims that they are “ruining it.” Mack-as-Erika presents Keisha with a bag, containing something for a project from school. Jimbo-as-Tyrone forces Keisha to open the bag, revealing a positive pregnancy test. Keisha is shocked and cannot explain the test. Bets has appeared as an even grander, more dramatic version of Mama, completely overshadowing Suze. Jimbo reveals unpaid bills and points to Dayton as having a gambling problem. Suze claims that the financial troubles aren’t a result of Dayton’s gambling, but of Beverly’s drug habit. Mack confirms Jasmine’s suspicions about Dayton, reaching the conclusion that he’s sick with syphilis. The Fraiser family members are shocked by these accusations and continuously deny their legitimacy. Jimbo initiates a gigantic food fight after accusing Dayton of “cheating on his sister.”
Keisha steps away from the chaos to address the audience directly once more. Suze-as-Mama attempts to follow her and have a heart-to-heart conversation. Keisha wonders if all the folks who call themselves white could come onstage and “switch,” with the Frasiers for a little while. She asks the audience if it would be possible to let all of the beautiful people of color sit in the audience and watch the white folks to experience what that feels like. She asks the white audience members to come onstage, if they’re physically able, to make space for something else. She is encouraging of this action, noting that the white stage manager is coming onto the stage and that the play will be over soon. Keisha is finally able to articulate the essence of a story she’s been wanting to tell throughout the play.