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A Simple Art

Members say: Quirky, Ambitious, Clever, Confusing, Intelligent
70
Critics
85
3 reviews
Members
68
25 reviews
 

New York Neo-Futurists present a true-crime piece examining the 2014 murder of Father Eric Freed, who was the high-school priest of playwright, director, and performer Alex Vlahov.

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Inspired by Raymond Chandler’s 1944 essay 'The Simple Art of Murder,' 'A Simple Art' is a live true-crime documentary focused on the killing of Father Freed. By syncing up police interviews with storytelling, dance, onstage analog devices, and repetitive tasks, three Neo-Futurist cast members scrutinize the human need for narrative through the lens of noir. This work investigates the region’s history, the marijuana industry, the Catholic Church, police procedure, and the crime itself, all in an attempt to explore why (and how) we construct stories from the chaos of reality.

 

Cast & Creatives (6)


Reviews (28)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
85
Avg Score

80
The Huffington Post

"This kind of story is where the Neos’ mastery of theatrical experimentation shines...One of the greatest strengths of the piece is how it manages to incorporate all three performers, and stretch the scope of impact and influence outside of the immediate story. And yet I found myself wanting to know more...All in all, I found 'A Simple Art' to be engaging, creative, and thought-provoking, and I am left feeling like true crime theatre is something I would love to see more often." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

“Audience members shouldn’t expect the safety of a fourth wall and a clear-cut Aristotelian narrative. Instead, this is a piece where Neos do what Neos do best: keep you alert with their thought and movement deviations; effortlessly incorporate intersecting perspectives; make you cry, think and laugh all with the same thought; and always leave you wanting more. There are no accidents on this stage. This is clearly a studied piece, the fruit of labor, but it can get confusing. Embrace it.” Full Review

93
Reviews Off Broadway

“The New York Neo-Futurists' gem of a small piece, ‘A Simple Art,’ explores the death of a small-town priest to tell the world how stories affect us all. The excellent three-person ensemble uses recordings, music, documentary styles, maps and emotions to lay out the story of Father Eric's murder. Then they use that story to reach the humanity and shared emotions of us all in a touching, humorous and charming way.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
68
Avg Score

65
Funny, Ambitious, Quirky, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if experimental theater that breaks down the usual concept of performance interests you.

Don't see it if if you expect a story to be acted. This is read from documentation. Inexplicable activities like making toast & playing LPs occupy the cast

70
Sad, Ambitious, Quirky, Entertaining, Informative

See it if You want to see a play about a true event. You want to see a play with one performer who personally knew the victim. You want to be informed

Don't see it if You are not interested in the history of this priest being killed. You are not interested in a play of this type.

Also This was different but very informative. I enjoyed the information tha... Read more Read less

70
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Indulgent

See it if you enjoy very personal true crime stories and you're open to documentary style storytelling in which the 4th wall does not exist.

Don't see it if you're expecting traditional storytelling; you're sensitive to depictions of violence & police mishandling resulting in tragic consequences.

Also This is an extraordinary work with a singular style, a unique voice an... Read more Read less

85
Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if a tale worth telling. clever use of props etc. free toast and coffee all 3 actors a credit to interpretative acting

Don't see it if some repetition. maybe more songs etc of the times.... but these are minor

72
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Relevant

See it if You are not distracted by drab house, no staging, untrained youth delivering a mesmerizing, beautifully integrated tale.

Don't see it if you are not interested in a recreation of a murder filtered through the vision of one who knew the victim and whose life was changed.

Also This is actually a heartbreaking recounting of the events of the night... Read more Read less

77
Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You like crime stories. Story was good. Clever presentation. Thought provoking

Don't see it if You are not interested in hearing about brutality of a crime. Don't like hearing law enforcement stupidity

55
Ambitious, Indulgent, Confusing, Disappointing, Good idea, poor execution

See it if You like plays based on real events. You enjoy multi-perspective storytelling. You want to support an experimental theatre company.

Don't see it if You want a clear narrative story arc. You don't like meta elements. You don't like stylized acting.

