Cullud Wattah NYC Reviews and Tickets

76%
(50 Reviews)
Positive
80%
Mixed
18%
Negative
2%
Members say
Relevant, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Ambitious

An Afro-surrealist play about 3 generations of Black women living through the Flint water crisis. 

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Member Reviews (50)

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72
Dramatizes devastating effects of flint, mi water crisis thru story of multi-gen black family of women; partially successful

See it if searing story family whose health/well-being blighted by disgraceful govtal neglect; arresting images/sounds of family trying 2 survive

Don't see it if after creative, soulful 1st act, play runs out of steam in 2nd act; overlong, too many scenes do not advance narrative Read more

77
Intense, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if About Flint MI water crisis with a family living thru this nightmare.

Don't see it if Runs to long and can be upsetting. Makes you think and that this is still happening.

75
Intelligent, Great acting, Relevant, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you are interested in the effects the Flint, MI water crisis has on 3 generations of African-American women. This is a very timely play.

Don't see it if you are interested in lighter fare or musicals. Read more

75
Relevant, Profound, Great acting, Important, Absorbing

See it if Explores the Flint water crisis through the eyes of a family of women. Tragic and heart-breaking.

Don't see it if If you were looking for an evening's light entertainment, this isn't for you. It's very disturbing. Even more because it's still happening.

80
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy a well written drama about current events

Don't see it if True "horror" stories upset you

84
Heavy hearted

See it if Deeply unsettling to watch a multi-generational family of Black women poisoned by the Flint lead water crisis, rooted in anti-Black racism.

Don't see it if Intersectionality (race, gender, age, socioeconomic status) with environmental harm, miscarriage, anti-Black racism aren't your thing. Read more

88
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Relevant

See it if well acted story that needs to be told along with family dynamics

Don't see it if want light fare. subject is serious.

50
Slow, Intense, Excruciating, Cliched, Disappointing

See it if and ONLY if a modern social strife drama sounds like how you want to spend your evening in a theater watching it unfold on stage before you.

Don't see it if you are looking to escape the real world for an evening of theater because this is NOT an escape but an ambush. Read more

Critic Reviews (11)

The New York Times
November 17th, 2021

"Inseparable as real-world calamity has become from the realm of art, Dickerson-Despenza’s “Cullud Wattah” is especially suited to a moment of environmental unrest. After the play comes to an abrupt end, the cast stands in silence before leaving the stage. They don’t return for a bow, as if this had not been a performance but a call to account."
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Time Out New York
November 17th, 2021

"4/5 stars! Transcends its issue-play roots. Dickerson-Despenza and director Jones personalize Flint's public-health crisis with poetry and feeling; familiar ethical debates and secret confessions seem fresh thanks to lived-in performances, exhilarating language and stunning aesthetics."
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Theatermania
November 17th, 2021

"It is, in short, a very ambitious work in story and style. Some of those ambitions are better realized than others: The characters, for one thing don't always escape the feeling of being mere mouthpieces for the playwright's themes rather than being fully realized people. Even at its shaggiest, though, there is a generosity of spirit to Dickerson-Dispenza's writing that is powerful enough to transcend its shortcomings."
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Lighting & Sound America
November 18th, 2021

If Cullud Wattah suffers from certain structural weaknesses, including a slightly pokey first act, any playwright who can write such unbridled scenes, sparing none of her characters, is someone to watch. Her work is filled with a controlled indignation that commands one's attention.
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New York Stage Review
November 17th, 2021

"5 stars! Though having to forgo their on-stage applause, Mitchell, Dickinson, Patterson, Pilgrim, and Walker are going to receive it here. There is no first among equals, which may owe their ensemble playing to being on so high a level that there’s no possibility of rising higher. The raised standard is also due to director Candis C. Jones, who thoroughly understands the script’s magnitude and sees to its full realization."
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TheaterScene.net
November 27th, 2021

All of us are probably aware of the problems of polluted water in Flint, Michigan, owing to civic neglect. However, it might shock you to know that it is still going on. Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winning play Cullud Wattah takes on this crisis through the prism of one family of three generations of Black women living in the same house. The material is powerful and explosive.
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Front Row Center
November 18th, 2021

"Playwright, Erika Dickerson-Despenza, has created a family of five kick-ass women whom you will fall in love with. You will laugh with them and love with them. This tremendous ensemble will have you wanting to join them for a meal, for a talk, a dance. And when they argue, and they will, you will not take a side because Dickerson-Despenza has weighed the arguments so that we understand and feel both sides...At the end of this beautiful powerful production, in the final moments, the actors leave an imprint that is stunning. This is a night out at the theater to remember for years to come."
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Exeunt Magazine
November 18th, 2021

"The play is a shriek of rage about this, a refusal to look away or forget or ignore what has happened and continues to happen in Flint. It’s an act of bearing witness, of acknowledging the horrors that this country is capable of visiting upon its own, especially when those “own” are Black and working-class. It’s a cry of pain, grief–and also guilt–from the American heartland, where a family must face this situation with no recourse and also grapple with their own levels of responsibility, not so much for what’s happening to them as for the compromised choices they are forced to make to deal with it."
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New York Theater
November 17th, 2021

tells the story of the Flint water scandal through its impact on a fictional family of five Black women. The play’s title is the way the women, Midwesterners with roots in the South, would pronounce “colored water,” This is an artful pun, which suggests both the language and the themes in the play…. a feel for the poetry of the Black vernacular
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The Wrap
November 17th, 2021

"Dickerson-Despenza is as gifted a storyteller as Kramer and Shange, and also a more conventional one. To drop yet another famous name into this review, “Cullud Wattah” is every bit as drum-tight in its plot as Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.""
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New York Theatre Guide
November 18th, 2021

"5 stars! Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s new play, Cullud Wattah, is a gut-wrenching, soul-stirring, masterwork of a production and solidifies her influence in American theatre."
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