GableStage Proudly Presents Claudia Rankine’s "The White Card"

GableStage Proudly Presents Claudia Rankine’s "The White Card"

Rankine’s play places a conversation about race at center stage as the curtain rises, and encourages viewers to continue the discussion on their own after it falls.

Feb.25-Mar. 27

Preview: Friday, Feb. 25

Opening Night: Saturday, Feb. 26

Coral Gables, FL— GableStage proudly presents the Florida premiere of award-winning poet/playwright, Claudia Rankine’s The White Card from February 25 – March 27. As Rankine’s first published play, The White Card is hailed as “a bracing experience that leaves [audiences] with plenty to think about” by the Boston Globe, The White Card poses the essential question: Can American society progress if whiteness remains invisible?

Composed of two scenes, The White Card explores identity, belonging and the racism that can go unnoticed by those who don’t suffer under its weight. Rankine’s first act captures the action at a dinner party; her second is devoted to an open dialogue with the audience. 

Building on the themes in her award-winning 2014 book, “Citizen: An American Lyric,” a blend of poetry, essay, and imagery that stares at race in America, The White Card unfolds in a posh New York City loft. There, Virginia and Charles, a well-off white couple, their activist son, and a white art dealer engage with an African-American artist about her work and about race more broadly. As the conversation ventures into our current political climate from the first champagne toast, it’s clear neither artist nor collector is what the other may have expected. The result is an uncomfortable, charged encounter, one that Rankine knows well.

Rankine, a MacArthur Fellow and poetry professor at NYU, describes the idea for The White Card as crystalizing during the book tour of “Citizen.” While on tour, Rankine became less interested in reading from the book and more interested in what people had to say about it and their experiences. 

“In those conversations, I began to realize that we as a country have no practice talking about race publicly. And people and the discussion itself get stalled very quickly. We don’t know how to hold discomfort. We are easily defended in our positions. We become not only defensive but feel attacked and fragile in terms of the truth of our experiences,” she said.

“So I wondered what it would be like to have one of these discussions play itself out … how could we stage a discussion where we would all have to move through the moments of discomfort into the next turn?”

An American playwright, poet, essayist and the editor of several anthologies, Claudia Rankine is co-founder of the Racial Imaginary Institute and the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Jackson Poetry Prize, the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Lannan Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

The GableStage production is directed by Atlanta’s Lydia Fort whose work has been seen at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Bay Street Theater, Actor’s Express, Cygnet Theatre, Diversionary Theatre and Perseverance Theatre, among others. Lydia teaches directing, acting, African American theatre, and eco-theatre at Emory University.

Popular South Florida actors Rita Cole (Charlotte), Tom Wahl (Charles), Barbara Sloan (Virginia), Joshua Hernandez (Alex), and Iain Batchelor (Eric) star. Due to the change of performance dates, Lela Elam will take over the role of Charlotte beginning March 9. 

Each performance of The White Card will be followed by a curated conversation led by Katie Christie of Voices United.

The White Card is made possible in part through support from the Coral Gables Community Foundation and Citizens Interested in Arts. It runs from Feb. 25 – March 27, 2022, with performances from Wednesday to Sunday.  Matinee performances are at 2pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Evening performances are 7pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 8pm on Fridays, Saturdays. 

Tickets start at $35 with discounts available for artists, veterans and Biltmore Hotel members. Students with ID-card and Biltmore employees may see any production free-of-charge by stopping by the box office an hour before the performance of choice begins. 

Groups of 10+ receive $8 off each ticket and receive one additional ticket free-of-charge. Subscriptions are still available. Subscribers receive the best seats at the best prices. Call to learn more: (305) 445-1119

See you at the theatre!

