Bill and Sherri are the white, progressive-and-proud headmaster and dean of admissions at Hillcrest, a mid-tier New Hampshire boarding school. Over the last fifteen years, they’ve worked to diversify the school’s mostly white population. But when their high-achieving son Charlie’s Ivy League dreams are jeopardized, the family's reaction blasts open a deep rift between their public values and private decisions. A no-holds-barred look at privilege, power, and the perils of whiteness from the author of Bad Jews, the best-selling play in Studio Theatre history.
Astonishing and daring. An extraordinarily useful and excruciating satire—of the left, by the left, for the left—for today.
The nuanced and competing truths in this 90-minute play are like a first act that dares its spectators to create a second out of post-show conversations.
Like his savage comedy Bad Jews, Joshua Harmon’s Admissions is a hyper-precise and loquacious look at what gets said behind closed doors: what insiders of a world say when outsiders aren’t around. Harmon knows how to exploit the taboo of the unsayable with an onslaught of language—and in Admissions he focuses on white liberals, whose sanctimonious behavior he first noticed during his suburban Westchester upbringing. (Harmon, like the characters in Admissions, is white.) He observes, “The people who were the most progressive and vocal also tended to be the first people to pick up the phone and make a call for their kids to make sure that their kids got everything they wanted out of life.”Read More
When the son of the white progressive-and-proud dean of admissions at a boarding school is waitlisted at his Ivy League dream school, his reaction opens a deep rift between the family’s public values and private actions.Read More
I grew up Black and convincingly middle class in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was often the only Black child in extracurricular activities (the swim team, ballet classes, science camp) and one of a handful Black students in my classes at school. This awareness brought both pride and shame; I understood I was not like the children around me but I did not know if my position was one to celebrate or mourn.Read More
Incisive, witty, bitingly satiric, but with plenty of heart, Joshua Harmon’s plays deftly entwine the problematic and the comic. Harmon explores large themes in intimate family situations, sometimes revealing surprising emotional depth in larger-than-life characters who receive parodic treatment, and other times revealing the hypocrisy of characters who are not all that they appear. The act of interrogation motivates Harmon’s work. He explains that his plays begin as “a question that I don’t have an answer to,” usually big-picture questions about identity, romance, religion, or technology, just to name a few.Read More