Two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Gina Gionfriddo brings her signature style of dark humor back to the Vineyard in this sharp comedy of lost souls grappling with the costs of love, money, and the American Dream. More…
It’s Halloween night, and Miranda is desperate for a way out. She’s drowning in debt, may be falling for the man who pays her bills, and is on the run from her date who has threatened to kill her. When Graham and his fiancée, Tanya, offer her a safe haven, a door opens for all of them…but is the promise of a better life a treat or a trick? Featuring Tony winner Frank Wood and Amber Tamblyn in her stage debut.
“While most of the audience remained stony-faced, my companion and I were laughing hysterically throughout much of ‘Can You Forgive Her?,’ a black comedy if ever there was one, by Gina Gionfriddo, at the Vineyard Theatre. It may be that many in the audience failed to recognize it was a comedy, and took it far too seriously, which is somewhat understandable, given the seemingly earnest yet cockamamie story--or rather stories--that unfold.” Full Review
“Among the most colorful, quirky characters you’ll see on the stage this season…Suffice it to say that it’s delightful to spend an hour and a half with these zany folks, whose antics have been directed with skill and precision by DuBois. ‘Can You Forgive Her?’ addresses substantial themes like love, money, work, commitment and parenthood...Gionfriddo takes us for a wild, entertaining ride and at the same time gives us a meaningful moral." Full Review
“Some plot developments couldn’t really withstand a test of plausibility. But you can forgive her–or at least I can–because of all that’s worthwhile...Gionfriddo has a terrific ear for dialogue, and an eye for comic touches…I found much of the script quite funny…Underneath the farcical proceedings, the play allows us to glimpse ourselves in the characters’ differing perspectives on—and ambivalence toward—their obligations: to their parents, to themselves, to money, to love.” Full Review
"A sharp dissection of the American dream, and digging into what that means, in the guise of a dark comedy...The dialogue is witty and well-crafted, and each member of the ensemble brings their own strengths to round out the characters...Tamblyn gives a truly great performance, gracefully steering the play and its ensemble...This complicated web of characters keeps the drama high at an almost farcical pace...Certainly worthy of attention." Full Review
"Amber Tamblyn delivers a delightful and often wickedly funny performance in Gionfriddo’s engaging play...Gionfriddo’s characters have a heightened quality that is both satirical and sincere. Not only do they say exactly what is on their minds with seemingly no filter, the other characters accept this in a way that you rarely find in real life. The cast, under Peter DuBois’ astute direction, take well to this style, resulting in dialogue exchanges that positively crackle." Full Review
“Gionfriddo assembles a complicated group of characters together with hopes that the alcohol and drama will erase some of the idiosyncrasies within the story. The script rides well and fast through the middle of the play, but stumbles at moments of transition and engagement. We are left scratching our heads in befuddlement as the drunken drama escalates...The actors are all doing their best finding the solid emotionality within the dynamics, but the view is never clear.” Full Review
“Not entirely cohesive, but it does give Gionfriddo space to break new ground on the topics she writes so well…Tamblyn makes an outstanding off-Broadway debut…Unfortunately, despite the glowing jack-o-lanterns that punctuate her entrance, nothing particularly haunting happens for some time following Miranda's arrival. We even forget the supposed stakes of the situation…The story does finally come to a chilling climax complete with spooky shadows and lighting.” Full Review
"The play carefully weaves together pieces of the past and present through farce and character interaction...There’s a lot of dysfunction between this small cast of characters...The results are funny and jarring at the same time. Tamblyn is very good at a playing a self-absorbed woman...With Gionfriddo’s snappy and witty dialogue, the play moves quickly. There are plot devices that aren’t fully recognized...But the playwright had a lot of characters to deal with in a short amount of time." Full Review
"'The play is driven by the soul-shriveling contest between happiness and solvency, and how marriage is rarely the solution..These are not new issues, but Gionfriddo works hard to wring postfeminist laughs from them...As we head to a climax, you might be wondering whose story this is, anyway: Graham’s or Miranda’s? Some of that focal blur, and an overall sense of sketchiness, are mitigated by Peter DuBois’s shrewd, compact staging and a feisty, well-balanced ensemble." Full Review
"Despite the dubious premise that brings these four characters together, despite the awkward structure...the play has its redeeming features, including some wonderful dialogue...I would have guessed that the play was a piece that needed further work, but learned that it was produced in Boston a year ago. Maybe its problems are resistant to further improvement. In any case, I forgive the playwright for not being at the top of her form. Even her second-drawer material can be entertaining." Full Review
