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'White Guy': You'll Remember This Trip

GableStage's Production Of Play About Race Is Remarkable


Roger Martin ATCA

Mia Matthews, Tom Wahl, Ryan Didato and Whitney Grace have a laugh in “White Guy on the Bus” at GableStage. Photo by George Schiavone.

Photographer:

Mia Matthews, Tom Wahl, Ryan Didato and Whitney Grace have a laugh in “White Guy on the Bus” at GableStage. Photo by George Schiavone.

Ray's got the stuff. Big house, Merc, gorgeous wife, all the money you can dream of. He's tall, handsome, fiftyish. And bored. He wants to sell out, move to an atoll, maybe. Paint a little?

Gorgeous wife Roz is up for teacher of the year. Mixed race school in a tough Philly 'hood. No atoll for her. But they love each other. Ray stays bored. And he rides a bus.

Tom Wahl is Ray, powerful, arrogant, always charming, always getting what he wants.

Mia Matthews is Roz, proud to be the “White Bitch” in the classroom, telling, retelling, always on about her bad boys and their after school 'adventures'.

Tom Wahl, Whitney Grace, Ryan Didato and Mia Matthews live privileged lives in Bruce Graham's “White Guy on the Bus” at GableStage. Photo by George Schiavone.

Photographer:

Tom Wahl, Whitney Grace, Ryan Didato and Mia Matthews live privileged lives in Bruce Graham's “White Guy on the Bus” at GableStage. Photo by George Schiavone.

Ryan Didato is Christopher, their pseudo adopted son who grew up next door and was raised by nannies while his parents traveled. He's married to Molly, (Whitney Grace). They're both teachers at all white suburban schools and can't/won't believe Roz's rants. Blacks aren't that bad.

All this in GableStage's production of "White Guy On The Bus." 

So “White Guy” starts out with the infinite black versus white. Until Rita Joe as Shatique meets Ray while riding her bus. He's persistent. Same day, every week, he's there. She's a trainee nurse, running up bills for her schooling, living in a dump, her 13 year old son staying, for safety, with his grandmother. She's struggling. Ray is an enigma. The two together are terrific. And “White Guy” jolts from interesting to My God!

Tom Wahl is a financial consultant, Rita Joe an aspiring nurse in Bruce Graham's “White Guy on the Bus” at GableStage. Photos by George Schiavone.

Photographer:

Tom Wahl is a financial consultant, Rita Joe an aspiring nurse in Bruce Graham's “White Guy on the Bus” at GableStage. Photos by George Schiavone.

There are many scenes in this two hour, two act show and Tom Wahl is on stage for every minute of every scene. Lucky us.

Bruce Graham wrote “White Guy On The Bus” and he pulls every string in a timeless script. Director Michael Leeds, of course, catches every beat with his exactly right cast.

The set by Lyle Baskin is wide and comprehensive. Ray and Roz's beautiful patio, Christopher and Molly's suburban living room, and center stage, the bus, above which is Shatique's apartment.

The lights, the sound and the costuming by Jeff Quinn, Matt Corey and Ellis Tillman are, of course, the best.

Joseph Adler's GableStage has produced a remarkable piece about the unanswerable.

“White Guy On The Bus” runs through September 9 at GableStage at the Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables. 305-445-1119 www.gablestage.org

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