THE ARTIST’S JOURNEY – Bernard White of THE WHO & THE WHAT, Journal Entry #1
THE ARTIST’S JOURNEY provides an insider look at the creation of a La Jolla Playhouse production, through the eyes of one of the show’s cast, crew or creative team.
Actor Bernard White plays “Afzal” in our production, THE WHO & THE WHAT, by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar and directed by Kimberly Senior. We’ve asked Bernard to keep a journal of his experiences during rehearsal and the run of the play. In this series of guest blogs, which Bernard began creating in late January 2014 and which we’ll post over the next few weeks, he’ll be sharing those personal moments and insight into the creative process. Hope you’ll join the ride and check back here regularly!
By Bernard White
1 – notes from out of time in the who & the what
saturday 1/25/14 7:22
in the am.
La Jolla, California. outside morning silver grey.
I think I stayed in this complex last century when I did DOGEATERS down here.
I can’t, for the life of me, remember exactly where I stayed. I don’t recognize the place.
I think it was here.
that was a whole different life, back then. I remember the people, the laughter and the late nights. Alec Mapa, Melody Butui, Tess Lina, Sandra Oh, Ching Valdes, Michael Greif, Jessica Hagedorn, Seth Gilliam.
I remember going to Black’s Beach.
the fog back then, nothing like this morning’s silver grey.
(me with hair and Jackie at Kimberly’s 4000 MILES in Chicago)
woke from a very disturbing dream. Jackie woke and I shared it with her. she listened out of love. in love, she listened.
I am blessed beyond belief.
I shared the whole disturbing dream. she held me, shared her thoughts.
of course it led me to THE WHO & THE WHAT.
part of the dream was me standing over the kitchen sink. Jackie next to me, as I was determined to hose off the dog shit from my blue nikes. I was not going to leave S and S’s house until all this old crusted dog shit had been cleaned off my shoes.
the dream was all about the rigidity of the masculine and the messy vulnerability of the feminine.
(Jack’s amazing set in the pretend world)
3 of my 5 scenes take place in the kitchen.
Rashida’s kitchen. my deceased wife of 10 years.
Kimberly called us to begin work the other day by saying “okay, let’s all go to Afzal’s kitchen”.
she meant Rashida’s Kitchen.
I asked Ayad to change it in the script. from Afzal’s kitchen to Rashida’s kitchen.
I can understand how that might be confusing to the reader.
the truth is often quite confusing.
thinking of heading out into the silver to a meeting in Encinitas. not too far from where my parents lived in San Marcos.
they don’t live there anymore.
that’s something real different from the fog of the first time I worked at the playhouse back in 1997. was it 1997?
both my parents were still alive and living just 20 minutes away.
I have much more of a sense of how close La Jolla is to San Marcos now than I did when they were alive.
death alters perception.
“Your mother was a gift, but I didn’t see it. For three years, I didn’t see it.”
I am the father of two girls. now grown women. my saint of a wife passed from this earth 10 years ago.
this play is all about dealing with the God sized hole of that loss.
Rashida’s absence from, and presence in, her blessed kitchen.
“it’s hard to say grace and to sit in the place when there’s someone missing at the table. – Tom Waits
this morning’s silver grey. Jackie back to sleep next to me. so very close.
I am becoming the man, I’ve always pretended to be.
back in La Jolla, a 3rd time.
3’s a charm.
THE WHO & THE WHAT
thank you God for my warm wife.
A veteran actor, Bernard White has performed extensively on stage, film and TV. La Jolla Playhouse: Dogeaters and The Seven. Off-Broadway: Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center); Landscape of the Body (Signature); Sakharam Binder (Play Company); The Death of Garcia Lorca (Public). Regional: Troilus and Cressida and Henry V (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Art (East/West Players); Wings of Desire (American Repertory/Toneelgroep Amsterdam); Blithe Spirit and Lucy and the Conquest (Williamstown). Film: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Vino Veritas, Miss India America, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Quarantine, The World Unseen, American Dreamz, Land of Plenty, Raising Helen, The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions, Scorpion King, Pay It Forward and City of Angels. Selected TV: Silicon Valley, Grey’s Anatomy, Touch, Castle, The Good Wife and NCIS, among others.