The Vineyard Theater presents this new cross-generational comedic drama by Colman Domingo and directed by Tony Award winner Susan Stroman. More…
The holidays are always a wild family affair at the Shealy house. But this year, Dotty and her three grown children gather with more than exchanging presents on their minds. As Dotty struggles to hold on to her memory, her children must fight to balance care for their mother and care for themselves. This twisted new play grapples unflinchingly with aging parents, midlife crises, and the heart of a West Philly neighborhood.
"Domingo has written an unsparingly honest play, one that sees family members talking to one another like only family members can. Directed by Susan Stroman, the pacing is terrific, and I could appreciate the way the conversations overlapped. 'Dot' is equal parts hilarious and devastating...'Dot' gave me that jolt of ferocity and authenticity I want in theatre; something meaty, with great writing and terrific performances. It's the first must-see new play of 2016." Full Review
"Colman Domingo tackles the subject with intelligence, heart, and humor in his magnificent new play…This is very much an actor's play, full of plum roles and juicy dialogue, some of which causes the forward thrust of the plot to meander off-course…We can forgive Domingo's verbosity: When the design is this perfect, the acting this good, and the one-liners this witty, we have no desire to hastily vacate the theater. Full of laughter and heartbreak, 'Dot' is an evening well-spent." Full Review
"Colman Domingo’s thoroughly entertaining comedy-drama…While conventional in form, it’s uproariously funny, if naturally streaked with sadness (and at times, a pinch or two of sentimentality). Mr. Domingo draws a complex portrait of a family in crisis…Ms. Stroman’s streamlined direction keeps the play from tilting too far toward the soap operatic, or for that matter the sitcomic…The cast is terrific...As the play progresses, Dotty’s gradual acceptance of her illness becomes deeply moving." Full Review
"The dialogue is fast, furious, quick-witted and often hilarious in this latest offering from Colman Domingo...There are plenty of cliché and politically correct and incorrect references...but the bottom line is the heart-breaking sadness that comes to bear in Act 2 of watching a loved one sinking into the darkness of Alzheimer’s...Domingo’s script captures the love and confusion." Full Review
"Colman Domingo proves his sharp ear for dialogue, witty lines and overlapping conversations that are as real as the neighborhood. He met Susan Stroman when he was featured in 'The Scottsboro Boys,' which she directed. They clearly share an understanding of the intricacies of today's families. Without bang-up gizmos or blinding lasers, 'Dot' is a powerful glimpse of the new normal family." Full Review
"Rollicking and affecting…Domingo knows how to write juicy roles for actors. In 'Dot,' all seven are given moments to gloriously shine…'Dot' is not yet quite in a finished state. The first act could use a little tightening, and there is a deceptive ending midway through the second...But no matter. Here is a play addressing what is becoming a familiar real-life family situation, and it does so in a manner that is very funny, very moving, and propelled by a wonderful team of actors." Full Review
"'Dot' delivers plenty on the page as well as the stage, Domingo’s visceral bite coming through at every turn, but director Susan Stroman occasionally undermines the strength of the source material...'Dot' delivers an often heart-wrenching drama as one family, in its own imperfect way, tries to navigate the inevitable. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease. Domingo respects his enemy, crafting a play that will tug at your emotions and inspire you to clutch your loved ones just a little bit tighter." Full Review
"A funny yet serious new play about a family's struggle with their mother's descent into dementia...This entire ensemble, led by Marjorie Johnson in the title role, is sensational...Their dedication pays off for Domingo, whose script is weighed down by a few plausibility issues that the audience seemed happy to overlook because the performances were so engaging." Full Review
"For all of the first act and much of the second, Domingo is in his finest full-speed-ahead form yet as a playwright. He charges between insane comedy and gut-wrenching drama with gleeful abandon, but without ever diminishing the impact of either. Potentially eye-rolling scenes...are handled with deftness and originality...The second act is rockier, as Domingo gives in to the kind of moralizing he makes fun of earlier." Full Review
"Hard as it may be to envision a hilarious comedy about a family facing the mother’s descent into dementia, that’s exactly what Colman Domingo has written in his new play at Vineyard Theatre...There is much hilarity, but the underlying situation of Dot’s deterioration is no joke. During the second act, the play bogs down a bit with some didactic moments and some sentimentality. The ensemble cast work well together...Despite the play’s flaws, the overall effect is very winning." Full Review
"In his third and most ambitious play to date, Domingo tackles a frightening issue with a fearless mix of bone-dry humor and warp-speed emotional shifts…Give Domingo credit for using his approachable, unique voice to call attention to an often-underrepresented issue." Full Review
