White Noise
Closed 3h 15m
White Noise
84

White Noise NYC Reviews and Tickets

84%
(171 Reviews)
Positive
90%
Mixed
8%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Ambitious, Relevant

About the Show

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks ("Topdog/Underdog," "In The Blood") returns to The Public with a world premiere play about race, friendship, and our rapidly unraveling social contract.

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Member Reviews (171)

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70
Disappointing, Long, Relevant, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you're fascinated by American racial issues. Strong acting. Well staged, altho in-the-round w difficult sight lines.

Don't see it if you need a focused work; many subplots. Doesn't fulfill promise of premise. Needs cuts. Engrossing, but unsatisfying. Plot holes. Talky.

63
Slow, Insipid, Indulgent, Edgy

See it if You want to see another play about race relations...yawn.. a minimalist set. Parks top dog/ underdog was much better.

Don't see it if Play was too long, minimal set had to long monologues, too preachy. If you want something really cutting edge.

Critic Reviews (28)

The New York Times
March 20th, 2019

“Parks’s enthrallingly thought-packed new play...Directed with a radiant clarity...Superb four-member cast...Any annoyance I felt with Parks’s plot contrivances was erased by the thrill of the play’s uncompromising revelations of character...Four ravishing monologues, give this production its pulsing heart...Each performer has one, delivered with a devastating transparency...Though ‘White Noise’ runs a full three hours, and skids on some of its plot twists, it doesn’t feel long.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
March 20th, 2019

“The brilliance of Suzan-Lori Parks’s eviscerating new play ‘White Noise’ is that underneath the finely crafted, often sharply funny apparent realism of its surface, its roots stretch deep away into archetype. Each one of its quartet of characters is at once an individual, nuanced and developed...’White Noise’ is a full three hours long, but its craft is tight and its stakes ever-intensifying.”
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The Hollywood Reporter
March 20th, 2019

“Parks' new play deals with many important issues...It sacrifices credibility, coherence and a compelling narrative in favor of didacticism. Parks doesn't quite seem to know what to do with her provocative premise once it's been established...The play feels bloated...with unnecessary subplots...That's not to say ‘White Noise’ isn't engrossing at times. The drama makes many incisive points, and the dialogue frequently rings true even if the characterizations and situations don't."
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Variety
March 21st, 2019

"Opens with a burst of brainy energy that lasts through the first act. But it takes a nosedive in the sloppy second half, confounding the assured direction of Oskar Eustis and the best efforts of a small, ace cast headed by the magnetic Diggs...Director Eustis has created a warm environment that allows the romantic affairs, close relationships and casual couplings to feel natural and unforced...Although well-played by the likable actresses, the female characters are hardly developed at all."
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AM New York
March 20th, 2019

"Notwithstanding its far-fetched and questionable concept, ‘White Noise’ is mostly engrossing and provocative. It is also overstuffed, with portions that are jumbled and stagnant (including rambling confessional monologues), suggesting that the play would benefit from further revision...Eustis’ intimate and intense production is built around a quartet of electrifying, multilayered performances.”
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Theatermania
March 20th, 2019

"Suzan-Lori Parks's heavy, messy, fascinating play...That the entire play doesn't fall apart under the weight of this ludicrous premise is a testament to the heft of Parks's language and the unflappable ability of this cast to sell it. Diggs leads the way with an emotionally exposed performance...Each of the actors gets an extended monologue, and they use it to capture our imaginations with Parks's trenchant observations."
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BroadwayWorld
March 23rd, 2019

"The always thought-provoking Suzan-Lori Parks reverses the situation and finds the danger; not just for her characters, but for audience members who may not like the thoughts going through their heads as they witness her heady social commentary...The superb cast, under Eustis' direction, plays it with believable conviction, and it's the ideas behind the plot that rise to the forefront."
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Lighting & Sound America
March 21st, 2019

"Parks makes her argument with such vigor, pursuing her outrageous premise through a series of exquisitely probing confrontations, that long before 'White Noise' reached its shattering conclusion, I had surrendered...Despite its white-hot central plot device, 'White Noise' is marked by the maturity of Park's vision, her penetrating insight into her characters. Oskar Eustis' assured production is marked by smart casting."
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Talkin' Broadway
March 20th, 2019

