Suzan-Lori Parks’s play seems friendly at first and gradually reveals its radicalism.
THE BRILLIANCE of Suzan-Lori Parks’s eviscerating new play, White Noise, is that underneath the finely crafted apparent realism of its surface, its roots stretch deep away into archetype. Each of its quartet of characters—all, at a glance, progressive, city-dwelling 30- somethings—is at once an individual, nuanced and developed, and (to steal a phrase from Tony Kushner) “a whole kind of person.” They stretch into symbol without losing their specific humanity, giving the play the civic heft and breadth of allegory. As White Noise hurtles toward its conclusion, pressure and terror expertly mounting, the stage world seems to constrict and expand simultaneously. We come down to two men, alone in a bowling alley, and to the country, 327 million people bound by a brutal history of liberty and justice for some, now at a moment of reckoning with a long-covered-over, bone-deep wound.
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April 1, 2019