Last produced in NYC by Signature more than 20 years ago, this new production of "Curse of the Starving Class" honors Pulitzer Prize-winning Legacy Playwright Sam Shepard, who passed away in 2017. More…
Living a stagnant, unhappy existence in rural California, the struggling Tate family is desperate for change, but every family member has a different way of trying to improve their station in life.
"Watching the very entertaining first half of Mr. Kinney’s interpretation of 'Curse,' I wondered why it doesn’t come around more often. I had stopped wondering by the end. 'Curse' features some beautiful, signature Shepard writing, in which primal desperation becomes fervid poetry...The plot, though, seems to thicken like clotting blood...We aren’t as rattled as we should be by the play’s more violent and congested second half." Full Review
"May be overlong and lopsided, but still throws off sparks of that crazy Shepard vibe...Kinney’s staging is tight and propulsive, and he guides the actors to unlocking pure moments of animal magnetism...For the long (90-minute) first part of this production, Shepard’s black humor and the hard-working cast keep the gritty nonsense humming. It’s the final 40 minutes after intermission where things go truly bonkers and, sadly, dull." Full Review
“Kinney and his cast find memorable moments in Shepard’s darkly satirical play...Time has diminished some...shock value and the Signature’s production doesn’t dig deeply enough into the feeling the play seems to be after: It doesn’t pulse with the agony of stunted existence. But Shepard’s potent writing, with its raw pain and rich symbolism, still resonates. Its depiction of a white rural family worried about losing its homestead...seems very much in step with the national mood.” Full Review
"Terry Kinney begins his solid revival of the 1978 Sam Shepard drama with a jolting coup de theatre...But aside from the onstage appearance of an adorable, scene-stealing lamb, the rest of Kinney’s production never quite matches the shock of its opening moments...There’s not a great deal of subtlety here, either in the performances or in Shepard’s often on-the-nose metaphors. As a result, the reversals of plot and character in the last act fail to deliver the impact they deserve." Full Review
“A generally sturdy production that opts for some overly broad humor, diminishing the impact of the play’s turn to violent, grotesque tragedy. What should feel like a punch in the gut is more like a tap...The humor on display...is more in the vein of a particularly zany sitcom...In this production, one is too much aware of watching a play that is dealing with a set of themes. This reduces the ending’s emotional impact...We see the mess and the tragedy, but we don’t quite feel it.” Full Review
“The richness of the stagecraft in...Kinney's production feels obscene when one considers the story...These expensive-looking alterations are to the detriment of the script...This play about poor people shouldn't feel like it was art directed for Vogue. The performances vary...’Curse of the Starving Class’ is still brutally perceptive in its dreamlike depiction of American society, but it's hard to see that through the self-defeating opulence of this revival.” Full Review
See it if You don't mind a sub par revival of classic Sam Shepard play. The writing & themes still have value even in this somewhat anemic revival.
Don't see it if This is your first introduction to Sam Shepard.
See it if These characters were to me obnoxious.While their characters were truly defined or not is being left to the viewer?Too much dysfunction for
Don't see it if IF YOU WANT TO SEE A FUNCTIONAL FAMILY IN A LOVING SURROUNDING.
See it if you love everything Shepard (as I usually do); exceptional set; interest in an impoverished family trying to survive.
Don't see it if Don't appreciate dark, grim humor; not interested in how poverty affects the spirit, stomach & pocket; 1st act is long & slow; uneven acting
See it if you are a Sam Shepard completist and revel in dysfunctional family dynamics.
Don't see it if you are a Sam Shepard fan and are looking for cohesive style. For me the disparate acting choices were all over the map.
See it if you like Sam Shepard's blend of dark humor, oversized emotions and heavy doses of metaphor and if you don't mind grossness and male nudity.
Don't see it if you only like plays with characters that are at least a tiny bit sympathetic and if you have a low tolerance for tedious monologues.
See it if you are interested in the issues of the poor and the clash of the economic development with the rural classes.
Don't see it if if you are sensitive to alcoholism or abuse, or if you would not enjoy a play with unlikable characters.
See it if You want to see a thought provoking show & don’t mind it’s full of (bogged down with?) metaphors and takes its time getting to the point.
Don't see it if If you want a clear storyline or message or something fun and fluffy.
Also Moments of genius wrapped inside a LOT of hot air.
See it if a powerful performance by G. Geary as the son. His transformation from Act 1 to 2 is very powerful and affecting. He's the best thing in it.
Don't see it if don't have patience for same metaphors being slammed into your face for a drawn out 2 1/2 hours. M. Siff & A. Rothenburg seem like amateurs.
See it if A little-seen Shepard. Funny writing. Thought-provoking. David Warshofsky gave a great performance.
Don't see it if Not one of his best. Maggie Siff was disappointing. The 2nd act was so gross, it was painful to watch.
See it if Maybe it was cutting edge in its day but I found Starving Class to be full of unsubtle monologues and shock value excesses. Not for me.
Don't see it if Thought some of the acting was pretty awful and the direction not much better.
See it if you're a fan of Sam Shepard's particular brand of family dynamics and drama.
Don't see it if you want a play with more nuance than people constantly screaming or are expecting more interesting acting.
See it if Great staging of Shepard’s Pulitzer winning play. can you escape the starving class by starting over in Europe or Mexico?
Don't see it if dark lives of a dysfunctional American family... including many conversations around an empty fridge ;)
See it if You want to see a nice set reveal. It happens in the first 10 seconds and then there's not much else going on.
Don't see it if You want subtle acting choices because everyone is just constantly yelling. Also act 1 is v long at an hour 45 mins.
See it if you like Shepard, if you like dysfunctional families, if you like insane dialogue. Interesting, wild imaginative set, lots to look at.
Don't see it if You dislike crazy families doing crazy things (yelling, throwing items, being pulled by a horse in the mud) all for no sane reason.
Also Two and a half long long hours. A few funny bits, but not enough.
See it if You want to see this Sam Shepard play if you never have, which is why I went to see it. I was very disappointed. Interesting set.
Don't see it if If you want a pleasant time. There is so much screaming, the characters are so strange that you really cannot care about them.
See it if You like Sam Shepard, the set design and the acting is incredible from mostly non-NY actors
Don't see it if You tire easily. The first act is long but action-packed. The play itself kind of goes off the rails in the final act.
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