Talented cast shines in “As White As O” at The Road Theatre

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Jack Hawley (Vince Tula) tastes love, smells rain hitting his skin and sees letters in specific colors. His out-of-whack senses are symptomatic of synesthesia, a condition that makes him touch, taste, hear and see things in a way most people can’t understand. The central character in Stacy Sims’ “As White As O,” Jack is also an accidental artist from Kentucky thrust headlong into the vicious New York gallery scene.


"As White As O" is about intensity of feeling, the search for identity, and parental responsibility. It's also about exploitation and insanity.

The play is about intensity of feeling, the search for identity, and parental responsibility. It’s also about exploitation and insanity. At times, the script veers off in too many directions, overwhelming us with an overabundance of heady themes, but the talent at The Road Theatre Company brings to the piece a surplus of beauty and artistic excellence.

Simply put, Jack is a young man who can’t manage his feelings. He’s a Kentucky boy who spent much of his life decorating the exterior of his house with his father, Sam (Mark St. Amant), who used everything from pennies, to license plates to doll heads as adornments on the exterior of the eccentric structure. Father and son spent years toiling away at this found-art project, resulting in a colorful fun-house brimming with kitschy appeal and hints of a madman’s handy work. When Clara (Lauren Clark) catches wind of the project, she cozies up to Sam and, after his suicide, transports the house to New York with dreams of artistic fame. Jack is out of sorts when he sees his house in a gallery, and a kind of unraveling begins in his mind, a meltdown made worse by the discovery that his long lost mother (Elizabeth Sampson) is also in New York, muttering away in an insane asylum.

Perhaps the most outstanding element of the show is Desma Murphy’s set, a stunning recreation of the father-son, found-art laden house, a gorgeous mishmash of beer cans, buttons, hubcaps and endless flotsam.

Kate Mines steals several scenes in a relatively minor role, that of Jack’s psycho-ex, a shrill, unstable extrovert.

Sam Anderson is up to the challenge of directing this multi-threaded narrative, using his skilled hand to give it coherent flow.

Through December 12 at The Road. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or www.roadtheatre.org

Amy Lyons is a professional freelance journalist and theatre critic, with a degree in Theatre Arts and English from UMass, Boston. She started her journalism career at The Boston Globe and is a member of the Drama Critics Circle. Her articles, theatre reviews and photos regularly appear in numerous publications, including the Beverly Press, Valley Life Magazine, the Santa Monica Mirror and www.nohoartsdistrict.com

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