Karen Pittman stars in the world premiere of Claudia Rankine's "The White Card."

Credit: Gretjen Helene Photography, courtesy of the American Repertory Theater and ArtsEmerson

Arts This Week: 'The White Card,' 'Every Brilliant Thing,' 'Skeleton Crew'

March 8, 2018

It's a Boston theater recap this week as Jared Bowen reviews the world premiere of "The White Card" at the Emerson Paramount Center, SpeakEasy Stage Company's production "Every Brilliant Thing," and the Huntington Theatre Company's production of "Skeleton Crew."

"The White Card," presented by the American Repertory Theater and ArtsEmerson at the Emerson Paramount Center through April 1

(Left to right) Daniel Gerroll, Patricia Kalember and Karen Pittman in the world premiere of Claudia Rankine's "The White Card."
Photo Credit: Gretjen Helene Photography, courtesy of the American Repertory Theater and ArtsEmerson

The New York Times best-selling author Claudia Rankine is premiering a new play at the Emerson Paramount Center. In "The White Card," a dinner party for up-and-coming artist Charlotte turns into a discussion of what, or who, is on display. Presented by the American Repertory Theater in conjunction with ArtsEmerson, "The White Card" presents a commentary on how racism manifests itself in everyday scenarios.

"In The White Card," said Jared, "Rankine deals us an engrossing, dispiriting and raw examination of the fault lines between the races. The confrontations onstage are likely to land in our own conscious leaving much to reconcile. It’s not often that theater, as a looking glass, is this crystal clear."

"Every Brilliant Thing," presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company through March 31

Adrianne Krstansky interacts with members of the audience in "Every Brilliant Thing."
Photo Credit: Maggie Hall Photography, courtesy of SpeakEasy Stage Company

SpeakEasy Stage Company presents a room full of reasons to be happy with "Every Brilliant Thing." Actor Marianna Bassham makes her directorial debut in this one-woman play about a woman (played by Adrianne Krstansky) recounting how she dealt with her mother's depression and suicide attempts by compiling a list of all the things worth living for — like Christopher Walken's hair, or watching someone you love watch your favorite movie for the first time. As she grows, graduates and builds her own life, the list evolves with her. Enlisting members of the audience to help tell her story, Krstansky provides a delightful and earnest tribute to the resilience of the human spirit in this uplifting and interactive play. "Every Brilliant Thing is a tonic," said Jared. "In this little show about negotiating life’s most threatening curves, a luminescent Adrianne Krstansky blazes the way forward. And she reminds us that a masterful performance is high atop the list of things that make life worth living."

"Skeleton Crew," presented by Huntington Theatre Company through March 31

(Left to right) Toccarra Cash, Patricia R. Floyd, and Jonathan Louis Dent in "Skeleton Crew"
Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson, courtesy of the Huntington Theatre Company

The third play in Dominique Morisseau's "Detroit Cycle" is presented by the Huntington Theatre Company. In "Skeleton Crew," a makeshift family of auto workers contemplates the demise of their plant, their city and their livelihoods. Inspired by the late August Wilson's Century Cycle, Morisseau focuses her plays on the city in which she grew up — one that has suffered economic collapse. "Skeleton Crew" is "storytelling at its finest with characters so vividly and naturalistically painted, they will be riding with you for days," Jared said, "and that is passed into the hands of what proves to be a very exceptional acting ensemble."

What plays have you seen this season? Tell Jared about it on Facebook or Twitter!

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