New York | Ends Oct 07

Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties

111 Members say: Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Clever, Entertaining
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About the show

In MCC's unpredictable new comedy, five women collide at the intersection of rage, love, and the “thea-tah,” provoking each other to take a look in the mirror and face the person they didn’t know they could be.  More…

Meet five different women named Betty: one rich, one lonely, one charismatic, one lovelorn, and one who keeps working on her truck. Oh, and one has decided to stage a production of that play-within-a-play by…that old English guy, what's his name? This New York premiere invites us all to be a little braver, live a little louder, laugh a little harder, and unleash our inner Betty.

Stage Left

"Blazingly brilliant and uproariously funny new comedy...This is, hands down, one of the best plays I’ve seen all year...The genius of Silverman’s writing—as smartly directed by Mike Donahue and joyously performed by this stellar cast—is that it is really funny, yes, but also grounded in truth...'Collective Rage' is a giant entrée of pure feminist, queer, intersectional theatre—a play that is so urgently now, so fresh and evocative, that it feels like nothing else I have seen on stage. It’s a... Full Review

The New York Times

“If you’re wondering whether you’ll enjoy the revolution, Silverman’s 'Collective Rage' makes an excellent (and hilarious) test case...For all its political and aesthetic cred, the production is entirely a delight...A trenchant and snappy production; even the props get laughs. The best revolutions are, after all, clear of purpose and expertly timed...The same could be said of the cast, which radiates the kind of gusto that actors working with enjoyable material don’t need to fake." Full Review

The Wrap

"In the beginning, its charms appear to depend on the excellence of the cast and the dazzling direction...In the end, however, Silverman’s play emerges as neither slight nor dependent on clever staging. ‘Collective Rage’ takes us on not one but several extraordinary journeys with breathtaking speed and insight. The play’s logic is delightfully skewed every which way, but in the process of being nonsensical, it manages to expose five fiercely beating human hearts.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"Jen Silverman’s 'Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties' is as smart and unflinching as it is funny. The New York premiere is a riveting rollercoaster, powered by the sensitive direction of Mike Donahue, and the dazzling performances of all 5 Betties...All the actors are superb. Adina Verson absolutely stole my heart with her skillful, sensitive, no-holds-barred portrayal of Betty 2...While I’m praising the cast of 'Collective Rage,' I have to give a shout out to the talented production team." Full Review


"Delightful bit of heartfelt absurdism...The story is told through Silverman's series of quick, sharply-written vignettes, played by a stellar cast in director Mike Donahue's slickly energized production...Verson's tender, empathetic performance will have audiences laughing, crying and cheering her on every step of the way...'Collective Rage' is a little weird and a lot of wonderful." Full Review

Theater Life

"Silverman’s wildly funny script, Mike Donahue’s imaginative, brash direction, and five incisive performances make 'Collective Rage' a hoot of hilarity, a howl of anger, and a celebration of the power of theater to awaken spirits and provide connections...Thanks to Donahue’s clear direction and the centered acting, we are never unsure at which Betty is which. The play is simultaneously a broad cartoon and a moving portrait of women shattering the limits set by a male, heterosexual society." Full Review


"There are plenty of laughs, since Ms. Silverman has a sitcom writer’s ear for a funny punchline. And there is much discovery: of anger and power and sexuality and, oh yes, of that 'down there' that you need a hand mirror to meet. There are even moments of real sadness, as some Betties don’t get what they want, or need, or even deserve. The cast is as snappy and clear as the simplified set, which drops chairs, balloons, and and anything else a scene might need into the waiting hands of a Betty." Full Review


"It’s a travesty. That’s not a criticism; it is, in fact, a source of delight. A travesty paints an absurd or distorted representation of something, in this case the worship of the female sex organ. 'Collective Rage' is very funny and totally off-the-wall...Clearly, Ms. Silverman does not expect the audience to connect the dots. We are just supposed to sit back and enjoy the antics of five actresses set loose in a hellzapoppin look at pussy appreciation." Full Review

