Already closed | 1h 30m | East Village

17 Border Crossings (NY Theatre Workshop)

From 91 member  reviews
Members say: Clever, Great staging, Relevant, Absorbing, Intelligent

About the show

Based on Thaddeus Phillips’s actual adventures, "17 Border Crossings" is a harrowing, comical, visually surreal and engrossing look at the imaginary lines that divide up the world and the very real barriers they create. More…

With a chair, table, and bar of lights, Phillips magically conjures barricaded Venezuelan bridges, a rusty Croatian ferry, perilous international flights, obscure Amazonian ports, the twin cities of El Paso and Juarez, deportations, strip searches, illegal crossings, arbitrary passports, and curious customs. 

Member Reviews (91)

MEMBERS SAY:

Clever, Great staging, Relevant, Absorbing, Intelligent
76
Avg Score

90
Slow, Relevant, Intelligent, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a quirky 1 person show that is an adult version of Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego. Interesting. Funny. Intelligent.

Don't see it if You hate 1 person shows. This one is better than most but it does drag in places and I found myself counting each story till we reached 17.

60
Quirky, Disappointing, Slow, Banal

See it if You like one man shows about his travels across country's. Intresting lighting in this show.

Don't see it if You want a play that makes clear what it is the character is seeking. This play did not really have a point too it. If yoh want a musical.

73
Overrated, Quirky, Indulgent, Clever

See it if Great use of lighting.. Interesting if you plan to travel. Well spoken in several languages.

Don't see it if One person show, No story Small audience. Heard much mumbling as audience departed re: not up to N.Y.T.W. standards.

70
Uneven, Enjoyable, Engaging, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if you want a sort of theatrical box of chocolates. Each piece is enjoyable and every once in a while you bite into one you can really savor.

Don't see it if you want a sort of theatrical meal. With a title like 17 Border Crossings I guess I was expecting something a little meatier.

79
Good storytelling, Clever, Great staging, Uneven, Absorbing

See it if you want to hear tales of int'l travel & risky border crossings (incl. Newark Airport!) as commentary on the effects of man-made borders.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a mostly self-indulgent one-man show; you expect this to be a political screed in the shadows of Trump's proposed wall

Also Aside from an overlong & quixotic closing story about border crossing ... Read more Read less

71
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if Despite Phillip's easy charisma & dramatic flair, the docu-drama is rarely energized; until mid-show when story theatre techniques take over

Don't see it if Some of the vignettes are quite moving (esp those in Middle East) but nothing connects dramatically It's all departures with no arrivals

70
Not so dramatic, Informative, Diffuse, Slow

See it if you'd like to see an animated lecture on 17 more-or-less memorable crossings from country to country, most involving the writer-performer.

Don't see it if you want a drama.

Also “17 Border Crossings” often felt more like an animated lecture than a ... Read more Read less

81
Best creation of something from nothing, Edgy, Great staging, Funny, Clever

See it if you have dealt with bureaucracy for any reason. Great use of irony, story telling & social history. Some serious ideas and hilarious moments

Don't see it if you expect a plot. Lots of themes, no plot. A series of short monologues on an almost bare stage.

73
Apolitical, Refreshing, Quirky, Great staging, Clever

See it if Apolitical mildly dramatic tensions whereby at anytime & anywhere one could be engaged in the next proxy war.Fine manipulation of simple set

Don't see it if Travelogue w/o projections. Dry ice. No takeaway here except shooting up is unsuccessful in blue light & Shakespeare invented the passport.

Also Accessible accents.

60
Edgy, Blinding lighting, Disappointing, Clever

See it if you like an original idea for a show and don't mind being blinded by the lighting on the stage. The show seemed longer than 90 minutes.

Don't see it if you don't like stories of border crossings, all 17 of them. The idea was good but there was too much and it seemed too long.

Also If you have trouble with your eyes or are sensitive to light, skip thi... Read more Read less

28
Uninvolving, Dry, Slow

See it if You were a history major. You enjoy Ted Talks. You enjoy highbrow humor.

Don't see it if You have sensitivities to strobe lights, flashing lights, bright green neon lights or deafening airplane sounds. You want a thrilling story.

78
Relevant, Great staging, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy creative staging and an energetic performance. Makes you think about many social and cultural issues.

Don't see it if you don't like one-man shows, using your imagination, or thinking about relevant, politically-charged topics.

81
Relevant, Refreshing, Great acting, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy theater with a point of view. This is a story of people caught in the randomness of political borders.

