“Straight White Men,” written and directed by Young Jean Lee, made its New York premiere at the Public Theatre with a stellar cast in November and has been extended through December 14th. Obie-award winner Young Jean Lee and her theatre company have made a splash on the theatre scene with her provoking plays that challenge social perceptions, while providing the audience with a healthy dose of humor. In “Straight White Men” she takes the conventional classic father-son drama and creates an unconventional play tackling the issues of privilege, identity, and the value of being a straight white male in the 21st century. Three adult brothers return home to the Midwest to visit their widowed father Ed (Austin Pendleton) for Christmas. The three-day holiday vacation is riddled with family jokes that trail from childhood into adulthood, such as the youngest brother’s nickname “Shit Baby.” The tough brotherly love is lightened by endearing matching Christmas jammies, a family sing-a-long to “Oklahoma!” and a game of Monopoly that has been aptly renamed “Privilege” in their late mother’s effort to raise her boys to “not be assholes.” Drew (Pete Simpson) and Jake (Gary Wilmes) have found their own paths as an author and city banker, respectfully. The eldest brother and politically conscious leftie Matt (James Stanley), however, is the brother with the largest potential having attended Harvard and consequently burdened with an inexorable amount of student loans. Living at home with Ed and working at a temp agency, Matt has been deemed not “male” or “white” enough by his brothers. The seemingly contented family confronts Matt’s “choice” to be recluse and what it means to be successful in today’s world as a white male. As a Korean woman, Young Jean Lee disregards ethnicity in writing and has successfully ventured to write a voice for the straight white male- an unexpected endeavor. With talkback sessions at The Public, Young Jean Lee is continually learning from the audience how to best sculpt the perspective of white men. Young Jean Lee herself has defied many odds by breaking-through in the white male dominated world of playwriting. The production is naturalistic, yet Young Jean Lee’s experimental and avant-garde roots undermine the hum-drum recreational room set filled with an elliptical machine, a dartboard and a lop-sided artificial Christmas tree. The house music before curtain blasts female rap music with “nasty lyrics” (as noted in the stage directions), to perhaps disorient the audience from expecting the quintessential living-room family drama. Which it isn’t- it is much more than that.
Straight White Men
Written and directed by Young Jean Lee; associate director, Emilyn Kowaleski; sets by David Evans Morris; lighting by Christopher Kuhl; costumes by Enver Chakartash; original music and remixes by Chris Giarmo; sound by Jamie McElhinney; dramaturgy by Mike Farry; movement by Faye Driscoll; production stage manager, Stephanie Byrnes Harrell; associate producer, Matthew Kagen; associate artistic director, Mandy Hackett; associate producer, Maria Goyanes; production executive, Ruth E. Sternberg. Presented by the Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, artistic director; Patrick Willingham, executive director; and Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, Ms. Lee, artistic director; Aaron Rosenblum, producing director. At the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village; 212-967-7555, publictheater.org. Through Dec. 7. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes.
WITH: Austin Pendleton (Ed), Pete Simpson (Drew), James Stanley (Matt) and Gary Wilmes (Jake).
Allison hails from Dallas, Pennsylvania: population 2,500. At an early age she set her sights for New York City for a life on the stage and screen. At her first open casting call at the age of 12, Allison was chosen out of thousands as a finalist for VH1′s “In Search of the Partridge Family.” She left her middle school existence for the twinkly lights of LA. and has been pursuing a career ever since. If she isn’t scoping out a new eatery in New York, you can spot her knitting on the subway, eating a cupcake, or writing about all the aforementioned.
November 29th, 2017
The Koch-Marshall Trio Are American Guitarist Greg Koch, His Son Dylan Koch On Drums and Hammond[...]
November 28th, 2017
Nathalie De Clercq is the New York-based co-founder behind the recently launched, WIPLabs.com (W[...]
November 26th, 2017
Nolin Veillard is the mastermind and founder behind the world’s top portable, toughest, and high[...]
November 8th, 2017
Monte Bezell grew up in Brooklyn, New York always knowing he wanted to be in the entertainment i[...]
October 25th, 2017
Oct. 25, 2017, Indianapolis – The Melvins’ Dale Crover and Deerhoof team up for the next install[...]
October 25th, 2017
Oct. 25, 2017, LOS ANGELES – Asking Alexandria launch new song “Where Did It Go?” (http://smartu[...]
October 20th, 2017
ALL-STAR CAST INCLUDES BILLY GIBBONS, STEVE LUKATHER, ERIC GALES, WALTER TROUT AND ROBBEN FORD Lo[...]