New York Theater

“Silverman’s playful, bawdy, and episodic genderqueer/feminist/lesbian comedy...The five good actresses playing the Betties deliver some memorable moments of oddness and hilarity...When ‘Collective Rage’ ends, with a pairing-up that feels like the too-pat resolutions in Shakespearean comedies, Jen Silverman’s point becomes clearer. Each of the Betties has been in pursuit of happiness, which they were able to achieve only by changing their assumptions about life.” Full Review


“’Collective Rage:’ is an indefinable creature that knows exactly what it is — a rare breed that leaves you with the best combination of befuddlement, curiosity, and delight...Silverman and Donahue confidently guide us through the simultaneous creation and destruction of the metaphorical boxes in which our five Betties live...Each of the five women embrace their theatrical characters, gaining inspiration from their assigned roles to seize what (and who) they want." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Despite occasional lulls, Silverman’s dialog, staccato and often hilarious, helps deepen and evolve the five Betties. Dane Laffrey’s set and Dede Ayite’s costumes add festive, whimsical elements to Mike Donahue’s strong direction. Wayans, Delany and Verson’s delightful performances make it pop all the more...We’re here to explore. And what a wonderful and enlightening exploration it is." Full Review


“With touches of absurdity, this play...can feel thin and representative at times, but the journey remains a wacky romp underpinned with emotion...Donahue’s colorful production is mostly zippy...The director embraces the play’s unpredictability...With moments of hilarity and poignancy, 'Collective Rage' offers a broad spectrum of queer voices rarely seen on stage, and Silverman and these performers make sure we hear them each distinctly.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"'Collective Rage' looks at the intersection of race, class, gender identity, and sexual politics through the prism of five women named Betty. They've got a lot to say and watching them meet and compare notes is a hilarious delight...Cleverly directed by Mike Donahue...Granted, Silverman's play needs some fine-tuning and fleshing out. It's easy to enjoy it in Donahue's inventive production with a strong cast, but one suspects it would pale in lesser hands. Full Review

Broadway Blog

"A unique feminist comedy leaning precipitously toward farce…Sure to gain attention from the gender specialists, it's cute and quirky but, despite the frequent bursts of laughter, somewhat shy of hilarious… Silverman's characters are more frustrated or disillusioned (with life, their mates, their careers, etc.) than furious at some identifiable systemic entity…Each actress offers a masterful performance that helps to cover the play's general lack of substance or focused point of view." Full Review


“Donahue has assembled a dream cast of stage and screen stars and he basically lets them have at it as the action unfolds in a series of vignettes, props flying from the ceiling of Laffrey's versatile set...The play explores the relationships among these women in vivid, extremely sexual terms that may be off-putting to some in the audience. There is a lot — really a lot — of talk about intimate parts of the female anatomy.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"So confidently do all five cast members skate along the play's thin surface, they make it seem better than it is...In any case, Donahue's direction goes a long way toward keeping things buoyant...At best beguiling and at worst harmless, 'Collective Rage' is sufficiently of the moment that it is likely to bring pleasure and relief to an audience starved for new female voices. But it would have been even better if it had something to say...It's a cute idea--but where is the collective rage?" Full Review


"Here are a few of the collective (or perhaps merely individual) reactions audience members can expect to feel while watching Jen Silverman's provocative, intentionally messy 'Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties,' now being presented by MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre: laughter, surprise (in part due to Dane Laffrey's very clever set design), and, perhaps, shock (as no playwright has been so obsessed with a women's nether regions since Eve Ensler)." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

“It’s not that ‘Collective Rage’ is a very bad’s a very normal one...The show’s five actors are its saving grace...Donahue does confident, compassionate work with his ensemble — pushing the comedy but retaining the characters’ humanity — and he and his designers keep the show swift and clean...’Collective Rage’ might want to reveal its heart, but like many a hipster, it waits too late and, despite its sassy exterior, is a little too scared.” Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

