Review Roundup: Diane Paulus Directed THE WHITE CARD at A.R.T

Review Roundup: Diane Paulus Directed THE WHITE CARD at A.R.TThe White Card plays now through April 1, 2018 at Emerson's Paramount Center's Robert J. Orchard Stage. Tickets now on sale by phone at 617.824.8400, in person at the Paramount Center Box Office (559 Washington Street, Boston), and online at at

In The White Card, a conversation at a dinner party thrown by Virginia and Charles, an influential Manhattan couple, for up-and-coming artist Charlotte raises questions about what-and who-is actually on display. Claudia Rankine's 2014 New York Times best-selling Citizen: An American Lyric unpacked the insidious ways in which racism manifests itself in everyday situations. Now, this world-premiere play poses the question, "Can American society progress if whiteness stays invisible?"

The cast includes Karen Pittman (Broadway's Good People and Passing Strange) as Charlotte, Daniel Gerroll (Broadway's Enchanted April and Shadowlands at Off-Broadway's Acorn Theater) as Charles, Patricia Kalember (Broadway's Don't Dress for Dinner and Losing Louie) as Virginia, Jim Poulos (Broadway's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and RENT) as Eric, and Colton Ryan (Dear Evan Hansen) as Alex.

The White Card is directed by the A.R.T.'s Terri and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus. The creative team includes dramaturgy by Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow P. Carl; scenic design by Riccardo Hernandez (Arrabal and Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education at A.R.T.); costume design by ESosa (O.P.C. and Father Comes Home from the War (Parts 1, 2 & 3) at A.R.T.); lighting design by Stephen Strawbridge (Richard II at A.R.T.); sound design by Will Pickens (M. Butterfly on Broadway); and projection design by Peter Nigrini (Arrabal and Witness Uganda at A.R.T.).

Let's see what the critics have to say!

Jeremy D. Goodwin, This is a play about the extent to which well-intentioned white people just don't get it. The sin that everyone but Charlotte keeps repeating is that they never listen. They hear Charlotte speak the truth of her experience and then they disagree with it. They mouth the right buzzwords but can't examine their own privilege because they just can't see it.

Nancy Grossman, BroadwayWorld: Kalember successfully navigates the high wire act that is assigned her character, part charming hostess, part insecure and brittle spouse, and frequently clueless person of privilege. Perhaps because of parental guilt, Virginia is an easy mark for Alex's barbs and much more susceptible to his affronts than is his father. Ryan inhabits the young man's passionate, rebellious personality, conveying an attitude that he must perform penance for the acts of his family. When his attacks escalate, Eric attempts to shut him down. However, Poulos shows that Eric is primarily an intellectual man of taste and out of his element when the family's volatility erupts.

Clinton Campbell, Edge Media Network: Ms. Paulus' direction is delightfully invisible. Partially, this is due to the absolutely impeccable performances of the cast: Karen Pittman as Charlotte, Patricia Kalember and Daniel Gerroll as Charles and Virginia, Jim Poulos as Eric, and Colton Ryan as Alex.

Don Aucoin, Boston Globe: A problem throughout "The White Card' is the thinness of Rankine's characterizations of Charles, Virginia, and Eric. For most of the play, they come across as clueless one percenters, which might let white audiences off the hook, allowing them to think: "Well, those upper-class twits are not me.'

Photos: Gretjen Helene Photography

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