THE WHITE CARD by Claudia Rankine

CAST

Iain Batchelor* as Eric Schmidt

Rita Cole* as Charlotte Cummings thru March 6

Lela Elam as Charlotte Cummings

Joshua Hernandez* as Alex Spencer

Barbara Sloan* as Virginia Spencer

Tom Wahl* as Charles Spencer

ARTISTIC TEAM

Director Lydia Fort #

Production Stage Manager Katie Ellison*

Audience Engagement Katie Christie

DESIGNERS

Sound Designer Brandyé Bias

Lighting Designer Quanikqua “Q” Bryant

Costume Designer Camilla Haith

Properties Designer/Set Dressing Kacey Koploff

Set Designer – Frank J Oliva**
 
PRODUCTION TEAM

Production Manager Kristen Pieski

Technical Director Carlos Rodriguez

Assistant Stage Manager Sammy Heroux

Senior Project Manager, Bombshell Productions Monique Dalley

 #Member of Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States

** Member of the United Scenic Artists.

The White Card was originally Commissioned by ArtsEmerson and The American Repertory Company

SCHEDULE

The White Card runs Feb.  25 thru March 27, 2021, with performances from Wednesday to Sunday. Preview performance: Friday February. Opening performance: Saturday, February at 8 p.m. 

SHOWTIMES

Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. 

Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sunday at 2 p.m. 

STREAMING

The White Card won’t be streamed.

TICKETS

Tickets to The White Card start at $35 plus fees. Discounts available for artists; students; groups; subscribers and military service active members, veterans and families, as well as members of the Biltmore Hotel. 

Visit online at gablestage.org/tickets, by phone at (305) 445-1119 or email boxoffice@gablestage.org.

Q&A, WORKSHOPS AND CONVERSATIONS

  • 1/2  hour before each performance, the creative team will be available to answer questions outside the theatre. 
  • Each performance will be accompanied by a curated conversation led by Katie Christie of Voices United
  • Additional content and community engagement activities, also led by Katie Christie, will begin in early February. These activities will unpack the themes and topics of The White Card

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PLAYWRIGHT

Claudia Rankine is the author of five books of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; three plays including HELP, which premiered in March 2020 (The Shed, NYC), and The White Card, which premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/ American Repertory Theater) and was published by Graywolf Press in 2019; as well as numerous video collaborations. Her recent collection of essays, Just Us: An American Conversation, was published by Graywolf Press in 2020. She is also the co-editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. In 2016, Rankine co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts. A former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Claudia Rankine will join the NYU Creative Writing Program in Fall 2021. She lives in New Haven, CT.

claudia rankine

Cast

Iain Batchelor

Iain Batchelor (Eric Schmidt)

A graduate of the world-renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Iain is known for his work on the Hitman video game series as the voice of Marcus Stuyvesant and is a 2010 winner of the BBC Carleton Hobbs Radio Drama Award, where he featured on various productions such as Out Of Africa, Danton’s Death, Show Boat, The Big Sleep, I, Claudius, And The Far Pavilions. Iain is delighted to be returning to GableStage in this new and exciting era for the theatre, under Bari’s leadership, and especially in this most pertinent of plays. Keep up to date with Iain’s forthcoming projects on Instagram at @iabatch.

Rita Cole

Rita Cole (Charlotte Cummings)

Rita is beyond ecstatic to be returning to the Gable Stage for another production! Rita received her BFA degree in Theatre from the University of Central Florida. She is the recent recipient of the 2020 Carbonell Award for Best Supporting Actress and a couple of Silver Palm Awards in South Florida. Some of her recent Theatre credits: A Raisin in the Sun, Skeleton Crew, White Guy on a Bus, Doubt, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Seven Guitars and Terror. Some of her Film credits: #GROWN, Emmadri and The Mermaid, The Flea, To Each His Own, Pompano Boy and Jay. Social Media Tags: Rita Cole (Facebook) @iamritacole (Instagram).

Tom Wahl

Tom Wahl (Charles Spencer)

Tom has appeared at GableStage in Ordinary Americans, Kings, Admissions, White Guy on the Bus (Carbonell nomination), The Legend of Georgia McBride (Carbonell nomination), and An Act of God. Tom has worked at The Kennedy Center (DC), Geva Theatre Center (NY), Capital Rep (NY), Blumenthal Performing Arts Center (NC) Flat Rock Playhouse (NC), Blowing Rock Stage Company (NC), and Harrisburg Opera (PA).  In Florida at Palm Beach Dramaworks, Zoetic Stage, Actors’ Playhouse, City Theatre, Miami New Drama, The Vanguard, Red Barn Theatre, Waterfront Playhouse, Caldwell Theatre, Florida Stage and Mosaic Theatre. Film and TV credits include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, New in Town with Renee Zellweger, Ace Ventura, Plato’s Run, Big City Blues and a recurring guest star as Hunt Pelham on ABC’s Moon over Miami.  Tom is a recipient of Carbonell, Silver Palm, and Curtain Up Awards and is a proud union member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA.

