Written & Directed by Whitney White

2021/22 Season

August 4, 2021—October 24, 2021

Semblance ran approximately 55 minutes with no intermission.

Read Synopsis

From Artistic Instigator, NYTW Usual Suspect & former 2050 Fellow Whitney White, SEMBLANCE was a filmed theatrical experience that asked us to examine how Black women are perceived and how we interact with the Black feminine.

In your everyday life, how do you encounter Black women? As the first voice you hear when you bump your favorite diva’s new song? A millisecond of eye contact with the lady who made your salad? A brief conversation with the woman watching your kids? A coworker? A politician on the screen? Perhaps you simply have to look in the mirror.

What do you see? What do you assume?


SEMBLANCE was presented as both an intimate theatrical installation at NYTW and a remote virtual experience. Whitney White began developing SEMBLANCE as a 2020/21 Artistic Instigator. We embarked on this hybrid opportunity to both bring this piece to audiences in our theatre, and to continue to offer virtual access for anyone who was not able or ready to join us in-person. An incredible team of artists gathered in the NYTW theatre this summer to film the performance of one actor, Nikiya Mathis, who portrayed all seven women. The runtime was approximately 55 minutes and we offered socially distanced seating and reduced capacity in our flattened theatre.

In compliance with New York City guidelines, all attendees were required to show proof of vaccination. Masks were required at all times inside the building and theatre. For up-to-date information about our COVID policies & reopening plan, please visit

  • The Women

    NIKIYA MATHIS is a multi-hyphenate actress and hair/wig designer. She is the recipient of the Henry Hewes Award, The Antonyo Award as well as a Drama Desk Award nominee. She is a classically trained actress, who holds an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.  As an actor, she has originated roles in world-premiere plays Off-Broadway, including The Brother/Sister Plays (Public Theater), Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Milk Like Sugar (Playwrights Horizons), Fabulation; Or (Signature Theatre) among others. Her TV credits include “Snowfall,” “The Last O.G.,” “Chicago Med,” “New Amsterdam,” “The Blacklist,” “The Night Of” and more, as well as national commercials for Kraft, Coca-Cola, Dunkin Donuts, Farmers Insurance and the NFL. 

Whitney White / Writer & Director

WHITNEY WHITE is an Obie Award and Lily Award-winning director, writer and musician originally from Chicago. She is a believer of alternative forms of performance, multi-disciplinary work and collaborative processes. She is currently staffed on Boots Riley’s I’m a Virgo (Media Res, Amazon). Recent directing: The Amen Corner (Shakespeare Theatre DC), Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (WP Theater and Second Stage; NYT Critics’ Pick), Aleshea Harris’s What to Send Up When It Goes Down (The Movement Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth, American Repertory Theatre, The Public; NYT Critics’ Pick), An Iliad (Long Wharf), Canyon by Jonathan Caren (LA Times Critic’s Choice and recipient of the CTG Block Party Grant, IAMA), Jump by Charly Evon Simpson (National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, PlayMakers Rep). Digital projects include: Finish the Fight by Ming Peiffer (The New York Times, 35K+ viewers), Animals by Stacy Osei-Kuffour (Williamstown Theatre and Audible) and Soft Light by Aleshea Harris (The Movement Theatre Company). Her five-part cycle deconstructing Shakespeare’s women, music, and female ambition is currently in development with American Repertory Theater (Boston, MA). Whitney is the recent recipient of the Susan Stroman Directing Award, is part of the Rolex Protegé and Mentorship Arts Initiative and is an Associate Artist at Roundabout. She is also an Associate Director at Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC. Past residencies and fellowships: Sundance Theatre Lab, Colt Coeur, The Drama League, Roundabout and the 2050 Fellowship at the New York Theatre Workshop. MFA Acting: Brown University/Trinity Rep, BA: Northwestern University.

Oona Curley / Production & Lighting Design

Qween Jean / Costume Design

JJJJJerome Ellis / Compositions

Nissy Aya / Script Supervisor

Jess Coles / Director of Photography

Peter Mark Kendall / Sound & Music Supervisor

Melanie J. Lisby / Stage Manager

Stefania Bulbarella / Projection Design

Stefania Bulbarella (She/Her/Hers) is a Projection/Video Designer and Director from Buenos Aires, Argentina based in Brooklyn, NY. Her latest credits include Video/Projection Design: The Watering Hole (Signature Theatre), Make Your Mark (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Romeo and Juliet (Two River Theater), Disclaimer (Piehole /Under the Radar- The Public), Home for the Holidays (Broadway Cares), Una niña, una familia , un pueblo (PRELUDE), Closure (The Movement Theatre Company- 1MOVE: DES19NED BY…). Associate/Assistant Projection/Video Designer: Bollywood Kitchen (Geffen/ Hypocrit), Circle Jerk (Ars Nova/ Theatre Mitu), Broadway Bares (Broadway Cares), Fandango for Butterflies (Engarde Arts). Studies: BFA in Directing and Creative Technologies – The New School.  Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.