New York | 3h 15m | Ends May 05

White Noise

From 14 critic and 48 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Absorbing, Great writing

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. More…

Long-time friends and lovers Leo, Misha, Ralph, and Dawn are educated, progressive, cosmopolitan, and woke. But when a racially motivated incident with the cops leaves Leo shaken, he decides extreme measures must be taken for self-preservation.

New York Stage Review

“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.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

“’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.” Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

“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.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"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." Full Review

The New York Times

“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.” Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

“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." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

“‘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." Full Review

The Wrap

"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." Full Review

AM New York

"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.” Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

“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." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“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." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"'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." Full Review

Profound, Must see, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Everything about this was stunning, especially the script. Show of the year so far.

Don't see it if You can’t stomach riveting shows about race.

Intelligent, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You enjoy great theater with superb actors talking about thought provoking and relevant topics.

Don't see it if You only enjoy fluffy theater and or musicals.

Powerful. important. wise. provocative

See it if An unsettling account of implicit racism and complicity. Honest and crucial.

Don't see it if The play’s political & cultural points are brilliantly explicated. But dramatically, some plot contrivances were hard for me to overcome

Also I believe Parks is one of the most important playwrights of our time. ... Read more Read less

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Long, Provocative, Ambitious

See it if Like Parks.inquiry into slavery

Don't see it if Sit too long(3+hrs), monologues.

Also Always try to see plays by Parks for something provocative . in this p... Read more Read less

Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You appreciate great writing and acting and (if you're a white person) are willing to lean into being uncomfortable

Don't see it if You don't care about racial inequality and/or don't like intense shows involving difficult subject matter

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.

During previews
Must see, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like thought-provoking theater which is excellently written and stunningly acted. Be prepared to go on wild ride.

Don't see it if I don’t like challenging theatre and a show that is 3 hours and 15 minutes long. If you prefer comedy.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Funny, Ambitious

See it if You like socially relevant work presented in unusual, line-blurring fashion,

Don't see it if Slavery makes you uncomfortable. Then again, it should. If it does, all the more reason to be here.

Also This is a very profound, disturbing piece. The acting is superb as is ... Read more Read less

During previews
Must see, Masterful, Intelligent, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you're looking for an epic, near masterpiece. A play that takes you in directions you did not expect. A captivating 3 hours.

Don't see it if you think 3 hours is simply too long for a play. Long monologues aren't your thing. You don't want to be taken to some uncomfortable places

Also Brilliantly written, acted and staged. This is first rate drama. Fierc... Read more Read less

During previews
Great writing, Ambitious, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You would be interested in what the existential experience of being black in America can do to the psyche.

Don't see it if You like lighthearted and humorous plays.

Also I thought it was an amazing play that certainly resonates long after l... Read more Read less

During previews
Ultimately hopeful, Uneven, Beautifully played, Wise, Humane

See it if you'd like to see the latest great play from America's great playwright.

Don't see it if uncomfortable truths about a decent human being's darkest capacities might make you too uncomfortable.

Also Suzan-Lori Parks is America’s great playwright; her latest play, “WHIT... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great writing, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if You want to catch one of our best playwrights grappling with major themes and questions of race, legacy, privilege, and guilt.

Don't see it if You aren’t in for three hours of uncomfortable discourse that provokes and challenges across racial, class, and gender divides.

Also There was, for me, one actor of the four who wasn’t as strong as the o... Read more Read less

During previews
Intense, Edgy, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if story is focused on the dissection of the legacy/burden of slavery in contemporary society; there are times of levity but topic is profound

Don't see it if you don't want to deal with racial profiling/prejudice; not up for an uneasy pit in your stomach kind of evening; want a big cast/fancy sets

Also I cannot get this thought provoking play out of my head. The acting an... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Great writing, Intense, Profound, Punch in the gut

See it if to witness the eye-opening psychological toll of racial violence on our humanity & the profound ways this manifests in different communities

Don't see it if you don’t want new lenses thru which to grapple with our most vital issues. Fast paced, brilliantly acted; don’t let the runtime scare you

During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if EXCEPTIONAL writing & acting from entire cast. Great Multi-dimensional characters. Concept makes you think & story commands your attention.

Don't see it if Don't let the 3+ hour runtime scare you - the performances and writing are so good that the show moves at a great pace.

During previews
Original, Probing, Great acting, Profound, Intelligent

See it if A complex and fascinating look at the legacy of our black and white ancestors in the depths of our "enlightened" contemporary minds.

Don't see it if you are not interested in spending 3 hours observing a study of long term friends becoming master and slave with Ms. Parks’ unique insights.

Also Ms. Parks play could use some trimming and a little better focus, but ... Read more Read less

During previews
Masterful, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing, Profound

See it if Brilliantly, insightful and profound writing, given life with matching stellar performances. Profound, moving, poignant.

Don't see it if You can't sit on a chair for 3:15 hrs, no matter how riveting the text and acting.

Also The "twist" as it comes at the end of act 1 did seem contrived at firs... Read more Read less

During previews
Great staging, Great writing, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You are a Parks fan -- or Diggs -- or both (as I am). Sprawling, deep, current, provacative, enthralling.

Don't see it if You are disturbed by sexuality. You are unwilling to engage with race, gender, and class issues.

Also Loved it. Classic S-L Parks.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Edgy, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you are a fan of Suzan-Lori Parks, Daveed Diggs and/or Thomas Sadoski and want to see a unique take on interracial relations.

Don't see it if you cannot concentrate for 3+hours or if you cannot get past an implausible premise to follow its repercussions.

Also The acting is uniformly strong. The set has a big surprise. The play c... Read more Read less

During previews
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You’re interested in its theme, by far it’s the best one of this category I’ve seen. A well written book!

Don't see it if You can’t sit still for a long play, but this one won’t bore you, I can hardly feel time past.

Also It contains so much more than the summary and really blows up my mind,... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Love Daveed Diggs and Suzann Lori Parks- they are both in top form here If you are interested in plays about race relations, slavery

Don't see it if Don’t have 3 hours to spare , enjoy the topics above, don’t want to see an explicit sex scene

During previews
Riveting, Resonant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Uncomfortable Parks exploration of race, identity,power in relationships and what it means to be free; outstanding ensemble

Don't see it if You don’t want to be made to feel uncomfortable in experience that stays with you and makes you think about your biases long after play ends

During previews
Slow uneven start, but in the second act packs a unique and disturbing punch. see it if you care about race in america.

See it if A racialized drama interests you, very well acted and directed.

Don't see it if you are looking for light entertainment.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Masterful, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if If you are a fan of good writing and acting and Parks work. It is a dense and disturbing play about race and social contracts. Hard at times

Don't see it if Three hours of discovery about race and social constructs. If you are tired of plays that are unsettling about race and gender do not see it

During previews
Ferguson, trayvon martin, charlottesville; suzan-lori parks tries to explain it all; ny times thinks she succeeds brilliantly; no argument she's an extraordinary playwright, but don't think she wholly succeeds

See it if shakes u up; 4 strong actors ambitiously cover spectrum of racial perspectives from black fear/anger 2 white sense of loss of power

Don't see it if tries to do 2 much at 3 hrs inc 4 soliloquies; characters artificial constructs, some stories off topic; so A 4 ideas, B 4 execution

Also SPOILER ALERT. Animating plot twist: black man voluntarily agrees to s... Read more Read less

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In-house box office
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Cast & Creatives (12)