Ayad Akhtar’s THE WHO & THE WHAT ended a terrific run at the Playhouse on Sunday, March 9. We were incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to share this world-premiere production with our audiences. Similarly, we’ve been lucky to have had cast member Bernard White share his own very personal thoughts and experiences with us during his time here via beautifully honest and intimate journal entries. Below is his final submission. Thank you, Bernie, for your openness and trust, and for bringing “Afzal Jatt” to vibrant life!
By Bernard White
6 – (final) notes from out of time in the who & the what
sunday march 9, 2014 11:57PM
was in bed but got up to write this.
past tired. over tired. so sleep might be a challenge.
the voice was dragging a bit tonight, somewhat scraggly. not sharp or bright.
enunciation was sloppy in several places. don’t think the audience understood the word “perwert”.
good acting is a mystery. none of my business. the aim is all.
is it the aramaic or the latin word for sin that describes it as to miss the mark
(Megan, Sam, Kendra and I)
I am a sinner in that I am constantly missing the mark.
this odd emptiness. this moving on after growing so close as a family.
the life of the theater is a constant moving on. the secret is to guard against being jaded.
to still invest and risk growing close.
not worrying too much that the trunk is already packed to overflowing.
time to sleep.
good night on the who and the what.
monday march 10, 2014 9:45
in the am.
doctor’s office waiting room. Jackie’s been coughing ever since we got back from Phoenix.
she lost her voice last night. she’s sounding like Margot Kidder.
I’m feeling the beginning of something myself.
the law of the theater.
the immune system battling battling in cahoots with the gods (there is no god but God) of art, for the run of the show.
show over. everybody relaxes.
the body and mind cry out for slowing down.
time enough to slow down.
my privileged life.
the fragility and vulnerability of those in need of medical care.
God help us to be better caregivers for each other.
as a country, as a planet, as husbands and wives and parents and children;
there’s something profoundly wrong with how the culture is operating. how we are treating each other.
constantly masking our weakness. overblowing our strength.
“you’ll writer another book, behti. one with more wisdom. I know you will.”
so the play is over and these notes are crawling to an end.
gonna hang on another week in beautiful La Jolla. enjoy its ocean air. its beauty.
catch our breath. Jackie and I.
it seems, here comes the sun.
when we began rehearsal on January 14, my big sister Dawn Marguerite White was still so very alive.
she had plans to come see us here in La Jolla.
she’s gone missing.
nobody knows where she’s gone.
Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroasterism. none of them knows.
Paul McCartney, Tone-Loc, the Dalai Lama, Tony Danza, Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Heather Locklear. they don’t know.
not even Will Ferrell.
nobody knows where she’s gone.
maybe Afzal Jatt.
he and I have felt her in the audience almost every night.
hard to make out the faces that are not near our bright blue island.
what I will not miss about La Jolla;
1. waiting at traffic lights
2. mall parking.
I involuntarily let out a scream at the final matinee. when Zarina left the kitchen. sign of an undisciplined actor.
I believe it would have been more powerful to contain it (as Kimberly had guided me), to not show off.
I am a young actor. following impulses. not following impulses. the art of acting.
so much to learn and so very little time to learn it in.
I have all the time in the world.
let’s let Hafiz have the final word. . . (for March 10 as translated by Daniel Ladinksy)
They were happier, all the mouths I saw in a
For they all woke up one day and mostly forgot
what they were for besides… just kissing.
And in between their rounds of sweet romantic
play, they — all those mouths,
appeared to have few lingering impulses, except
for a little food.
That is — talking, everyone came to realize, was
(Jackie and a baby and others at Dawn’s memorial celebration in Phoenix)
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.