Also What a disappointment! I like the Neo Futurists & thought their style ... Read more Read less

70
Quirky, Heartfelt, Different, Docu/personalstory, Good use of media

See it if want experimental storytelling with meandering details of the murder of a priest told by 3 member cast playing all characters +free coffee

Don't see it if you hate experimental theater, being offered coffee & toast, using your imagination, want to see action rather than being told about it

50
Dizzying, Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow

See it if You enjoy sophomoric theatre that seems to last for hours but only an hour and 10 minutes minutes...you need a snooze

Don't see it if If there's something good on TV like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER

20
Indulgent, Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Insipid

See it if You want to spend an hour trying to figure out why you decided to see this go-nowhere play. Well acted pretentious pointless rambling.

Don't see it if You're not family.

69
Funny, Clever, Quirky, Confusing

See it if You don't mind a few actors providing all the testimony of what happened to the deceaaed. The show was slow at times and not at others.

Don't see it if If the smell of incense bothers you. It's not through out the entire show, but there (I try to avoid that whenever possible)

65
Funny, Quirky, Confusing

See it if you like unusual presentations, audience interactivity or are interested in fringe original work.

Don't see it if you prefer traditional theater and a logical sequential storyline.

61
Ambitious, Intelligent, Quirky, Indulgent, Slow

See it if you like the idea of seeing theater use multiple mediums to tell a story.

Don't see it if you're expecting something akin to a show by The Civilians.

Also This was an ambitious piece that had it's moment, but...as the play it... Read more Read less

80
Clever, Edgy, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you like documentaries and like usual story telling styles

Don't see it if you are not a fan of Neo-Futurists and their style of presentation

72
Thought-provoking, Slow, Unusual, Informative, Innovative

See it if you're interested in seeing a show that deals with a true life crime presented using a variety of effects, such as transcripts & recordings.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of intimate theater experiences or experimental storytelling methods, such as lip syncing to recorded material.

65
Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You like a play without a finite ending as to who did it. Some of the acting was good.

Don't see it if You don't want to sit thru a long play which is confusing, in a dark environment, This is definitely not an upbeat play.

93
Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like the occasional "odd" show that is fast paced, funny, sad and draws lessons from real life. It is NOT a traditional linear play

Don't see it if you don't enjoy oddball shows that don't follow a linear structure. This is a documentary type show that says a lot about life.

49
Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Cliched

See it if You are interested because you smoke pot

Don't see it if You don't like: Horrible writing, bad directing and acting

100
Clever, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if Play was interesting and intelligently written and acted and clever.

Don't see it if You want a typical play that is old fashioned.

70
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Confusing

See it if Real-life whodunit that builds a multisensual road to I'm not sure. Amusing, intriguing, provided more Q's than A's...and that's the point?

Don't see it if if you need a linear construct and perfect clarity in your theatrical experience.

85
Delightful, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Resonant

See it if you want a twist on the classic blueprint of a murder mystery, if you like exploring the biggest questions of life, if you like experimental

Don't see it if Descriptions of violence bother you, if you like a typical play structure, if you like more action less dialogue

51
Funny, Clever, Dizzying, Great acting, Confusing

See it if You are a theater buff and can appreciate theatrical techniques

Don't see it if You want something linear and straightforward

68
Ambitious, Clever, Quirky

See it if you want something different and can handle a very small production of young actors that take you on a journey of a mystery / story

Don't see it if you are expecting something great and profound to move you..

65
Funny, Ambitious, Dizzying, Quirky, Indulgent

See it if You like experimental theatre that gets to be a little indulgent at times.

Don't see it if You're not able to keep up with a rapidly changing plot with an overwhelming amount of activity.

85
Ambitious, Dizzying, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You're interested in true stories told by people personally involved. You like the aesthetic of flannel, coffee, and the pacific northwest

Don't see it if You're looking for something with a clear "plot", high energy, or a big budget.

Also To rate this against other plays would be unfair, and inaccurate. A Si... Read more Read less