Broken Arrow Community Playhouse will present “Shades of White” by award-winning local playwright Ilan Kozlowski. Directed by Chuck Osuna, performances will run April 22, 23, 24, 29, and 30, and May 1.
The serio-comedy, set in 1990’s Tulsa, Oklahoma during the year of the 75th anniversary of the Tulsa Race riot, explores the relationships between an Israeli immigrant, and a former Ku Klux Klan member, and their wives.
Narrow-minded Dr. Whitehill and his crone of a wife, Birdie, are set in their miserable ways until Dr. Whitehill encounters Yossi, an open-hearted Israeli musician who loves life. The youthful Israeli describes himself as a “nudist Buddhist who loves everyone.”
Yossi’s humor, youthfulness, and optimism however, belie a seasoned “old soul,” with keen insight into human nature and the human condition.
Yossi strikes up his unlikely friendship with the older Dr. Charles Whitehill through the coffee shop they both frequent. With heroic amounts of compassion and understanding, Yossi deftly handles Whitehill’s rejection, harangues, incessant complaining, and insensitive diatribes, which encompass race, religion, politics, and more.
Before too long, Whitehill, the epitome of a racist bigot, is – somewhat reluctantly – inviting Yossi and his wife Nina to his home for dinner. Yossi and Nina discover that Whitehill’s bigotry is exceeded only by his cynical and hostile wife Birdie’s.
As the character’s relationships develop, so does the startling anger, drama, tension, as well as heroic amounts of compassion, patience, tolerance and understanding. As the characters confront one another and their pasts, painful truths are revealed.
These truths lead to the common ground of the human condition. It is a deft balancing act of emotions fraught with long-held convictions about race and relationships, that are challenged, and ultimately transformed by Yossi’s deeply-held belief in the power of love and acceptance.
When asked about the theme of the play, Kozlowski said, “Love and reconciliation. At the end of the day, we are all made of the same clay. The lesson is, don’t give up in the face of rejection. All roads lead to love. Love triumphs.”
Uplifting, challenging, humorous and ultimately hopeful, “Shades of White” is an entertaining, fast-paced comedy that is particularly relevant for our world today.