“Even the most skillful juggler sometimes drops a bowling pin by trying to keep too many in the air at the same time. And that is the case with ‘White Noise’...a wonderfully performed but problematically structured production...Monologues are brilliantly devised...But these speeches are more lecture than drama and join the too many elements that are vying for our attention, so that the play as a whole is diminished by the sheer amount of its moving parts."
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New York Stage Review
March 20th, 2019

“It could be argued that ‘White Noise’ is Parks’ best work to date...’White Noise’ is eminently worth seeing for any number of the production’s pluses...They start with Eustis’ masterful direction and extend to the full-out acting...There will be those who maintain that ‘White Noise’ is far-fetched. It is. But not so far-fetched that it’s not painfully believable....Bowling is accomplished with much stagecraft ingenuity...For Parks, too, it’s an all-pins-flying strike.”
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New York Stage Review
March 20th, 2019

“’White Noise’ might be Parks’ most wildly ambitious work yet...Parks dares to explore the practicalities of slavery in contemporary society, in a way you surely never, ever imagined...The genius of ‘White Noise’ isn’t simply in the idea; it’s in where Parks—and her tight-knit cast, guided by Public artistic director Oskar Eustis—takes it, and she takes it to some very, very disturbing places.”
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TheaterScene.net
April 18th, 2019

"After she won the Pulitzer Prize for 'Topdog/Underdog,' one approached a new play by Suzan-Lori Parks with great expectations--expectations that are strongly rewarded by her latest work, 'White Noise'. While the title refers specifically to the hissing sound made by sleep machines, meant to lull and keep you asleep, it also hints at the many racist issues this new, smart work traffics in."
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CurtainUp
March 25th, 2019

"'White Noise' is very much a play that should be seen now...Thanks to Oskar Eustis's crisp direction and the fully committed performances, 'White Noise' will indeed shake you up and make the three hours pretty much fly by...Unfortunately the previously mentioned plot contrivances and inconsistencies do mount up. Consequently what could be a great play is at this point something of a literary crazy quilt."
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Front Row Center
March 22nd, 2019

“’White Noise'...is an emotional minefield that forces an insightful confrontation with all the racial subtexts we pretend to have in hand. There’s laughter and passion and some pretty serious eye-opening...A near perfect production...The play is paced with precision, the performances flawless and engaging. The staging is spectacular...That said, ultimately, it is the writing that captures the audience...Over and over, in the quick, spare dialogue, there are flashes of language redefined.”
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Front Mezz Junkies
April 25th, 2019

"The first explanation of his man’s place in the world is an important and powerful schema to understand, and one that elicits a tremendous amount of intense internalized questioning from The Public Theater audience where Suzan-Lori Parks’s new play, 'White Noise' is being presented with full force...It’s a powerful descent into complex ideology and racist thought...It’s a raw rare treat to be challenged at this high level of wise wit and clarity, and for that, I am truly grateful."
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Exeunt Magazine
March 21st, 2019

"Parks’s gift (helped by Oskar Eustis’s patience and clarity as a director, which lets every line be heard, and excellent performances) is to fill her language with that duality; sentences and even monologues that should by all rights be be painful, didactic exposition instead slowly, seethingly click together. (Yeah, there’s the occasional spot where one layer too many tips the scale of a moment, but surprisingly few.)...Diggs and Sadoski are both revelatory."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
April 7th, 2019

"'White Noise' has many interesting, even compelling scenes; it may even be the first mainstream play to include actual bowling. On balance, however, it's overlong, overwritten, and often preachy…Despite such artificialities as lengthy, didactic monologues delivered directly to the audience, the acting is realistic. Each excellent actor works doubly hard to sustain interest in the characters, their relationships, and whatever Parks is saying, but there's too much blah blah to succeed."
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DC Theatre Scene
March 20th, 2019

“Parks’ bizarre, disturbing and in some ways brilliant new play...The playwright weaves in her sharp social and cultural observations in various ways...There are also rich layers of clever, thought-provoking metaphor...’White Noise’ would not work as well as it does without the performances of the four cast members...It asks us to see America as, simultaneously but separately, white and black."
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The Guardian (UK)
March 20th, 2019

“‘White Noise’ finds Park at her most realistic, which is fun in some ways and frustrating in others. It’s a pleasure to hear her vital, playful intelligence shoved into the mouths of contemporary, recognizable characters...The play feels overlong and somehow abridged, confined to four characters it is narrow where it might have been expansive and sensational where it might have been restrained...That doesn’t mean that the play and the queasy complicity it demands won’t provoke or disturb you."
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Gotham Playgoer
March 24th, 2019

"Parks’s writing combines humor, drama, pathos and polemic. The actors are superb. Diggs and Sadoski are a formidable combination...Oskar Eustis’s direction is fluid. The play could use some judicious trimming and a stronger ending. Nevertheless, it stands out as one of the most original, thought-provoking plays I have seen in quite a while."
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The Wrap
March 20th, 2019

"The four characters aren’t so much characters as they are archetypes of race, class and privilege who level stinging barbs at one another...Four remarkable monologues interspersed throughout...Each monologue is a veritable essay on the subject of race in America, and yet each is as personal and heartrending...It’s appropriate to note that Parks writes great sketch comedy...These sketches float the first act of 'White Noise,' making it the fastest 90 minutes in recent theater history."
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Broadway & Me
March 23rd, 2019

"Each character is given a soliloquy in which to examine his or her own psyche, with an emphasis on how race and sex have shaped it. And under the sure-handed direction of the Public’s artistic director Oskar Eustis, they’re all brilliantly performed by a sensational cast...Yet even these performances can’t mask the fact that these soliloquies—and even this three-hour play itself—aren’t really saying anything we haven’t heard before about race in this country."
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Daily Beast
March 20th, 2019

"The mechanics of this slavery produced gasps in our audience. Inevitably, the friendship between the two men is supplanted by the ugly dynamics of master and slave...Parks' ideas and arguments are so alive one can look past the play's plausibility-stretching plot points; indeed, the slavery dynamic is so convincingly acted, frighteningly so, that its plausibility becomes sharpened...A thought-provoking and thoughtful examination of racism."
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Financial Times (UK)
March 21st, 2019

"'White Noise' is neither particularly funny nor incisive as Parks delivers her critique of empty 'woke' platitudes and cultural appropriation with all the subtlety of a blunderbuss...Parks and Eustis seem to have abandoned nuance and dramatic ambiguity for strident theatrical agitprop. But it’s not even clear what the political moral is in this noisy, muddled play."
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scribicide
April 8th, 2019

"[A]bsent, for the most part, is the formal experimentation she is famous for: the decidedly nonmimetic dialogue and action, the musicality of the words (Parks is also a singer, songwriter, and guitarist). But few playwrights have wielded as much control, as much precision over their language as she, and really, it should come as no surprise that Parks can effortlessly produce the conventional, too, but with the kind of emotional wallop that this dried-up form rarely sees anymore."
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I
March 21st, 2019

"It’s only as the play unfolds that Ms. Parks eventually weaves in the inevitability and heightened urgency associated with the larger canvas of Greek tragedy...Eustis, the Public’s enthusiastic artistic director, has guided the work with unnerving lucidity, bringing Ms. Parks’ provocative ideas to the fore with care and stinging evenhandedness...As Leo, Daveed Diggs is just about ideal as the play’s troubled nexus, giving a slow-burning, wonderfully-calibrated performance."
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NJ.com
March 21st, 2019

"Too much like a ripped-from-the-headlines issue play for a writer who traffics most often in the realm of metaphor...It feels more timely and perhaps for that reason, heavy-handed...The cast is sharp...and Oskar Eustis’s direction impressively shapes the contours of the script, but the play remains loose and often divergent...And yet, as the three-hour production turns for its home stretch, it succeeds in conjuring a tension that disturbs and frightens in its immediacy."
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Philadelphia Inquirer
March 24th, 2019

“’White Noise’ asks big. Very big...This thrilling and exhausting play has four characters...Act 2 gives us monologues...These solos are so eloquently written, so beautifully delivered, that we are startled by one insight after another, awash in both sympathy and guilt and anger. Eustis directs with masterful hand, meeting every theatrical demand Parks’ script places on him...To say more would spoil the plot’s revelations. Enough to say: Go see it.”
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