Three actors perform monologues that examine racism in J.T. Rogers”™ White People, presented by the Road Theatre Company in NoHo and currently playing in repertory with Madagascar, also written by J.T. Rogers.
White People offers an insight into the lives and expressed thoughts of three ordinary (Caucasian) Americans. Martin, played by Tom Knickerbocker, is a high powered attorney; Mara Lynn, played by Avery Clyde, is a housewife and former homecoming queen; and Alan, played by Mark Doerr, is a young professor struggling to find his way in New York City. Through heart-wrenching confessions that revolve around the subject of race, they each wrestle with guilt, prejudice and the price they and their children must pay for their actions. Sharing a similar intent to the controversial and award-winning movie Crash (2004), White People is a candid, brutally honest meditation on race and language in our culture.
But unlike Paul Haggis”™ Crash, which features several stories that interweave over two days in Los Angeles and involve a collection of inter-related characters, J.T. Rogers”™ White People – which admittedly was written several years earlier, and first staged in 2000 – feels like three monologues that are utterly disconnected from each other, related only in their common theme. So while the monologues are inter-cut with each other, each exists independently. None of the characters interact, nor is there any culmination or payoff at the end.
At times it feels as if the three unconnected characters are explaining or justifying their values, beliefs and prejudices to an unseen tribunal. Above all, their tirades reveal deep insecurities and expose the gulf between these characters and their peers or children.
While the performances are all good, and the writing is edgy, emotional and thought provoking, the best thing about this production is the subtle and evocative sound design by David B. Marling which beautifully underpins the often heart-wrenching text in an increasingly interesting fashion.
White People is not a play; it is merely staged storytelling.
The Road Theatre Company
5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood CA 91601
Runs until Saturday, July 10th, 2010, in repertory with Madagascar.
Performances are at 8.00pm
The two plays will run in rotating repertory.
Check online for a complete performance schedule
Box Office: (866) 811-4111
Check their website for **Pay-What-You-Can Nights**
The Road Theatre Company, located two blocks south of Magnolia Bl. in the historic Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Bl. in the heart of North Hollywood”™s NoHo Arts District.
For further information, call 866.811.4111 or log on here.
ABOUT THE ROAD THEATRE
Founded by Taylor Gilbert in 1991, The Road Theatre Company has amassed more than 130 regional theater awards and is helmed by Artistic Directors Taylor Gilbert and Sam Anderson, and Corporate Board President, Ian Bryce. Celebrated for its commitment to the most meaningful and dangerous of theater missions- New Work for the Stage, The Road Theatre Company also remains committed to community service and is the resident company in charge of the Historic Lankershim Arts Center and its programming. Please visit RoadTheare.org and LankershimArtsCenter.com
Review by Pauline Adamek