Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City Theatre Serves Up Laughs in 'White Chip'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City Theatre Serves Up Laughs in 'White Chip'

Article excerpt

Sean had it all - success as a theater director, loyal friends, a caring wife and a dog.

He also was constantly drunk and happy about it - until he wasn't.

"The White Chip," Sean Daniels' autobiographical play at City Theatre, chronicles the character of Sean as a blissful alcoholic, quick with a quip and headed for disaster that everyone could see coming except him. His attempts to find sobriety in a way that sticks - humor being an essential component - are like a 90-minute spin cycle of laughter and pathos.

It's a play that invites you to laugh, cry and wash away the tears and start all over again, often in very short order.

At the center of it all as Sean is Kyle Cameron, a New York-based Canadian actor who exudes stand-up comedian one minute -actually, many minutes -but eventually uncovers the depths of pain his alcoholism has caused himself and others.

Did I mention "The White Chip" is funny? Make that funny with a healthy dose of dread. You know Sean is going to take a fall - it's only a matter of when and how far.

The title, from the Alcoholics Anonymous offering for newcomers to the fold, is played for laughs in a swiftly realized Keystone Kops routine, an indication of the endless cycle of trying and not succeeding at sobriety.

Sean, a lapsed Mormon, is in search of something that doesn't appear to exist in religious-based rehabilitation. He finds it in a place and with people both surprising and hilarious, but the road there is soaked with booze, good times and, inevitably, rock bottom.

Mr. Cameron, a tall drink of water (or whatever else he is meant to be chugging), never stands still in a fast-talking whirlwind of direct address and scenes from a life on the edge. He paces the compact Lester Hamburg stage, with chalkboards everywhere, even under foot, to make points such as the pros and cons of being an alcoholic. …

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