I saw "Neighbors" on public TV, summer 1972, and it packed a punch !
I agree with the comment already posted. Besides being similar to "All In The Family", it was also like an inter-racial "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?", also involving two couples, one couple the "guest" of the other, the difference being, the illusions being stripped away (the "game playing") have to do chiefly with racial identity instead of family life. I thought particularly eloquent the black man's cathartic, confessional statement that, while still working in the fields and illiterate, before confessing that his wife, Vikki, taught him to read, he was merely "one jackass behind another". Vikki seems dismayed to the bottom of her soul that her husband has to go through this painful, too-revealing process of self-revelation, yet again, and Cicely Tyson, in playing her, shows this very well.
I find it interesting that the music that the black man dances to, and tries to get his wife, and the white couple, to dance to, as well, is Otis Redding's version of "Satisfaction", a black man's rendition of a blues rock standard composed and popularized by white men (The Rolling Stones)in emulation of black American music. This, rather than music both composed and performed by blacks. It underscores the theme of black-white relations, borrowing, theft, identity, hinting at white men equating being cool with acting black.
I was pleased to find a reference to "Neighbors" on the IMDb, because it was a play I saw only once or twice more than thirty years ago, yet it made such an impression on me. I found myself using the black man's phrase, "I got me one hunk of woman !" for several years afterward when I wanted to come off as tough, cool and macho. I was also pleased to read on IMDb that "Neighbors" was directed by Fielder Cook, who did such a great job directing the ground-breaking Rod Serling teleplay, "Patterns", in 1955.
Speaking of television in the 1950's, I find the presence of Jane Wyatt in "Neighbors" to be welcome, as she had starred alongside Robert Young in one of the classic, iconic "serene and silly" TV family sitcoms of all time, "Father Knows Best".
I thank IMDb for this opportunity to comment on a play I saw so long ago, yet which made such a great impression on me. My thanks to Arkady Leokum, the cast of "Neighbors", and WNET Channel 13, as well.
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