“On the plus side, all five characters are vivid and the actors portraying them are a pleasure to watch. On the minus side, much of the material is banal and the overuse of the 'P' word rapidly becomes tiresome...Donahue’s direction keeps things moving along briskly, but cannot disguise the play’s weaknesses..,Ayite’s costumes aptly suit each character...I wish the material were up to the level of the performances.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

“All five of the Betties are pretty freaking fantastic women...’Collective:Rage’ is an actor’s dream: Silverman has created smart, go-for-broke characters with wit and depth; she gives everyone a chance to shine; and she has a wicked way with a one-liner...She also has a way with transitions...But the storyline—what there is of one—sags under the weight of such commanding characters.” Full Review


“There's no avoiding that the material pushes too hard on the aren't-we-clever and shock appeal buttons...For all the cleverness and fine performances, the real star is the design. It starts out deceptively simple but keeps surprising us...Silverman's portraying the Betties as wildly over-the-top good-hearted but brainless Betty Boops made it hard for me to care about them or find their doings consistently hilarious.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

“It’s no insult to four of the five smart, funny, highly capable say that just one of them walks away with the show....Verson, whose extraordinary performance in Silverman’s titillating, frustrating new play is the most compelling reason to see a production that may feel a lot longer than its 90 minutes...The play is at its best when we’re allowed a peek at something recognizably human beneath the winking caricatures, and here’s where Verson’s presence is crucial.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

“Forced and repetitious. As demonstrated by the cutesy subtitle, the playwright seems tickled to death with her own cleverness...There are some funny lines...But the unfocused work adds up to much less than the sum of its parts...The actresses throw themselves into their roles with admirable fearlessness and energy, while Donahue's staging seems designed to keep things moving quickly enough to help us overlook the writing's scattershot elements.” Full Review

Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Relevant, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you are in the mood for a quirky, but relevant play that is both hilarious and poignant.

Don't see it if you are easily offended but some explicit language or you are not in the mood for boundary pushing theatre.

Funny, Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Are open to an unexpected journey in this innovative and unique theatrical experience.

Don't see it if You easily get offended by cursing, and you are uncomfortable with sexual subjects or lesbian scenes.

Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Quirky, Resonant

See it if You enjoy great acting and interesting storylines. You want to see an interesting off broadway production with a strong cast.

Don't see it if You are easily offended by language or words discussing female body parts. You want a traditional story.

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if you like quirky plays.This is a fun look at gay issues.However,it never really explores them or moves you.It's cute &fun, but didn't teach

Don't see it if you are homophobic.Or if you are looking for a show about lesbian issues that will move you or help you understand. It's fun and cute, but.

Edgy, Great acting, Entertaining, Uneven, Repetitive

See it if you are up for a fun but freaky, entertaining but sometimes annoying exploration of the socio-sexual roles and relationships of women.

Don't see it if women's conversations about "down there," all female casts, and a frank exploration of gender roles and why women are angry makes you angry.

Also Anyone interested in exploring new and nontraditional wild and wacky p... Read more Read less

Great acting, Somewhat indulgent, So-so writing, Trendy, Often funny

See it if You're interested in seeing a theatrical exploration of women's rage. That's what this is. And it's fun, and funny, and occasionally moving.

Don't see it if You'll be bothered by the ridiculous play-within-a-play that has no connection to reality whatsoever and undermines the depicted, real rage.

Also The staging is terrific, and I loved the set design and four of the fi... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Profound, Relevant

See it if You like new works that are edgy and relevant. Great acting. Clever staging. Beautiful moments.

Don't see it if You get offended by profanity or need a regular plot.

Some good ideas but lost in a sea of banal scenes. the idea of the play within a play should work better to enrich the characters but it doesn't achieve that. and there is at least one too many bettys.

See it if you are a fan of the actors who in the main are terrific in their parts.

Don't see it if you are expecting 'collective rage'.

Disjointed, directionless, soporific despite the noise.

See it if you are dying to see Lea DeLaria in a play, though her acting was truly mediocre.

