We have added four additional performances of WHITE PEOPLE by J.T. Rogers. This is great news! So check-out the new schedule on the CATF Web-site . I recommend that you make your ticket reservations now if you want to experience this powerful new play by J.T. Rogers.

“What is wrong with self-preservation? Where’s the sin there? Yes, I live in a community of people who look like me. I choose to live where my children will be privileged, where they’ll find opportunity. For thousands of years people all over the world have grouped with their own. But now we decide–What?–this is a bad thing? All of a sudden, we should throw comfort–protection–out the window? All of a sudden, I’m supposed to look around at the world and feel shame?”            Martin in WHITE PEOPLE


 The theater is a democracy. It pushes–expands our notion of who the “we” is. It creates a live, dynamic transaction between the performer and the audience. And this transaction is often controversial. I believe it is vital that our Theater Festival is a flash-pot in today’s turbulent world.The theater is a place where we can have a community dialogue about topics and issues that make us uncomfortable. I hope that our production of WHITE PEOPLE will prompt a fruitful dialogue about race and language in our culture.

“I mean, look around here. Everything’s different now. People are coming here on boat, foot, camel. Bringing their religion, food, talk…and I understand! I mean, the rest of the world is burning down. Even people like Dr. Singh are crawling over each other to get here. So I say good! Fine! But there’s just one thing everyone needs to remember: we were here first. You understand? Now that means something. All these people–black, brown, yellow–they need to see us, get behind us, and wait their turn. That’s what you call fair and that’s what you call just. Because me and Earl: We were here first.”     Mara Lynn in WHITE PEOPLE

Producing contemporary theater, especially in this moment, is a form of social activism. It is a statement of belief in the power of community, in the power of sharing the most private feelings in the most public of spaces–the theater. Contemporary theater is a messy business…it thrives on risks…This state of risk-taking can sometimes produce a collision of values between the audience and the risk-hungry artist.

I look forward to reading your comments. Lets’ talk…

Ed Herendeen

2 replies
  1. Reema Zaman says:

    Dearest Ed,

    What extraordinary words – yours, and J.T. Rogers, both. When my agent sent me the scripts of all the CATF plays, I purposefully did not read White People because of all of the ones that I would not have the privilege of studying/living as an actor, I am so incredibly excited to arrive open, innocent, hungry for the risk-riddled ride I am certain J.T. will take us on.

    I love reading your blog. One sentence you wrote a while back in regards to the theater, why we are committed to it, what it means for the human conversation, particularly resonated with me: “It is in the theater that we explore the most private of feelings, in the most public of settings.” I apologize for not remembering it verbatim, but have been repeating similar versions of your sentence in my mind like a mantra, before auditions, when studying our CATF scripts, even before I begin work on my own writing. It humbled and touched me, and I mass-emailed it to my family!

    I was so glad you re-visited this topic, and repeated that sentence in your closing paragraph. How wonderful, and dangerous, is our chosen calling! Both Martin and Mara’s words are stunning, and thrilling to “hear”. I am so happy, that these words get light, these people, their hearts, minds, for it is a vital exploration, don’t you think? A frank, and honest portrayal, and all too close-too-home. We all hear these words, similar feelings, in our inner monologues, regardless of where we come from, where our travels began, and where we have arrived to and adopted as “home.”

    I grew up in an International School, as a “third-culture-kid”, meaning that I was born in and ethnically came from one country (Bangladesh/Muslim), living in a second country (Thailand/Buddhist), while being raised in another sub-culture within that country (American/Christian). Ask me today where I am from, and I quote Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Joking aside, I find it to be absolutely true: home, and race, and culture, and religion, is how we identify and cultivate the inner workings of our heart. Yet, when there are so many negative forces working to contradict the inner compassion which we are all born with, how do we define our world? How do we maintain our compassion when so many authorities, philosophies, doctrine, are telling us that human beings are essentially, innately aggressive, geared towards using violence to insure survival? Inevitably, the friction between our need to cultivate love, and the unparalleled growth of the human intelligence, has created an imbalance between our minds, the intellectual prowess, and our hearts, the compassion which we all have, borne inside us. Do you think, we’ve unwittingly, diligently created a world where we need aggression, the feeling of the “impending enemy”, fear, power hierarchy, to feel like we’re behaving like “normal human beings”? Perhaps we’ve so frequently told ourselves the fable of “survival of the fittest a.k.a. most ruthless”, that it’s become an ingrained, complex belief system, and we need violence all around us to feel . . . natural. Whether it is violence of the physical kind, or violence like the emotional sort, channeled through the inner feelings and quiet, or sometimes, very loud, words as those spoken by the characters we will be introduced to so very soon.

    Thank you Ed, for your beautiful words, and, your incredible contribution to the world.

    From New York, with love,


    (Rhiannon in Lidless, Mena/Hama in Inana)

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *