59E59 presents the world premiere of Andy Bragen's dark comedy about love and hate, and friendly and not-so-friendly competition. Tennis is just tennis...until it isn't. More…
Kate and Leslie explore the complexities of their boyfriends' competitive spirits in this explosive comedy. Russ has a temper. Brian has been known to cheat. As their weekly tennis sets play out aggressively onstage, Kate and Leslie dissect their friendship and rivalry in a volley of sharp observations and wry wit.
"This clever play by Andy Bragen features meticulous direction by Lee Sunday Evans and has a fantastic cast of four. It is a very entertaining yet thought-provoking piece about a tennis rivalry and how seriously players approach the game…'Don't You F**cking Say a Word' is an intriguing comedy about the games people play…The cast deliver the well-crafted, fast-paced dialogue seamlessly." Full Review
“Playwright Andy Bragen delivers a dexterous and controlled piece of writing…As the nuance of the match comes into view, so does the richness and emotional complexity of the relationships…These frivolous idiosyncrasies of the amateur athlete are elevated by the play, and in particular by Lee Sunday Evans’ elegant stagecraft as she renders the astonishing speed and agility of tennis in rich, arresting theatrical detail." Full Review
"Just when the show gets to be too much, too pat and too expository, the action moves towards a more traditional setting, a dinner party. With this change, 'Don’t You F**king Say A Word' shines anew. It is a very enjoyable evening of theater. Writer Andy Bragen and Director Lee Sunday Evans have done a great job wringing out the most from their characters and situations before moving on and changing up the pace of the piece." Full Review
"Bragen's hilarious play creates a snapshot of two years in the friendship of a pair of New York City couples…In this fast-paced, fun production, all four actors deliver performances of richness and humor. ‘Don't You F**king Say a Word’ fixes its more heartfelt moments in a comedic framework, and it earns its sincere emotional beats through well-crafted and well-played characters while also being one of the funnier plays that we've seen in awhile." Full Review
"The play, written by Andy Bragen, parodies the male-hormone-driven intensity of competitive tennis between two underemployed guys, Russ (Michael Braun) and Brian (Bhavesh Patel), while managing to drive home the point that boys will be boys, after all…It’s a fun 85 minutes, full of laughs, behavior that every couple will recognize, and a few things to think about on the way home." Full Review
"An all-star cast as far as off-Broadway is concerned, and they all deliver plausibly human performances, which is fortunate considering that Bragen traffics in occasionally stiff prose and musty 'Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus'-style clichés. It has the potential to get very old, very fast, but it remarkably never does. Some of the credit surely goes to director Evans and her slick staging, which keeps our heads in the game without getting bogged down in the tennis minutiae." Full Review
"Though the play attempts to dissect the relationship between two men in an interesting way, Bragen's writing ultimately lacks depth and doesn't end up saying very much after all. Acting choices, pacing and thematics are all appropriate thanks to Lee Sunday Evans' seamless direction, but it's the script itself which is the production's biggest hurdle." Full Review
"A fun, if a little unfocused, look at 21st century friendships…The whiplash involved in trying to follow the story could have been mitigated through different staging choices…Perhaps Bragen hoped the action would feel something like the tennis ball, volleying back and forth, but it didn’t work as a storytelling tool…The show ultimately lacks a climax…Still, 'DYFSAW' offers a fun evening and manages to raise questions in an interesting way without trying to serve up all the answers." Full Review
"The best thing about Bragen's new play is that it lets us spend some time with Jennifer Lim and Jeanine Serralles...This isn't much material for a play, but the two ladies help keep one's attention focused...When the big incident finally happens...it hardly seems to justify the lengthy buildup. Somewhere along the line, you start to notice that the play's format isn't hilarious enough for full-on satire...Still, under the solid direction of Evans, Lim and Serralles keep things watchable." Full Review
"Tautly directed by Lee Sunday Evans, and featuring an excellent cast, the play examines in minute detail the relationship between Brian and Russ...It’s quite flattering to Brian and Russ — and rather unlikely — that Leslie and Kate, who have lives of their own, would be so fascinated by these events...The play suggests that the tennis court is where the true self is revealed, but Mr. Bragen doesn’t go deep enough to accomplish that, or to make us feel invested in the question." Full Review
"The play's about the rivalry between the two men, but that's easily dispensed with...How to fill the rest of the show's eighty minutes? This vacuum is the play's main trouble...Though the play doesn't go particularly deep, it does offer us this adorable actors' doubles match as recompense...This is a play best enjoyed as an experts' warm-up. The cast boasts four very fine Off-Broadway performers, and they amplify the moments of connection within the otherwise slight piece." Full Review
"The scenes flash forward and back (which can be wearying) as the rage builds and tempers flare...The problem is that this scenario becomes all too repetitive and after a while goes nowhere...The stage is simply designed with a line down the center, replicating a tennis court, where Brian and Russ frequently pose, in still motion, executing a serve or backhand. Directed by Lee Sunday Evans, the competent ensemble gives pause to relationships of all kinds! Watch the balls fly!" Full Review
"The play unfortunately doesn’t take off until two thirds of the way through when all four characters actually sit, make eye contact and are able to communicate realistically. Only then does the relentless spewing of dialogue settle into a natural rhythm allowing the actors to drop in some meaning for the audience to care...Director Lee Sunday Evans sharply serves the first half of the play." Full Review
"Never quite recovers from a slow start, even if the interest level increases as its intermission-free 80 minutes approaches a conclusion...The action suffers from sometimes excessive foreshadowing...'Word' would have benefited from being less cerebral and more impassioned...All four actors are clearly eminently capable, so perhaps its format is what prevents the production from realizing its potential." Full Review
“'Don't You Fxxking Say a Word' adds another to the growing list of play titles potentially unprintable in family newspapers; that, I'm afraid, is about the most controversial thing about it. It's dressed up with some structurally clever tinsel, gets a briskly inventive staging from Lee Sunday Evans, and enjoys the presence of four expert actors, but what should be over in forty-five minutes takes about twice that long to bring the curtain down.” Full Review
"The narrative comes through clearly, thanks to Evans’s staging...There is nary a moment in the whole show where the heat of competition doesn’t burn palpably...The problem with the play—and it’s a big one—is that the two women never talk about anything beyond their boyfriends…While the male characters are made out to be the assholes, it’s the female ones who get it worst by not being defined at all...It’s a shame that Kate and Leslie are never allowed onto the court themselves." Full Review
"One of the consolations of a national tragedy, we’re also told, is that great art will come out of it. Perhaps it will. But while we wait, we needn’t settle for wearyingly so-so art like Andy Bragen’s 'Don’t You F**king Say a Word'...Full of such pop-psych noodling, but barely sketches the characters’ actual relationships. In the end, it’s so generic and familiar that the warning of its truculent title seems descriptive. The play has nothing to say." Full Review
"‘Don’t You F**king Say a Word’ is meant to be a high-octane comedy about an ongoing, competitive tennis match between two testosterone-fueled men and the women who love them. Unfortunately, the title is the most provocative aspect you’ll find in this otherwise dull play…It does have a few major laughs, but not enough to sustain 90 minutes (which feels endless). What it does have in its favor is a nimble, talented, and ethnically diverse cast." Full Review
See it if you like your plays to move quickly, with smart and snappy dialogue and dynamic movement; you're interested in the state of the modern man.
Don't see it if the emotional struggles of straight middle-class men seem self-indulgent to you, or you hate the idea that men find self-worth via sports.
See it if A light gender satire that feels like an extended sitcom. Pokes fun at competition both within and between the genders. Left me smiling.
Don't see it if It's a bit contrived. Still it makes me wonder about these little power struggles we have with our friends and family.
See it if you enjoy shows about relationships; tennis as a vehicle for one's personality traits; excellent direction and non-linear plot development
Don't see it if you don't care to see yet another show about family/relationship conflicts; you only enjoy linear plots and traditionally developed plays.
See it if You'd enjoy a show focused on a tennis rivalry and two couples arguing. The actors were all excellent.
Don't see it if You expect big production values. This set is spare but is used very well and really does look like a tennis court.
See it if You want to see a clever satire on both male sports frenzy and male-female relationships.
Don't see it if You need an elaborate set and costumes to feel engaged in a play. You want to leave the theatre with a plot worth serious debate.
See it if You want something different, clever storytelling, strong cast of 4, engaging, fast paced
Don't see it if You don't want to hear the F word, don't like non-linear plots, simple set (tennis court) or story about relationships, conflict,competition
See it if You like small theatre and interesting stage design. "Okay" with profanity, and have knowledge about tennis... It was high-octane at times
Don't see it if If profanity and tennis don't interest you; the references will go over your head... Good-acting, however...
See it if It's a light-hearted, well-acted -- Jeanine Serralles stands out in a uniformly excellent cast -- and extremely well-directed piece of fluff
Don't see it if It wants to find deep meaning in a tennis competition but doesn't deliver, leaving it an amusing sitcom
See it if You liked GOD OF CARNAGE or similar plays about what makes socially civilized behavior, gender roles, and competition in the 21st century.
Don't see it if You don't like sitcom-like (albeit intelligent) exploration of why and how men (and women) compete, and civilized behavior as a veneer.
See it if You would enjoy a thin play that centers on two tennis obsessed men that is mildly amusing
Don't see it if You like plays with complex characters and emotion
See it if enjoy shows about simple relationships & their problems, using the game of tennis as the focal point
Don't see it if want a show with a fancy set, are offended by profanity, don't enjoy tennis or understand some of it's basic terms
See it if Although the obsession of playing winning tennis is the cause of conflict among the boyfriends; it appear that it has ramifications
Don't see it if you like only classic theatre, this is a modern plasy. Tennis is used as metaphor, you can go even if you do not play or know the game.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies