Check out this great review of From White Plains over at InsideNewYork.com!
“From White Plains” is Anything but White
By: Renny Grinshpan
Conceived and directed by Michael Perlman, and written and developed in collaboration with the Fault Line Theater, “From White Plans” tells the story of four young men, two straight and two gay, forced to confront the suicide of a young gay person as the result of homophobia and bullying.
The play begins with Ethan Rice, played by Aaron Rossini, and his friend John watching the Oscars, shocked to have heard an acceptance speech featuring a lesson for all the “Ethan Rices” in the world. The Oscar winner is a man named Dennis Sullivan, played by Karl Gregory, a gay man who went to high school with Ethan. His award honors him for the script he wrote for his movie, “From White Plains,” based on his teenage years in White Plains, New York. He and his friend, Mitchell Cole, were bullied and tormented by Ethan and, unable to ignore Ethan’s jeering torment and abuse, Mitchell eventually ended his own life.
Ethan posts a video of apology and remorse on the web, to which Dennis responds with a video of his own, chastising the apology and igniting a full-fledged cyber fight. Ethan loses his job and his girlfriend, and John, played by Craig Wesley Divino, starts pulling away from him. Dennis’ passionate feelings about the greater social cause he is working toward by reproaching and undermining Ethan’s apologies start to disturb his relationship with his boyfriend, Gregory, played by Jimmy King. Each and every character is affected, whether he knew Mitchell Cole or not.
“From White Plains” details the sad reality of the ongoing challenges faced by the gay community today and effectively conveys a multitude of perspectives on the issue, sure to hit home with audience members of any background. Those who might not comprehend certain words and actions as offensive or abusive can relate to Ethan, those who actively seek to create an accepting world owing to their anger with prejudice can relate to Dennis, those torn between their opinion and loved ones with a dissimilar stance than their own can relate to John, and those who seek normalcy in a world rife with social issues like the gay one can relate to Gregory.
And yet though they seem very different from one another at the outset, the characters develop throughout the play and ultimately, by revealing the origins of and reasons behind their dispositions, start to relate to one another. This indirectly relates audience members who find their counterparts in one of the four characters to the other characters, making the play an act to fight prejudice in and of itself.
Beset with minimal action and simplistic sets and costumes, the play successfully relies on the talent of its actors, the clarity of its direction, and, most importantly, the depth of its dialogue-driven script; the raw emotion exhibited by the play’s dedicated cast reinforces its sincere, heartfelt writing. Running through March 9 at the Pershing Square Signature Center, “From White Plains” is a must-see for anyone driven or affected by the enduring social stigma surrounding gay people. Get tickets before this riveting show sells out at TicketCentral.com for $34.00 each.