17 Border Crossings (NY Theatre Workshop)
Closed 1h 30m
17 Border Crossings (NY Theatre Workshop)

17 Border Crossings (NY Theatre Workshop) NYC Reviews and Tickets

(91 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.

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Member Reviews (91)

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1085 Reviews | 265 Followers
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.

1015 Reviews | 420 Followers
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.

754 Reviews | 124 Followers
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.

715 Reviews | 108 Followers
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. Read more

677 Reviews | 190 Followers
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 Read more

688 Reviews | 116 Followers
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

670 Reviews | 156 Followers
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. Read more

506 Reviews | 1000 Followers
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.

Critic Reviews (21)

The New York Times
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 his anecdotes, because the genial, light-footed show retreats every time things get sticky or uncomfortable."
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Time Out New York
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. Unlike some of the born-on-the-wrong-side folks he meets along the way, it's clear that the Passenger, with his U.S. passport, will always make it through. Where's the drama in that?"
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New York Magazine / Vulture
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 pleasures of Phillips’s show are largely visual, the aesthetic tricks and treats he creates in this fringe-like setting...It tells, but it doesn’t build or reveal."
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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 photo album — and as with any photo album, unless one is already invested in its creator as a personality, one is likely to come away from this show shrugging one's shoulders in indifference."
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Lighting & Sound America
April 16th, 2019

“Despite some vivid servings of color and a commendable skepticism, this piece wanders the world without getting much of anywhere...Phillips is a physically agile performer but his vocal work underwhelms; he seems incapable of making the most of his own writing...Inside this subject matter is a potent statement...but neither Phillips nor his director has been able to capitalize on it: This fiery material has been sabotaged by an overthought approach."
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New York Stage Review
April 15th, 2019

"Nothing if not utterly unique, a piece that from start to finish radiates a gritty charm....Phillips’ important effect is providing a broader picture of how borders are policed not just in this country but around the globe. It’s a helpful lesson at a time when so much is argued about controlling borders and yet so much remains perplexing."
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April 24th, 2019

"'17 Border Crossings' is one of the most technically adroit Off-Broadway shows to be seen thanks to the split second cooperation between Phillips' spare scenery design, David Todaro's brilliantly inventive lighting and Robert Kaplowitz' sound design and occasional music. How Phillips uses the table alone is astonishing, literally creating multiple angles of observation, including an astonishing simulation of peering at the Passenger from up above."
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Theatre is Easy
April 22nd, 2019

"Phillips takes the audience across the globe through a series of eye-opening, funny, and riveting encounters...A gifted mimic who speaks multiple languages, Phillips skillfully transports you to a variety of historical moments, reminding us that there is always a border issue happening somewhere around the world. Sure, '17 Border Crossings' will no doubt inspire wanderlust. But hopefully it will also encourage compassion for those whose travels are fraught and far from over."
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