White Noise opened its first preview performance last night at Le Petit Theatre. The Broadway-bound musical is an odd show, combining top-notch choreography and singing with a tale of profound racial intolerance. Sisters Eva and Kady Siller (pictured) are white supremacist teen pop singers who are willing to tone down their message to achieve fame and fortune, believing they need to reach larger youth audiences in order to better spread their vision. Its horribly ironic that the would-be recording artists dont want to sell out their Aryan values in pursuit of their dreams.
The production is very good, and it is an interesting evening of theatre somehow combining a dramatic story and a pleasant songbook with vicious screeds of epithets and racial taunting. There is some savvy in contrasting the singers racial hatred against the violent lyrics of an aspiring gangsta rap duo. As profane and loaded as much of the dialogue is, the drama makes it easy to reject or condemn the extremist sentiments spewed by avowed bigots. And a central issue in the story is how such messages are enabled by a recording industry thats driven to sell records and indifferent to their content so long as they generate income.
The musical is based on an actual set of young twin folk singers known as the group Prussian Blue, who sing about white pride. The Gaede sisters gained some notoriety in 2005 and performed at various white pride events in the United States and Europe. They also caught the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. Eventually they modulated their message, saying they were not white supremacists but separatists, suggesting that they dont hate other ethnic groups, they just dont want to mingle. The sisters had an active blog, but have not updated it since mid 2007.
White Noise seems to dramatize some of the questions that leap to mind in looking at the development of the Gaede sisters. They obviously were fed a racist ideology by their parents. But as they grow and interact with the outside world, will they reinforce their prejudices or will their experiences challenge and change their worldviews?