“A whimsical piece of work…For all its honorable ambitions, it turns out to be more of a party than a play…The banter between Graham and Tanya is clever and yet sober enough to make us think that we’ve got a handle on the playwright’s intentions...Miranda (Tamblyn) shows up and the whole play switches gears…All her stories are jaw-droppers…Despite DuBois’ savvy helming, none of this brittle conversation leads to a plot, let alone a resolution, but it is what it is—great gallows humor.” Full Review
“Two-thirds of the way through 'Can You Forgive Her,' the excellent character actor Frank Wood turns up as David, a slightly sociopathic plastic surgeon. If only his character had been around earlier to perform an emergency nip and tuck on the scene that precedes his entrance, this would have been a breezy 75 minutes of offbeat fun. But, a 20-minute expository back and forth between its two leads bogs down the proceedings…The actors all find their moments of subtlety.” Full Review
"The dialogue has the hard, bright quality that marks it as the playwright's work, but the details are largely dreary, dealing as they do with absent fathers and incompetent, needy mothers...Tamblyn needs to work on her voice; she navigates the play's lengthy exposition on a single strident note...There are memorable moments...but too much of the time 'Can You Forgive Her?' feels rather flat and rudderless, a series of confrontations in search of a cogent theme." Full Review
“This slow-to-get-started piece, despite socially relevant thoughts couched in passably entertaining gambits, is structurally shaky and fraught with character and plot implausibilities; its most provocative feature is its title…'Can You Forgive Her?' too often bogs down in exposition, has a ludicrous premise for why Miranda opens up to Graham, makes Miranda both insightful and clueless, and, among other things, takes forever for us to care about the stakes, if we ever do.” Full Review
"Life is all about hard choices. The same goes for this disappointing contemporary dark comedy...Over 90 minutes that feel longer, characters name-drop Robert Frost and Shakespeare and gab nonstop about choices, money, morals and class as they try to figure out their next moves. The evergreen themes are worth exploring. Too bad they don’t connect in satisfying ways." Full Review
“Sadly, the admitted strengths of Gionfriddo’s work, including some very funny lines and an intelligent examination of a provocative subject, are undercut by DuBois’ oddly unenergetic and slightly miscast production…The burden of making the play work rests squarely on the shoulders of the character of Miranda. And there lies the biggest problem of this production…Unfortunately, Tamblyn proves to have too little stage technique...She is clearly acting, rather than inhabiting the role.” Full Review
"The most fascinating character in Gina Gionfriddo’s new play, ‘Can You Forgive Her?,’ doesn’t show up until about two-thirds of the way through...The dialogue crackles whenever Miranda, David and Tanya are going at each other. It almost never does when Graham is involved, and that’s the first 60 minutes…With the exception of Wood, Peter DuBois directs his actors to bring a sit-com bounce to their performances, which diminishes the material.” Full Review
“A work still finding its footing…The problem isn't Gionfriddo's ear for snappy dialogue, which is on full display…It's the outlandish characters she's created combined with the situations she's placed them in which defy credulity…Gionfriddo's writing takes on an absurdist quality that, while amusing in Wood's capable hands, is at odds with the play that's come previously…By the time we get to the end of ‘Can You Forgive Her?,’ we've stopped caring.” Full Review
“The characters speak a kind of bad-faith dialogue, often mechanical or contrary to logic…‘Can You Forgive Her?’ does not, over the longish haul of its 95 minutes, make much drama out of its question mark…The tone is so wobbly that the play draws laughs when it wants to be taken seriously. The opposite is sadly true as well…Despite its perceptiveness about women and marriage today, the play as a whole suffers from the same self-cancelling vagueness as its heroine.” Full Review
“This dark comedy proves far too inconsequential to justify spending time with its mostly unlikable, weightless characters…The play, sluggishly directed by Peter DuBois, sporadically succeeds in showcasing Gionfriddo’s talent for pungent dialogue...The charismatic Tamblyn provides much needed sparks and Wood garners consistent laughs…Their efforts are probably not enough, however, to prevent theatergoers from wishing they had made the life choice of seeing a different play.” Full Review
“Neither Tanya nor Miranda are especially engaging or witty characters...A rather silly, unbelievable and way too talky farce…If all this sounds loaded with comic potential, it is. But that potential is only sporadically realized and the farcical proceedings are too muddled to work as either farce or satire…The actors all do their utmost to make us care about their not especially sympathetic characters.” Full Review
"The bulk of Gionfriddo’s improbable play centers on conversations between Graham and Miranda—most of them convoluted and improbable and not terribly engaging...'Can You Forgive Her' seems unfinished, unresolved...The characters are less than believable and less than interesting...There’s a lot to forgive here and it might start with the playwright. There is not much director Peter DuBois and the talented cast can do to fix what ails 'Can You Forgive Her.'" Full Review
