White Pearl

11/06/19 - 12/15/19


Clearday is a cosmetics company on the rise: Based in Singapore, launching a global skincare line, and bringing a start-up mentality to the big leagues. But a draft ad for their latest skin whitening cream surfaces on YouTube, gathering views and outrage. As morning nears in the U.S. market—19,643 views. 467,327. 654,398.—Clearday’s all-female team hustles to contain the damage before Buzzfeed weighs in. Someone’s definitely getting fired. A comedy from rising Thai-Australian writer Anchuli Felicia King about toxic corporate culture, selling whiteness, and shame as both a cultural commodity and canny marketing strategy. 

Play Name

Show Information

Runtime: 90 minutes with no intermission
Environmental Warnings: This production includes use of incense, flashing lights, and fog.

White Pearl is generously underwritten by
Steve and Linda Skalet and 
Bobbi and Ralph Terkowitz.


The Artists

Click on artist headshot to see bio


Production Team


Debra Booth

Debra Booth has a long history with Studio, where she has designed White Pearl, TranslationsThe WolvesThe FatherThe Hard ProblemConstellationsThe Apple Family CycleJumpers for GoalpostsBellevilleCockEdgar & Annabel, Bachelorette, Moonlight, Blackbird, My Children! My Africa!The Pillowman, and many others. Her international work includes premiere opera Marco Polo (Tan Dun/Martha Clarke) in Munich, Hong Kong, and New York. Regionally, her credits include Sooner/Later and Vicuna at Mosaic Theater Company; Small Mouth Sounds at Round House Theatre; Richard IIIThe Collection, and The Lover at the Shakespeare Theatre Company; Marisol at Hartford Stage and The Public Theater; TryingThe Illusion, and Happy Days at Portland Stage; the New York premiere of Angels in America at The Juilliard School; Broken Glass at Philadelphia Theatre Company (Barrymore Award nomination); and A Moon for the Misbegotten at Yale Rep. Debra is the recipient of a DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts design grant. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. 

(As of February 2020)


Helen Huang

Helen Huang designs her 29th production at Studio with White Pearl. Her regional credits include Alice in Wonderland at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; The Great Leap at Guthrie Theater; Matilda the Musical at The Children’s Theatre, Minneapolis; and Miss Bennet and Christmas at Pemberley at Cincinnati Playhouse in the ParkDC area credits include JQA at Arena Stage; A Doll’s House, Part 2 at Roundhouse; Fences at Ford’s Theatre; Me…Jane at The Kennedy Centerand Fickle: A Fancy French Farce at Olney Theatre Center. She has received a Helen Hayes Award and an Ivey Award. Helen is a professor of MFA Costume Design at University of Maryland, College Park. 

(As of October 2019)


Matt Carline

Matt Carlin's regional credits include FAME en Espańol at Gala Hispanic Theatre. Off Broadway credits include props for Happy Birthday, Wanda June at The Duke on 42nd Street. Other New York credits include props for Spring Awakening at Gallery Players, The Sea Concerto with Flux Theatre Ensemble and Beauty and the Beast at White Plains Performing Arts Center. New York set design credits include Worse Than Tigers at The New Ohio Theater, So Happy Together at Bristol Valley Theater, and The Wild Party at Schaeberle Studio Theater.  

(As of October 2019)


Wen-Ling Liao

Wen-Ling Liao makes her Studio Theatre debut with White Pearl. Her selected credits include The Boy Who Danced on Air with Abingdon Theater Company (Off-Broadway); House of Joy and Quixote Nuevo with Cal Shakes; Vietgone with A.C.T.; Chill with Merrimack Repertory Theater; Milk Like Sugar with Huntington Theatre Company; Sense and Sensibility with Dallas Theater Center; The Chinese Lady, Oedipus El Rey, The Resting Place, and Reel to Reel with Magic Theater; Dance Nation, Significant Other, King of the Yees, and Barbecue with San Francisco Playhouse; The Who and The What, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, and I and You with Marin Theater Company; The Importance of Being Earnest with Aurora Theater Company; Appropriate with SpeakEasy Stage Company; and A Nice Indian Boy with East West Players. Her selected international credits include Scarlet Stone at Tirgan Festival in Toronto, BodyPart and In Spite of It at TANZINOLTEN Festival in Switzerland), Riz Flambe and Riz Souffle at Avignon Off-Festival in France, and Toi at Taipei Fringe Festival in TaiwanWen-Ling earned her MFA from The University of California, San Diego and BA from National Taiwan University.


