On Thursday evening I had the opportunity to see the UK premier of the new play The White Card, written by Claudia Rankine. The play is centred around the question can society progress when whiteness still is invisible? Themes explored include whiteness, white fragility, and otherness.
The play is set in America, staged around a dinner party hosted by wealthy privileged white couple where they invite a talented black artist to dinner with an intention of wanting to buy her art. The play cleverly explores subtle microaggressions as tensions and heated debates are aired. The uncomfortable nature of these conversations was explored in a very clever way.
Charlotte’s character as the black artist were raw and explored her own inner turmoil and questioning in who she is making her art for and at what cost! The play explores what is seen as saying and doing the right thing in an ever-changing society, however when stressful situations are met do our true feelings/views come out? As when Virginia (wife) was getting upset at the dinner table and Charlotte offered to help clear the dishes, she aggressively shouted back at her “sit down you are not the maid!” In a society where people mask their true feelings for fear of saying the wrong thing or trying to be woke!
I feel the play could have pushed the audience more, at one-point large mirrors were brought onto the stage reflecting at the audience, however there was no follow up. I feel with a captured majority audience there was a perfect opportunity to have an honest Q and A after the play rather than the audience feeling uncomfortable and not knowing what to do?
The White Card runs until Saturday (4 June 2022) at Leeds Playhouse. Ticket office (0113) 213 7700. Full details at: leedsplayhouse.org.uk/events/the-white-card
This post was written by Hannah Begum
Hannah attended the play as part of our South Leeds Goes To The Playhouse poartnership. Readers can apply for two free tickets for press night, in return for a review of the show.