17 Border Crossings (NY Theatre Workshop)
Closed 1h 30m
17 Border Crossings (NY Theatre Workshop)
76

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

76%
(91 Reviews)
Positive
85%
Mixed
13%
Negative
2%
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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912 Reviews | 378 Followers
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.

916 Reviews | 224 Followers
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.

713 Reviews | 121 Followers
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.

MJK
677 Reviews | 187 Followers
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 Read more

687 Reviews | 113 Followers
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

668 Reviews | 156 Followers
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. Read more

don
506 Reviews | 1002 Followers
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.

567 Reviews | 147 Followers
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. Read more

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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Theatermania
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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TheaterScene.net
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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