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New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties

From 26 critic and 187 member reviews
Members say: Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Clever, Entertaining

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.

1h 30m | Already closed | Lucille Lortel Theatre (West Village)


95
TheaterScene.net

"These women may have choices, but they must find themselves first in order to make use of them. Mike Donahue along with five hugely talented actresses create delicious fun as the play satirizes a great many issues for women today, with feelings we all share. The language and anarchy of 'Collective Rage' may be too liberated for some, but the work is persuasive, original and witty. With this play, Jen Silverman becomes a unique and new voice in the American theater." Full Review

95
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." Full Review

90
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

90
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

90
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

85
BroadwayWorld

"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

85
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

85
ZEALnyc

"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

82
BSonArts

"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

80
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

80
Theatermania

“’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

80
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

80
Variety

“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

80
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

75
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

75
Newsday

“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

75
Show Showdown

“’Collective Rage’ is structured in a way that's kind of Shakespearean, kind of postmodern, and--given the frequency with which the word ‘pussy’ is used...kind of vaginal: it's basically a play within a play, even if the narratives of both aren't especially linear or totally cohesive...I'm not convinced that this is the deepest, most profound play about contemporary women I've ever seen in my life, but it's great fun and, for all the havoc, curiously reassuring, which goes a very long way lat... Full Review

70
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

70
Theatre Reviews Limited

“A welcomed examination of gender and sexual status in the attainment and celebration of equality. Although Silverman’s new play adds little in content to the discussion, her method(s)...is/are somewhat unique and engaging...One wishes to know more about each Betty...Less humor and more opportunities to care about these Betties seems needed here for a more satisfying result.” Full Review

70
CitiTour

"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

70
New York Magazine / Vulture

“It’s not that ‘Collective Rage’ is a very bad play...it’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

65
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

65
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

60
CurtainUp

“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

60
New York Stage Review

“It’s no insult to four of the five smart, funny, highly capable actresses...to 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


99
Delightful, Great acting, Excellent writing, Brilliant,

See it if u want 2 understand “everywoman” of all ages brilliantly captured. Whole cast wonderful and Adina Verison a MUST NOT MISS.

Don't see it if the above is unacceptable to you

Also I am 80 years old and had a preconceived notion this play would be too... Read more Read less

99
Clever, Quirky, Raunchy, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you want to see 5 extraordinary women in a fast paced piece that deals with sexuality uniquely

Don't see it if you don't like plays written about lesbians; you are offended by the colloquial word for the female genitalia repeated countless times

95
Great acting, Must see, Quirky, Resonant, Hilarious

See it if you enjoy witty, female driven comedies with phenomenal acting and clever staging.

Don't see it if you are homophobic, or don't enjoy comedies.

95
Funny, Delightful, Refreshing, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you have any empathy for women at all

Don't see it if the word pussy bothers you

Also In our current political climate, this was exactly the play I needed t... Read more Read less

95
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.

93
Funny, Delightful, Enchanting, Quirky, Resonant

See it if / for some absurdist female-empowerment hilarity with some great actors.

Don't see it if you want something naturalistic and plot-driven.

92
Delightful, Quirky, Relevant, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You want an absurdly comedic skewering of women's issues in a series of fast paced vignettes with a stellar cast. I laughed out loud alot!

Don't see it if You want a serious drama or you're not comfortable with lesbian themes & talk about female genitalia. In this case, I found it hilarious!

Also I was pleasantly surprised by this play! From what I had read, I didn'... Read more Read less

91
Funny, Clever, Raunchy, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you want to see five excellent actors and great staging in a play examining women's roles (sexual and societal) in today's society.

Don't see it if you are put off by a frank discussion of genitalia (meow!) and LGBTQ issues.

90
Funny, Delightful, Intelligent, Refreshing, Romantic

See it if a joyful, chaotic ensemble comedy about queering the world through community theatre. Sweet, droll, playful and delightfully rude.

Don't see it if you're offended by frank sex talk.

90
Clever, Edgy, Intelligent, Raunchy, Entertaining

See it if You are not easily offended by words like "pussy"; if you enjoy seeing different female archetypes portrayed by gifted actresses.

Don't see it if You do not find feminist comedy entertaining.

Also I laughed a LOT, but the super-starched Connecticut 60-something next ... Read more Read less

90
Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky, Relevant

See it if You like quirky, raw, HONEST storytelling with some fierce actors all hitting every note. Very timely, topical and sincere.

Don't see it if You’re homophobic or misogynistic...I mean...you’re exactly who SHOULD see this...but you’d hate it.

Also Not exactly sure why but this play pushed a lot of the same buttons th... Read more Read less

90
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you like adventurous, distinctly theatrical work that speaks uncannily to the moment we're in without being polemic or apocalyptic.

Don't see it if you're not up for looking at your own discomforts. The play is unapologetic in embracing words and tropes that make some nervous.

90
Funny, Delightful, Quirky, Indulgent, Entertaining

See it if You like wacky vignettes, quirky characters, and rage and love.

Don't see it if You are at all squeamish with language particularly the "p-word," or sexual humor.

90
Funny, Great acting, Quirky

See it if You like women-centric dramedy.

Don't see it if You're offended by #metoo or feminist ideas.

90
Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You enjoy experiencing a thought provoking, unique performance with interesting staging and excellent acting. Truly meaningful and clever

Don't see it if You are easily offended by raw and loud hip hop music, repeated profanity and sexual innuendo, and LGBQ issues

90
Funny, Smart, Serious, F..k yeah!

See it if You are in for a funny investigation of female angst of several varieties. It may play like fluff, but it is not fluff.

Don't see it if You are immune to the charms of a serious look at contemporary anomie, presented with surprise and fun.

90
Funny, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if If you enjoy humor especially with references to the female anatomy

Don't see it if Are easily offended by gay/lesbian characters, foul language and references to the female anatomy.

89
Funny, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Gender queer

See it if You want to see great performances by actors you know, like comedies that push limits without following a traditional plot

Don't see it if Uncomfortable with gender and sexual fluidity, get offended by the word p*ssy, it's used a lot.

Also While ALL the actors bring their A game, Ana Vllafañe is Hilarious

89
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.

88
Funny, Clever, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if You're interested in queer stories, stories about women, and want something both funny and thought provoking

Don't see it if you don't want to hear a certain word about female anatomy beginning with "P"

87
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you love plays exploring women's anger, expression, sexuality, and acceptance. You enjoy plays that push the boundaries about presentability

Don't see it if You prefer easier to digest plays that are more straight-forward and entertaining. This play requires a specific mindset to fully understand

87
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Hilarious, Unusual

See it if you enjoy a quirky, hilarious, and well-acted exploration of very different women's relationships with each other.

Don't see it if you only like traditional drama; you're homophobic or misogynist; you aren't prepared to laugh when the furniture falls from the ceiling.

87
Delightful, Must see, Raunchy, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if you want a sharp, smart, feminist show w/ characters so endearing & keenly crafted you'll find it shockingly easy to tell five Betties apart

Don't see it if you're easily offended by coarse language, queerness, diversity, feminism, or any of the other good things in life

86
Funny, Thought-provoking, Wacky, Fast paced

See it if you want to not be spoon fed what you're supposed to think or take away from the piece, see a show with an all-female cast and have fun!

Don't see it if the word "pussy" offends you, you are uncomfortable with the topics of female genitals and sexuality or want to know what's going on 24/7

85
Edgy, Intense, Innovative

See it if new writers with insightful points of view on complex interpersonal and political topics are exciting for you. Great acting and direction.

Don't see it if brazen, sexy, demanding women are more than you can cope with


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Cast & Creatives (13)