Don't see it if you don't like one-person shows.

79
Profound, Quirky, Dizzying, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy performance art at it's verbal intensity. While the piece is quite physical what the performer says is far more important

Don't see it if if message pieces broken into small vignettes that relate but largely differ don't appeal to you

Also Mr. Phillips has much to say about immigration and the politics of tra... Read more Read less

69
Disappointing, Somewhat repetitive, Great lighting

See it if Interested in performer's International travel experiences at various checkpoints ( differences, ease of getting thru etc) engagingly told.

Don't see it if expecting something political or incisive; want more variety; have difficulty with accents.

Also It's not bad, but hoped for better. Very clever use of lighting effect... Read more Read less

71
Indulgent, Ambitious, Clever, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you want clever staging and lighting to be the star of the production. without them, the 17 stories would be so so,

Don't see it if you don't like solo performances.

74
Absorbing, Relevant, Great staging, Entertaining, Clever

See it if solo show about traveling across borders; starts with interesting bit about Henry V inventing passport, then mostly the actor's travels

Don't see it if don't like solo shows, minimalist (but interesting) set, want linear story

Also charismatic storyteller whose travel incidents are frequently funny; a... Read more Read less

84
Relevant, Resonant, Absorbing, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy creative, original works of theater that incorporate and examine the human experience.

Don't see it if you only enjoy linear narrative storytelling.

Also this is strong, affecting storytelling from a unique perspective and w... Read more Read less

90
Great staging, Relevant, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy solo shows with an engaging actor who’s work is spot on.

Don't see it if Like more traditional shows with full Sets and plot lines

50
Ultimately unfulfilling, Slow, Indulgent, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if quirky staging, relevant subject matter, and a unique presentation of a one man show on international travel sound interesting to you.

Don't see it if you personally think one Broader Crossing in a life time is more than enough.

Also This was a unique theatrical production, but somehow in the staging an... Read more Read less

66
Muddy performance, Relevant, Disappointing, Great use of lighting, Inventive concept

See it if You are a fan of one-person shows, political themes, or inventive staging (mainly use of lighting).

Don't see it if You are easily bored my repetitive vignettes that are not all that dissimilar.

Also The performer seemed "off" at our show -- stumbling on words and at ti... Read more Read less

76
Indulgent, Ambitious, Interesting

See it if Thaddeus Phillips does a good job with the text, and I enjoyed the narrative overall, but I wasn't entirely sure how to feel about it at the

Don't see it if end...the individual vignettes were mostly good, but the central thesis could have been stronger. Worth a cheap ticket, tho.

84
Ironic, Creative, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you have read those little paragraphs that are nearly hidden in the papers about odd travel incidents; like 5 minute, vignette story-telling

Don't see it if you expect a fully- developed story; expect direct commentary on war, immigration or political issues

Also If you have traveled extensively or internationally, you might appreci... Read more Read less

81
Resonant, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Clever

See it if You like 1 man shows spare in production with well crafted Clever in its narrative simplicity and stories

Don't see it if You are sensitive to The dark and neon or seek high drama and a complex linear theme

80
Sleek, Great staging

See it if you enjoy theatricality and storytelling.

Don't see it if you are a defender of theatre with a capital T.

Also this is marvelously staged and wonderfully performed. And I think the ... Read more Read less


April 15th, 2019
"Mr. Phillips is an ingratiating writer and performer...Throughout, the staging by Tatiana Mallarino (Mr. Phillips’s wife) moves with a fluidity at odds with the travel mishaps, which are related with dry humor...Then again, the stamps in the Passenger’s passport have a more lasting presence than...
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April 15th, 2019
"On a mostly empty stage, using his talents for languages and broad caricature, the playwright-performer touches on more than two dozen cultures from five continents...It's an impressive feat of creativity and endurance, if not a consistently engaging one...The show too rarely seems urgent. Unlik...
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April 15th, 2019
"Though Phillips is buoyant and personable and his stagecraft often charming, the show ultimately feels long on design and short on dramaturgy. It never shapes the list of its content into a substantial dramatic arc, and so ends up feeling slighter than it should — pleasant but not potent...The p...
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April 16th, 2019
“It's a bad sign for a show when the lighting design upstages the star...Whether this performance adds up to anything more than a virtuosic 90-minute acting display is questionable...The global reach is admirable, but scope is not the same as depth...Starts to take on the feel of a glorified phot...
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Cast & Creatives (3)