Review: 'White People' is brutally honest

By TRICIA STILLER

The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre kicked off its 41st season this week with J.T Rogers' powerful, darkly comic exploration of the psyche known as "White People."

As the name implies, this brilliantly written narrative dares to give voice to the disturbing issues of racism that creep into our daily lives, often to our own surprise and dismay.

Presented without intermission, this series of monologues identifies three vastly different Caucasian individuals to whom life has handed unfathomable difficulties and examines the gamut of raw emotion that emerges through their personal struggles.

First we meet a young, idealistic college professor who is nearly consumed with guilt when he realizes he underestimated the worth and intellectual capability of a student who "looked different than him."

Then there is the southern housewife, a former beauty who quit college to marry the man who turned her dreams into a nightmare.

And finally, the blue-blooded New York attorney who moved his family to the Midwest because he thought it would be safer, only to have his life shattered by a policeman's late-night knock at the door.

Under the sensitive direction of Joel Higgins, "White People" is brutally honest — and at times more than a little uncomfortable.

In the capable hands of the three talented ensemble members David Kierski (the teacher), Michael Murphy (the lawyer) and Shawna Smith (the wife), layers — tragic layers of life in the 21st century — are peeled away, exposed and offered, perhaps, as a mirror to the audience. What would you see, if you looked?

Tricia Stiller serves as director for the McLean County Diversity Project's Theatre Program, the Miller Park Summer Theatre Program and the Penguin Project McLean County. She can be contacted at triciastiller@msn.com.

If you go

What: The Celebration Company presents "White People," a play about tragedy, trauma and race in America by J.T. Rogers, directed by Joel Higgins, starring Mike Murphy, David Kierski and Shawna Smith

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 3-6, 9-13 and 16-19

Where: Station Theatre, 223 N. Broadway Ave., U

Tickets: $10 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; $15 on Fridays and Saturdays ($1 discount is available upon request for students with ID and senior citizens older than 61)

Running time: 97 minutes (no intermission)

Information: 384-4000; admin@stationtheatre.com; http://www.stationtheatre.com

Topics (1):Theater

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