“Tanya and Graham are the central, and least likable, characters…Things get even less interesting with the arrival of David, an emotional blank who wouldn’t be worth our time were he not being played with a cunning edge by Frank Wood…The coincidences beggar the imagination…Ella Dershowitz grows harder and less sympatico...Darren Pettie all but disappears as Graham. Eshan Bay has wild eyes as Sateesh, but he isn’t threatening for a moment in this blunt-edged play.” Full Review
"Nowhere near as entertaining as the earlier works that twice made Gionfriddo a Pulitzer finalist...None of this makes much sense...'Can You Forgive Her?' is only 90 minutes but the first hour seemed like two. Tamblyn works hard (perhaps too hard) to make Miranda an irresistible kook but the play only comes alive in its final third when Wood arrives...Wood's character isn't any more convincing than the others but this actor is such a master craftsman that he truly is irresistible." Full Review
“Gionfriddo’s new play is called ‘Can You Forgive Her?,’ and after 95 punishing minutes, the obvious answer is no. We cannot forgive the playwright for a haphazard drama knocked together out of unbelievable situations. We cannot forgive the lame characters and thin dialogue…DuBois's direction has no zip or style…Barely a single thing on stage seems right: actors are miscast...The play lingers briefly and sourly in the mind, waiting to be forgotten—if not, you know, that other thing.” Full Review
See it if financial issues scare the hell out of you, or the idea of not living up to who you thought you'd be as a kid scares you. Real, scary, true.
Don't see it if you want escapism from modern American economic malaise, or you're so judgmental that you'd write off complex characters for bad decisions.
See it if You are interested in the effect of the economy on people and their relationships. You like shows that are primarily conversation
Don't see it if You have problems watching drunk or cynical young people.
See it if you welcome frank, non-PC discussion of relationships between men/women and anyone/money or anyone/parent, and effects of them on choices.
Don't see it if you prefer large scale or musical/dance productions, light themes with minimal introspection, literary or historical subjects or linear plot
See it if If you like solid plays that have a great ensemble of actors that examine deep seated feelings of loss and difficult relationships
Don't see it if If you want lighthearted plays that won't challenge your own state of mind
See it if Like good acting in a small theater space.Amber Tamblyn is great!! Have an open mind to listen to the words and think about them.
Don't see it if Want a laugh a minute Want a "big show" have a closed mind
See it if you enjoy black humor.There are hilarious moments, but the show is quite dark.It's bitingly sarcastic and the characters aren't likable.
Don't see it if ..you prefer pure comedy or family-friendly fare. This isn't madcap comedy or slapstick.
See it if you enjoy laughing at life's struggles. Great acting, great screenplay, all around fun and relevant performance.
Don't see it if . Don't see if sex, alcohol and grieving are not want you are in for. Not for a young audience. Drama yes, but with a lot of laughs.
See it if You want a clever, fun character piece in a tight one act show. Amber Tamblyn was fantastic. Easy show to digest and enjoy.
Don't see it if You don't like funny character plays. or plays about our inner dysfunction.
See it if You want to see a show about what we owe and are owed by the people in our lives.
Don't see it if You are anti women with opinions or don't want to look at your own relationship to money and the transactional nature of relationships.
See it if You'd like to see an interesting take on how different choices, attitude and personality can affect one's life. And you love dark-ish humor.
Don't see it if You prefer in-your-face plays that have intense drama. This one is rather subtle. Or you expect a definitive standpoint from the material.
See it if You like Amber Tamblyn: she was really terrific. You are willing to wait through a not great act to get to the good stuff - a real slow burn
Don't see it if You are easily offended by language, talk of sex, or drunkenness. You want all likeable characters.
See it if you like dark comedies or are a fan of Amber Tamblyn or Frank Wood. I enjoyed it and laughed more than I expected to
Don't see it if don't if you're offended by foul language or you're looking for something upbeat
See it if you want to see a great comedic performance by Amber Tamblyn who plays a drunk prostitute and unravels more and more throughout the night.
Don't see it if you're looking for something serious or profound. It's a good dark comedy, but the strength lies a lot in the strong performances by cast.
See it if you like character study plays and relationship dramas.
Don't see it if you want an evening of brilliant theater. The parts of this production are all good, they just dont gel.
See it if You are a fan of Amber Tamblyn (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Joan of Arcadia), & if you like dark comedies.
Don't see it if You are very sensitive to issues dealing with drinking, debt, or grieving.
See it if You like terrific acting and characters, do not mind sitcomish plays; you like to laugh, not a comedy but contains funny moments
Don't see it if You do not like intelligent plays and cannot get out of preconceptions.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies