New York | Already closed


From 6 critic and 49 member reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Disappointing, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Great acting

About the show

In this provocative new play, 73 AD meets 2017 as young Jewish tourists on a Birthright-style journey in Israel come face-to-face with their heritage. More…

'Diaspora' tells the story of a contemporary Birthright trip visiting Masada, a Roman-era fortress and tourist attraction in the desert of Israel. While examining their identities and relationships to Israel and Jewishness, the travelers share the stage with a retelling of the infamous events that took place on Masada, almost two thousand years ago. As the two dramas mix and interact, staying on Masada grows more and more contentious and dangerous. A no-holds-barred, fresh, contemporary look at American Jewish youth, how they see themselves, and their relation to an ever-changing world.

Theater Pizzazz

"Nathanial Sam Shapiro’s splendid 'Diaspora' is so packed with feelings, history and ideas that it’s easier to laud than to describe...Director Saheem Ali deserves great credit for his sensitivity to the 8 actors in search of 22 characters in two time zones...Nathaniel Sam Shapiro is a playwright with a future. Three days after seeing the play, I’m unable to stop thinking about it...His scenes are intriguing. His dialogue is bold and funny." Full Review


"Though the characters portrayed in 'Diaspora' are largely archetypes, they raise many significant issues for the audience to contemplate...The playwright Mr. Shapiro and director Saheem Ali take an interesting approach to the telling of 'Diaspora' by including the audience as a character...Their use of humor helps make their points resonate, particularly with the younger members of the audience...The eight actors, several of whom play multiple roles, form an engaging ensemble." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"The 'Masada today' sections of the show resonate as true and familiar...I appreciate what 'Diaspora' is trying to do, but the drastic contrast between horny young adults and the somber subjects of war, treachery, and death might need some reworking. And some characters and storylines deserve more focus...Also contributing to the confusion is an abrupt ending...If Shapiro would only bring us into his world further, it would be more rewarding for all." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“But if Shapiro's ear for dialogue is lethally accurate in the contemporary scenes, he sometimes struggles with the historical aspect...It's easy to admire Diaspora's desire to strip away every layer of cant that has accrued to one of the world's most controversial and contested places, but Shapiro works so hard at it that he eliminates any possibility for drama...For all its ferocity, the play ends up being as dry as the desert that surrounds Masada.” Full Review

The New York Times

"The teenagers he creates don’t have any definitive opinions...Shapiro slams them for their silliness and ignorance and raunch, the women particularly. Trouble is, Shapiro, at least as evidenced by this play, doesn’t have much of an opinion either...He hasn’t found a way to express his obvious confusion...The intersections of 2017 and 73 never resonate meaningfully. They are two stories that play simultaneously: one narrative is ugly and frivolous, the other is a catastrophe." Full Review

Tablet Magazine

"The play tries to engage in both nuances of American Jewish culture and the history and politics of Israel, but what it does instead is give brief mentions to a series of surface arguments...Full of unlikable characters each representing a different half-baked perspective, the show is offensive to everyone and no one...I have yet to see an onstage reflection of the nuanced, thoughtful, complex approaches to Jewish identity." Full Review

Ambitious, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to be challenged by an intelligent, no-holds-barred piece of writing

Don't see it if You would be incensed by criticisms of American Judaism and the millennial religious experience

Clever, Entertaining, Ambitious, Delightful, Hilarious

See it if you like clever, funny and ambitious shows that blend the gravitas of the fall of Masada with the thoughts of modern Jewish youth.

Don't see it if if you do not like to see anything tied to how young Jews view a trip to Israel and how they think about things in general.

Also The show has wonderful lines such as the highest form of a JAP ( Jewis... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Annoyingly, dismayingly au courant

See it if If you're willing confront the reality of values and behavior of today's young Jews

Don't see it if If you're not interested in comparing the banality of the present with the excessive godliness of the Judaic biblical past.

Also The contemporary Jewish characters are dismayingly shallow, but alas I... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Hilarious, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if you went to a Jewish school at any point in life.

Don't see it if you aren't open to honest internal conflict.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you wish to see complicated issues thrust into the inner worlds of young people, most of whom are unprepared for that experience.

Don't see it if you don’t wish to listen to young people talk about what really interests them, in phrasing that they actually use.

Also I hope that this well-written and quality-staged production finds an a... Read more Read less

Great acting, Absorbing, Clever, Raunchy, Funny

See it if You're interested in the exploration of Jewish-American identity. You like millennials.

Don't see it if If profanity and sexual dialogue upsets you. Dislike millennials.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Dizzying, Thought-provoking, Edgy

See it if you are interested in examining Jewish identity, particularly as it relates (or does not relate) to the Israeli occupation of Palestine

Don't see it if you won't acknowledge Israeli occupation of Palestine, expect playwright to propose solution, are averse to plays without intermissions

Great acting, Relevant, Confusing, Raunchy, Clever

See it if you are, or can understand the language, lifestyle, and perspective of, a Millennial, in particular an American Jewish one, explore conflict

Don't see it if you cannot understand rapidly spoken Millennial-speak or are not interested in the philosophical/political conflict among USA college youth

Quirky, Clever

See it if You have an interest in Israel and some politics. Or can relate to young adults sexuality.

Don't see it if You hate Israel. Or hate permissive language

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious, Clever, Relevant

See it if you are interested in the relevance of religious issues today and like to see them juxtaposed with their origins.

Don't see it if you are easily confused by change of character, setting and time, even though an excellent job is done with the projections.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Refreshing

See it if You're a young Jew who may not be all that into Jewishness, or want to relate to the Jews of this generation.

Don't see it if Questioning Judaism and Israeli politics offends you. A 1:45 show w/o intermission is too long for you to sit through.

Also Were it not for the irritating and pointless flashbacks to 73 AD, this... Read more Read less

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Banal, Ambitious, Big ideas not fully formed

See it if You are interested in the problems of violence in Israel, Jewish identity, and religious conundrums.

Don't see it if Millenials, like, drive you crazy. You want linear explorations of complex issues. Frank talk about sex and some sexual activity offend you.

Also Muscular acting by a young cast presenting ideas that are there somewh... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Quirky, Relevant

See it if you enjoy jewish history; young people arguing

Don't see it if a bit long and scattered

Confusing, Absorbing, Great acting, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if You are familiar with Jewish history, customs and traditions. Want to see a well acted piece that blends old ideas with modern characters.

Don't see it if You’re not familiar with Jewish history, customs and traditions. Without that background I was lost and couldn’t follow most of the story.

Dizzying, Fluffy, Quirky, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you are interested in modern times and a little history

Don't see it if you like a solid plot

Cliched, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You like Millenial speak about contemporary identity crisis of Jews and their relationship with Israel

Don't see it if You want thoughtful drama. This is a disjointed confusing series of vignettes

Banal, Poorly organized

See it if you like a correct historical version of Masada.See it if you want insight in the range of current political sentiments in Israel.

Don't see it if you dislike when a playwright presents negative stereotypes of female Jewish teenagers, implying incorrrectly that most are promiscuous.

Disappointing, Boring, Pretentious

See it if like plays where teenagers constantly talk about sex. Interesting lighting and video design.

Don't see it if are allergic to flat characters and over-the-top performances.

Confusing, Disappointing, Raunchy

See it if you want to see actors, who displayed talent, dealing with a horrendous script. They, individually, playing multiple roles, deserve a "85"

Don't see it if you find non-stop, repetitive potty mouth unnecessary, you want something that begins to approach what a Birthright Group is.

Also As a Diaspora Jew,living part time in Israel, I know people who have b... Read more Read less

If you hate everything about israel but like sophomoric scripts, have i got a play for you!

See it if the performances were better than the inept script deserved; at times, they drew genuine laughs

Don't see it if painfully jokey; trivializes girls on Birthright as oversexed JAPs, BDS supporters as airheads; inexplicable subplot on ancient Masada

Disappointing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Confused choices, Missed opportunity

See it if you want to see a critique of Birthright and contemplate the downfalls of American jewry.

Don't see it if just that. Don't see it. A 1:45 show w/o intermission that is too long for you to sit through

Also At first I thought this show was a critique of Birthright, which I wou... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Edgy, Great acting

See it if you like a show with lots of bathroom humor at the expense of a serious subject like Masada or religion. The twenties crowd laughed a lot

Don't see it if you don't like lots of BJ and p---y discussions at the Masada site. Some bathroom humor I wouldn't have minded but there was too much.

Also I think the twenties crowd,especially the males, found this show amusi... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Dynamic

See it if You want to see a fresh modern fast paced perspective, great ensemble work, delicious characterizations.

Don't see it if you only like slow moving classics

Absorbing, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if You can relate to college age kids Have an understanding of the politics and history of Israel

Don't see it if You are easily offended by sexual language or explicitness

Also Great acting as characters move back and forth thru history... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Raunchy

See it if You want to see a young talented cast. Unique use of space and time.

Don't see it if Don"t mind hearing the "F" word constantly and Irreverant remarks about Judaism and the Holocaust.

Cast & Creatives (15)