Tonight I went to see WHITE HOT, a play written by Tommy Smith and, even more importantly, directed by my friend Courtney.

I haven’t seen Courtney in months – which is both bad (I love her) and good (she’s doing lots of great things) – so I thought I’d go and check out what’s been keeping her away from me.

The play, which is showing at The Flea Theater in Tribeca, has had mixed reviews, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I really didn’t want to have that awkward moment of gushing over something I thought was jobby. But thankfully there was no need. It was great.

white hot

WHITE HOT follows two sisters who outwardly seem very different, but who share many of the same neuroses: Lil (played by Janice Amaya) is pregnant and unhappily married – forced to bury her opinions and emotions to appease her controlling husband – while Sis (Jamie Bock) believes she’s a free spirit, when in reality she’s trapped by her thirst for sex, drugs and perversion. When Sis gives Lil the number for a man willing to perform masochistic services and her husband finds it, things really kick off. Sex is definitely a recurring theme throughout this play. At first, from what I had heard about WHITE HOT, it sounded like the sort of storyline you might find unfolding in a video on an adult website like collegeporn.xxx, but I was still curious to find out more.

When the play started, I wasn’t too sure. While I know theater can get away with poetry, the opening dialogue between the two sisters (well, more like monologue followed by monologue) seemed a little didactic and I feared I wouldn’t like them.

white hot2

But as the play continued, I couldn’t resist. And for what it sometimes lacked in tempo and story, it made up for with character. The way they spat venom at each other – their headiness sparking downfall and heartbreak – was gripping. Lil’s husband (Bradley Anderson) was a particular winner; he was so dislikeable and yet entirely believable. The process of his manipulation was spot on.

As a final point, I really hate gratuitous violence or repulsive acts in plays; I think playwrights believe they’re being really subversive when actually everyone’s been doing sodomy and eating babies since Sarah Kane. WHITE HOT definitely had violent moments – a grisly sex scene, some blood packets – but they weren’t unnecessary or tacked on at all. The balance was impressive.


white hot3


The acting was amazing, Courtney’s direction brought it all together neatly, and I was particularly impressed with the more physical scenes. And the biggest treat of all was getting a snuggle with her. I can’t wait until the next one!

Grinning with Taylor, Elise, Jessica, Bradley and Courtney

Grinning with Taylor, Elise, Jessica, Bradley and Courtney

Photos by Hunter Canning at The Flea.