Joshua Hernandez (Alex Spencer)

Joshua is an NYC based actor/filmmaker from Miami, FL. Previous GableStage credits include Admissions and Pretty Boy Josh. TV credits include Gossip Girl (HBO Max). BA Theatre, Florida State University, member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. joshuahernandez.co

Barbara Sloan (Virginia Spencer)

Barbara has been active in the South Florida theatre scene for the past 25 years. Past productions at GableStage: The Real Thing, Burn This, Strange Snow, Sons of the Prophet, Stalking the Bogeyman and Admissions. She received a Silver Palm Award for her work in Vita and Virginia (Vanguard Theatre) and has received Carbonell nominations for Wit, The Book of Ruth (New Theatre) 2.5 Minute Ride (Mosaic Theatre) and Last Summer at Bluefish Cove (New River Rep) and Vita and Virginia (Vanguard Theatre). She has also performed at Actors’ Playhouse, Coconut Grove Playhouse and Florida Stage.

Barbara is a veteran voice-over artist having dubbed films and novellas, as well as numerous commercials, industrial and independent films. She is a faculty member at New York Film Academy, specializing in physical theater and is a certified yoga instructor. Barbara is honored to be part of GableStage’s emboldened venture into the future.

Tom Wahl

Tom Wahl (Charles Spencer)

Tom has appeared at GableStage in Ordinary Americans, Kings, Admissions, White Guy on the Bus (Carbonell nomination), The Legend of Georgia McBride (Carbonell nomination), and An Act of God. Tom has worked at The Kennedy Center (DC), Geva Theatre Center (NY), Capital Rep (NY), Blumenthal Performing Arts Center (NC) Flat Rock Playhouse (NC), Blowing Rock Stage Company (NC), and Harrisburg Opera (PA).  In Florida at Palm Beach Dramaworks, Zoetic Stage, Actors’ Playhouse, City Theatre, Miami New Drama, The Vanguard, Red Barn Theatre, Waterfront Playhouse, Caldwell Theatre, Florida Stage and Mosaic Theatre. Film and TV credits include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, New in Town with Renee Zellweger, Ace Ventura, Plato’s Run, Big City Blues and a recurring guest star as Hunt Pelham on ABC’s Moon over Miami.  Tom is a recipient of Carbonell, Silver Palm, and Curtain Up Awards and is a proud union member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA.

DIRECTOR

Lydia Fort has directed at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Bay Street Theater, Actor’s Express, Cygnet Theatre, Diversionary Theatre, Perseverance Theatre, Women’s Project Theatre, Women Center Stage, Urban Stages, McCarter Theatre YouthInk! Festival, New Federal Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, freeFall Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Planet Connections Festivity (where she was honored with the 2103 Best Director and Greener Planet Awards) as well as other festivals including the New Black Fest, 48 Hours in Harlem, Fire This Time Festival, and SheWrites.  She was a Time Warner Foundation Fellow of the 2012-2014 Lab at Women’s Project Theater, a TCG New Generations Future Leaders Grantee, New York Theatre Workshop Directing Fellow, and Drama League Directing Fellow. Lydia received a BA from New York University and an MFA in Directing from the University of Washington. She is an Assistant Professor at Emory University where she teaches directing, acting, African American theatre, and eco-theatre.

Lydia Fort

READ THIS: HEALTH REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR SAFETY

GableStage remains deeply committed to the health of our guests, artists and staff. Our staff and artists are being COVID-19 tested (Antigen & PRC) twice a week to make sure that everyone is negative.

Face masks will be required for all guests, regardless of vaccination status. Before entering the theatre, all guests will need to present either a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test result or a full vaccination status card. “The Price” will be seated at full capacity. 

GableStage has taken additional precautions by partnering with the Biltmore Hotel to update the air filtration system and install ultraviolet lights to sanitize and extinguish airborne pathogens circulating within the theatre. GableStage is also performing heavy-duty cleaning on the stage and backstage, and will maintain stringent cleaning protocols throughout the season. Any policy changes will be sent directly to ticket holders and updated regularly at https://www.gablestage.org/healthsafety/