Don't see it if you are looking for character development or focus.The device of using Midsummer Night's Dream's play within a play had unexplored potential

Also In the very last speech there is some hint of what this play might hav... Read more Read less

Edgy, Quirky, Raunchy, Overrated

See it if You like the words I used to describe it and are curious to see it regardless of my opinion.

Don't see it if I like most shows using the words I described but found this to be trying too hard to be all those things. Usually like unique new voices

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy bold, socially relevant work founded upon brilliant and surprising writing, compelling performances, and exquisite design.

Don't see it if You don't like theater. Or you have problems with explicit discussions of sexuality, gender identity, and lions.

Funny, Clever, Dizzying, Great acting, Confusing

See it if Definite appeal to most under 35. Did not understand the anatomical reference, but it certainly shocked and got laughs. Great actors.

Don't see it if N/A

During previews
Intelligent, Refreshing, Great writing, Hilarious, Great staging

See it if you like new, intelligently written comedies that also comment on the socio-political reality of being women in the Western World

Don't see it if you are easily upset by words.

Also i.e., don't see it if you are a man who has no problem with expletives... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You like something different. An hysterical 1 & 1/2 hour of great acting, original staging, and wonderful women.

Don't see it if You are offended by sexual language, or queer characters and are looking for the same old thing.

During previews
Funny, Sharp, Touching, Sexy, Innovative

See it if you value innovative scripts, funny plays about serious subjects, or seeing women given the freedom to be unconventionally sexy onstage.

Don't see it if you want to see a straight play – whether by “straight” you mean “conventional” or you mean “non-queer”.

Also I value innovative script writing. I like to see plays engage subject ... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if You will either love this show, or hate it. I loved it - it is frank, funny, well written, and has a great cast. If you like good acting.

Don't see it if You can not handle discussions about sex on the stage.

During previews
Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if if you want to see a all female cast funny show that has women find new social and sexual lives

Don't see it if if your not interested in an all female cast

During previews
Edgy, Great writing, In your face

See it if You like cutting edge new work, skillful writing and directing, and an unabashed approach to lesbianism and queerness.

Don't see it if hearing the word pussy makes you squeamish.

During previews
Funny, Great acting, Heartwarming, Bold, Audacious

See it if you like kickass-take-names approaches to universal stories, abt friendship, longing, loneliness, rage. Absurdist, gritty, fun!

Don't see it if need linear stories, heteronormative characters, or fear the word pussy. The full title should be indication enough if the show is for you.

During previews
Great acting, Must see, Quirky, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if You're into smart yet ridiculous humor, you enjoy hilarious women who just happen to be playing lesbians, you're totally down for a ride.

Don't see it if You hate Ionesco, you're homophobic or misogynist, you get confused easily, you need a simple, linear plot.

Also Even the projections are laugh out loud- production value was super hi... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Quirky, Innovative

See it if you enjoy clever, innovative theater that breaks through boundaries, makes you think but is pure joy and entertainment along the way.

Don't see it if you cringe when you hear people talk about female body parts, don't want to see an all female cast, and don't want to laugh out loud.

Also This super charged, super funny, yet thoughtful play features five wom... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Great acting, Undefinable

See it if You're straight, gay, bi, etc .Everyone laughed. More about disparate personalities interacting. Amazing cast. Offbeat in a very good way.

Don't see it if If you like your theater straight (in more ways that one) Silverman does weird in the most accessible way imaginable.

Also Great to see women talking about sex for a change. But there's so much... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Hilarious, Innovative, Intriguing, Durang-like

See it if You like funny new ground-breaking plays well acted with a heart.

Don't see it if You don't like to hear women say the word pussy or if you have a problem with girl on girl plots and sub plots.

Also What a great evening this play is. Dana Delaney is great which is almo... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you like new and exciting American theater, you like an all star female cast, comedy.

Don't see it if You like traditional drama/theater and are uncomfrotable with curse words and certain topics re gender and love.

During previews
Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want to see an engaging, funny, well-acted, well-directed play that has the awesome Adina Verson leading the great cast.

Don't see it if you are put off by plays about lesbians and queers and discussions of pussy.

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