Melanie Chen Cole

Melanie Chen Cole is a San Diego-based freelance sound designer. Her recent regional credits include Noura at The Old Globe, Silent Sky at Tantrum Theatre/Ohio University, the 2019 WOW Festival PDA and 2019 POP Tour Light Years Away at La Jolla Playhouse, and Buzz (world premiere) and Romeo & Juliet at Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Other regional credits include Dallas Theater Center and PlayMakers Repertory Company. Melanie holds an MFA in Sound Design for Theatre & Dance from UC San Diego.

(As of October 2019)


Rasean Davonte Johnson

Rasean Davonte Johnson is a Chicago-based video artist and theatrical designer. He has had the opportunity to work regionally with institutions such as Woolly Mammoth, Olney Theatre Center, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Berkshire Theatre Group, McCarter Theatre Center, Alliance Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Court Theatre, The Kitchen Theatre, Writers Theatre, Manual Cinema, and internationally with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), Ningbo Song and Dance Company (China) and B-Floor Theatre (Thailand). Additionally, his video and installation work has been seen at the Yale Art Gallery, The Bridgeport Film Festival, and the Logan Center for the Arts. He holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

(As of October 2019)


Madison Bahr

Madison Bahr's Studio Theatre productions include Queen of BaselThe RemainsMomentMurder BalladChimerica, and The Torch Song Trilogy. Other regional credits include Cabaret at Olney Theatre Center; Billy Elliot: The Musical at Signature Theatre; Charlotte’s Web and The Little Mermaid at Imagination Stage; Kiss and Guards at the Taj at Woolly Mammoth; Our Suburb at Theater J; ReEntry, Next Fall, and Glengarry Glen Ross at Round House Theatre; and In The Heart Of America at Rep Stage. Madison holds a BA in Theatre with a focus in Stage Management from the University of Maryland (College Park). 

(As of October 2019)


Leigh Wilson Smiley

Leigh Wilson Smiley's regional voice, dialect, and text direction credits include Ivo van Hove’s A View from the Bridge and Blues Journey at The Kennedy Center; Fences, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Ragtime, The Glass Menagerie, 110 in the Shade, Freedom Song, Carpetbagger’s Children and A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre; Cabaret, XanaduThe Lieutenant of Inishmore, and Happy Time at Signature Theatre; Intelligence and Hot & Throbbing at Arena Stage; OVO for Cirque du Soleil; On the Eve of Friday Morning at The Shakespeare Theatre; The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, As You Like It, and Arcadia at Folger Shakespeare Theatreand numerous shows at Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts. She hosts the Visual Accent and Dialect Archive, a web based, crowd-resourced dialect and accent site, and is a member of Actors Equity, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Voice and Speech Trainers Association. Leigh has served as Director of the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies for eight years and teaches Acting, Voice, and Speech. 

(As of October 2019)


Adrien-Alice Hansel

Adrien-Alice Hansel  is the Literary Director at Studio, where she has dramaturged the world premieres of Queen of BaselThe RemainsNo Sisters, IWannaFucking Tear You Apart, Animal, Laugh, Red Speedo, Dirt, Lungs, and The History of Kisses as well as productions of Cry It Out,TranslationsCurve of Departure, The Effect, WigOut!, Straight White Men, Cloud 9, Hedda Gabler, Constellations, Jumpers for Goalposts, Bad Jews (twice), The Apple Family Plays, Invisible Man, Sucker Punch, The Golden Dragon, and The New Electric Ballroom, among others. Prior to joining Studio, she spent eight seasons at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she headed the literary department and coordinated project scouting, selection, and development for the Humana Festival of New American Plays. She also served as production dramaturg on roughly 50 new, contemporary, and classic plays there, including premieres by Naomi Wallace, Gina Gionfriddo, Kirk Lynn and Rude Mechs, Rinne Groff, The Civilians, Anne Bogart and SITI Company, Jordan Harrison, and John Belluso. She is the co-editor of eight anthologies of plays from Actors Theatre and editor of eight editions of plays through Studio. Adrien-Alice holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. 

(As of April 2019)


Washington Post
[Anchuli Felicia King] smartly takes a scalpel to issues like class and cultural authenticity
MD Theatre Guide
Hilarious, explosive
Incredible cast... Each actress is more formidable than the next.
DC Theatre Scene
More plays like White Pearl should be written, and theater companies should strive to stage them

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