Describe the Night
Closed 3h 0m
Describe the Night

Describe the Night NYC Reviews and Tickets

(203 Reviews)
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Great writing

About the Show

Set in Russia over the course of 90 years, the Atlantic's new epic drama from Rajiv Joseph ('Guards at the Taj') traces the stories of seven men and women connected by history, myth, and conspiracy theories.

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Member Reviews (203)

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67 Reviews | 21 Followers
Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Intense, Masterful

See it if you love a great intricate story

Don't see it if you don't like long shows. its 3 hrs long

220 Reviews | 42 Followers
Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if An interesting take on a period of Russian history that links the three acts.

Don't see it if You like to be spoon fed and don't like to think much

72 Reviews | 8 Followers
Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Great writing, Great staging

See it if totally engrossing drama about the relationships between a group of people in Soviet Russia & East Germany

Don't see it if there's no real message here, there's no real destination. it's not a traditional type of narrative play that tells a clear, specific story.

350 Reviews | 162 Followers
Compelling, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You want to see a fascinating historical drama that follows a compelling story over 90 years.

Don't see it if You are looking for something light and don't want to think Read more

95 Reviews | 29 Followers
Clever, Absorbing, Intense, Profound, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in WWII history and want to see good actors in action.

Don't see it if you get bored from talks about politics, Nazis, and don't like gun shots in the theater

116 Reviews | 35 Followers
Ambitious, Absorbing, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if an interesting and well-acted story told in a creatively and complexly crafted play--engaging all the way through

Don't see it if you require huge emotion--this play's strengths are its intelligence, poetry, and moments of wonderful writing

118 Reviews | 26 Followers
Absorbing, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if You like novelistic drama drawn from history and relevant to the present .

Don't see it if You have difficulty following jumps in time periods.

153 Reviews | 24 Followers
Absorbing, Great acting, Clever, Entertaining

See it if A very dramatic telling of a historic story; felt captivated from the first second

Don't see it if You don't like strong drama, and perhaps history. I think both leads were terrific

Critic Reviews (32)

The New York Times
December 5th, 2017

“A frankly tiresome play...Joseph's comedy wilts rather than blossoms in proximity to his tragedy, and his tragedy droops into bathos. The production, directed by Giovanna Sardelli, is no help...The root problem is that the characters are mere conveniences, bent like pipe cleaners into the shapes required by the overbearing plot. You spend a lot of time wondering if they are real — to history, that is — but none wondering if they are true. All too evidently, and disastrously, they are not."
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Time Out New York
December 6th, 2017

“Ambitiously complex…In a nearly three-hour play, it's impressive that Joseph keeps everything spinning almost to the very end. What's missing, though, is a sense that there's a center to the whirlwind. What idea, other than ‘fiction exists,’ is all this historical flotsam whizzing around?...Still, it’s a pleasure that someone has finally figured out to fully exploit Tina Benko's talents...'Let me tell you a story,' the ancient Yevgenia creaks...And as long as she's telling it, it’s riveting.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
December 5th, 2017

“Dense and fascinating...A play about stories, one that begins in historical fact and spins outward...'Describe the Night' eels like a vital attempt to hold a mirror up to the former Soviet Union — in Joseph’s case, as an American playwright, a mirror in which we might also see ourselves...Intelligent, playful performances...The genius of ‘Describe the Night’ is its recognition of the intellectual overlap between Russia’s creators and its tyrants: both understand the power of story.”
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The Hollywood Reporter
December 5th, 2017

“No shortage of imagination. But, it lacks the emotional resonance to make us sufficiently care about its characters...The playwright doesn't succeed at blending his wildly different stylistic tones and narrative lurches with sufficient finesse. For every scene that crackles with dramatic tension, there's another that quickly lapses into tedium. The links between the characters and the complicated series of events depicted often prove frustratingly elusive to decipher."
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December 5th, 2017

“Ambitious, uneven and hard-to-describe...An intriguing but too-often confounding play...The writer gives his historically set storytelling a heightened imaginative lift. But often the changes in style are just too odd to fathom, coincidences are too much of a stretch...Sardelli directs with a wide and careless brush...The actors do their best to shift playing styles, but often the comic moments — and even some of the dramatic ones — are played so broad as not to be believed at all."
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New York Daily News
December 5th, 2017

“An ambitious but anemic drama...Puzzle pieces eventually all snap together as the dramatic mash-up explores the weight of history, the slipperiness of truth and the power of connections...Performances run the gamut from convincing to cartoonish under the direction of Sardelli. When all is said and done, the nearly three-hour play lacks a cumulative punch. Describe the 'Night' — intriguing, long, and low-impact."
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December 5th, 2017

“The kind of historical revisionism that is thrilling onstage, but deadly in government...Earnest performances are a key ingredient in the magical realism that Joseph and Sardelli impressively sustain for nearly three hours...An arresting production that often makes us feel like we're in a Russian theater...Much more than an engrossing tall tale...It heroically wrestles with the slippery nature of truth itself, and unnervingly demonstrates why its alternatives are so seductive.”
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Lighting & Sound America
December 6th, 2017

"We'd be more intrigued if the people onstage were more engaging...Then again, playwriting of this breadth and intellectual interest doesn't come along every day...There is considerable satisfaction to be had as the various puzzle pieces click into place...Even when the play is taking its own sweet time, one can enjoy a cast that is adept at hopscotching across the decades...There are the seeds of a more powerful play inside 'Describe the Night,' but, still, it's a risky, rangy work."
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