Awake NYC Reviews and Tickets

84%
(64 Reviews)
Positive
97%
Mixed
3%
Negative
0%
Members say
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

About the Show

The Barrow Group presents this timely new play with a cast of fifteen people from all walks of life engaging in intimate, life-changing conversations around the polarizing issues of the day. 

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Member Reviews (64)

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78
Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Relevant

See it if short pieces emphasizing prejudice interest you. Very well produced and staged.

Don't see it if you expect original concepts. Many of the pieces are predictable with stereotyped characters or situations.

94
Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if you like short pieces that pack a punch.They teach a lesson without being pedantic.Each one is a gem.I LOVE Barrow Group, never disappoints

Don't see it if you are a racist fool--actually I sat behind such a couple, and the left at intermission.They are really the ones who need to see this most.

77
Intense, Relevant

See it if Socio-political drama porn. Dramatically drawing out shades of gray on like 20 current polarizing issues to "woke" you.

Don't see it if Current politics are triggering / annoy you. If you’re staying "woke" on these issues, it's frustrating because it offers no solutions. Read more

85
Intelligent, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Inspiring

See it if a compilation of (9) vignettes adeptly illustrating a host of societal woes, paradoxes & hypocrisies appeals; are ready & willing to reflect

Don't see it if you seek a full-length play, comedy, single cast, or elaborate set design; averse to intimate staging, complex issues laid bare & unresolved

94
Absorbing, Cliched, Great acting, Must see, Relevant

See it if You like vignettes on timely and "PC" issues. A large and talented ensemble. Seeing the director/ playwright in one of the pieces. Stand-

Don't see it if Alone pieces, which are part of a larger theme. This was reminiscent of George C. wolfe's "The Colored Museum". There was slight use of the Read more

89
Thought-provoking, Profound, Intelligent, Absorbing, Entertaining

See it if you want to see controversial issues explored fairly, not giving one-sided opinions

Don't see it if you don't like a series of short plays, preferring a continuous plot line. You don't like shows about controversial topics (they cover alot) Read more

97
Absorbing, Great writing, Great staging, Relevant, Great acting

See it if you want a fresh look at 9 masterful 10min plays about current issues. Mostly not black&white but exploring the gray zone, making you think.

Don't see it if you are not interested in current issues our country deals with these days or if you only like 1 long play per night, not 9 short ones. Read more

80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Resonant

See it if you're into challenging vignettes dealing with race, gender, terrorism, & many other current social issues. Very entertaining, if unfocused

Don't see it if you just want a light entertainment or if you prefer a full-fledged narrative to unrelated vignettes. Some resonated more than others.

Critic Reviews (10)

The New York Times
January 21st, 2019

“Watching the show is like flipping through a catalog of America’s dysfunctions and societal problems...Manning take pains to show the many sides of an issue...but his efforts to be evenhanded can err on the side of safety and often sap the show’s energy...The show is essentially an earnest prompter for conversations or school discussions...What may linger most, however, is not a provocative idea (there are none) but some of the performances."
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Lighting & Sound America
January 25th, 2019

“A collection of nine one-act plays. It's a smorgasbord of cluelessness, insensitivity, casual racism, and outrage wielded like a club, and it's fresh enough to feel like it was written only a few hours ago. Some pieces rehearse familiar arguments...Other pieces have more original slants...Most of these situations could be further developed into longer plays, but, taken together, they offer a wide-angle view of life in these disunited states...Excellent work from the 15-strong company.”
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Talkin' Broadway
January 21st, 2019

"Nine short plays that are mostly effective — and often quite potent — in exposing current societal rifts....Some entries are stronger than others. The most successful are those that take aim at the controversial material through carefully delineated characters and surprising revelations...The less successful playlets are those that forefront the issues rather than introduce fully drawn and compelling characters...Manning and company have proffered a Living Newspaper for the 21st century.”
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TheaterScene.net
January 24th, 2019

"Manning's direction and script are both expertly crafted. The play's moral questions are cleverly woven into each of its fully-dimensional characters' words, and their tales are often presented without bias, leaving the audience to draw its own conclusions. The actors find their full potential in this play, each one as compelling as the next, filling their portrayals with humor, earnestness and passion; they listen to each other in every moment and are a joy to watch."
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Theatre is Easy
January 22nd, 2019

"Touches on so many timely issues that it runs the risk of feeling like a checklist of topics...So it's impressive that for the most part, Manning avoids the trap of writing a show that feels like an endless stream of 'important' issues...Though the pieces vary greatly in terms of plot, they feel of a whole, and the last scenes in each act parallel each other well...This is also the rare play that, while it feels written in response to Trump's America, doesn't hit you over the head with it."
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Theater Pizzazz
January 23rd, 2019

"Exceptionally well-acted, theatrically satisfying, and thematically pertinent…Most tend to be vignettes, highlighting a particular issue-racism, white privilege, and immigration...Young people engaged in naturalistic conversations that explore the fissions and contradictions roiling our social consciousness. None of the material is explosive but it's sufficiently thought-provoking, the dialogue sounds authentic, and a satirical undertone helps prompt more than a few laughs."
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Front Row Center
January 22nd, 2019

“’Awake’ is a series of monologues and short scenes about the most relevant issues of our time...Manning is not giving any solutions he is just showcasing life and how these issues that otherwise seem like big words; impact our day to day lives...Each cast member brings nuances to their character that is pivotal in forwarding the story...’Awake’ does feel a bit long."
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F
January 22nd, 2019

“Manning is an incredibly honest playwright, simple and to the point in the best of ways. His imagination in creating the vignettes that compose 'Awake,' in exploring colossal issues of social justice...is deserving of praise...If each vignette is meant to tackle some monumental piece of American sin in 10 to 15 minutes what thread might tie the play together?...What results is a social justice potluck where neither dish, its place at the table justified, is served particularly well."
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The Theatre Times
January 21st, 2019

“There is nothing soft about the effects of this play. Its investigation into racial identity, gun violence, political ambition, and xenophobia is as sharp as a diamond...While the scenes don’t interweave, the themes certainly do...What the play gains...in breadth, it inevitably sacrifices in depth...Each of the dialogues come to feel like face-offs...Sometimes I yearned for more...But this is what you can do with small-form theater: tantalize, provoke, and move on to the next bit.”
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B
January 21st, 2019

"A compelling and meaningful staging of 'Awake’. Manning has created a triumphant piece which shakes sensibilities, upturns stereotypes and makes us smile at the sheer conundrum of being human...An entertaining, truly natural, smoothly written and directed script. Nine skits with fifteen players are like leaves in the book of everyday America's s social and political issues as they inhabit our lives...Each piece, fully explored, leaves us with where do we go from here?”
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