"Regardless of all the warm-blooded talent involved in putting over Mr. Domingo’s patchily entertaining comedy, watching its charismatic central character deteriorating before your eyes as her loved ones attempt to deal with a foregone conclusion is far from easy, even when the play—loudly directed by Broadway A-lister Susan Stroman—is smothered in the feel-good bathos of a family Christmas gathering...‘Dot’ is basically a two-act, two-hour situation in search of a plot." Full Review
"All of this effort to make every character credible and establish their web of relationships is in one way admirable, and their various reconciliations often touching. If it adds up ultimately to a play that feels too long and too diffuse, we are left with the poignant memory of Marjorie Johnson as Dotty, who amid the hubbub of her family during their holiday party, quietly and with dignity faces down the future." Full Review
"The blend between the broad comedy and the moments of poignancy in Domingo's family drama isn't a smooth one, but at the center is a heart-tugging and sincere performance by Marjorie Johnson...Stroman's staging often looks awkward as the actors maneuver the crowded space...Thanks to the solid company the production is entertaining and often funny, though jokes involving chitlins, fried chicken, and watermelon-flavored vodka...seem more shticky than character-driven." Full Review
"The Vineyard Theater’s production has a lot to offer, though when dissecting the whole play it is flawed...The cast excels in this work...Mr. Domingo, who besides being a playwright is a talented actor/singer/ dancer shows promise as a writer...I am glad that this play is out there." Full Review
“Playwright Colman Domingo sees the absurdity and the human comedy in the messy, volatile, all-too-real family dynamic. Though the show occasionally veers to the maudlin, there’s much authentic emotion and comfort in this loss-of-memory tale. Problem is, the playwright stuffs his overlong play with enough plotting, themes and mid-life crises for multiple works…Only when the production takes a breather from the fraught storylines does the play find its focus, and its heart.” Full Review
"The many characters in 'Dot' seem like people [the playwright] might have known while growing up in West Philly, which is both good news and bad. It’s a colorful bunch to be sure, but the play wanders, and often resorts to sit-com level interactions to move itself along. Truth may be stranger than fiction, but it is rarely as well plotted." Full Review
"The production’s bigger-broader-louder approach does not cast the most flattering possible light on Domingo’s already overstuffed dramedy…There are likable characters and comedic bits worth savoring but they don’t have room to breathe; the show’s affectionate embrace of black and gay stereotypes becomes too tight a grip, and the heart gets squeezed out. Though amusing, 'Dot' comes off as a sitcom that doesn’t quite know what it wants to be." Full Review
"The first act of ‘Dot’ is strong and successfully introduces each character, delineates their specific conflicts, and paves the way for discovering more about Dotty and her illness. Unfortunately, this expectation remains unsatisfied. In the second act Dotty’s important story gets sidelined by the subplots…The script’s weakness overshadows the collective craft of the cast," Full Review
"While Domingo displays wit and compassion for his characters, too much of 'Dot' descends into familiar family-drama and sitcom tropes...That’s a shame because the play starts off so promisingly...But the script, acting, and Stroman’s direction become increasingly broad as more characters arrive...The characterizations contain sparks of verisimilitude, but they are drowned out by the play’s excesses." Full Review
"'Dot' is drawn in such broad strokes. Under Susan Stroman’s direction, the cast piles it on even further by dialing everything to 11. The usually reliable Sharon Washington is especially guilty, and when she finally tones it down toward the end, it makes you long for what could have been." Full Review
"Playwright Domingo sacrifices the play's emotional impact in favor of broad humor, much to its detriment. Even potentially powerful scenes are rendered kitschy. Encompassing themes of sexuality, family, and race the play is too wildly uneven to have much of an impact...The performers frequently get laughs, to be sure, but it's only Johnson, quietly dignified and restrained, who comes across as vitally real. Her mentally-impaired Dot seems the sanest person in the room." Full Review
"Scene after scene, the siblings have the kind of arguments we’ve seen countless times in forgettable Sunday afternoon flicks...The few moments of tremendous insight in Domingo’s script are diluted by his constant use of obvious manipulation and facile symbolism. There’s a point where the show has become so stereotypical that you wonder if you’re actually watching a satire of the dozens of similar plays and films that have touched on the same subjects." Full Review
"Perhaps more meaning could have been wrung from Domingo’s writing, but Susan Stroman’s oddly-paced direction sucks all joy out of it. The actors do their best to give texture to flat caricatures...Overall 'Dot' feels out-of-touch, and its well-worn subject matter is too scantly examined to feel worth a play." Full Review
See it if you love serious family drama & plays that tackle serious issues. I STRONGLY disagree that the play should end after Donnie plays the piano.
Don't see it if This is a decades-old tradition of African-American play-writing that has it's own style. See the following: http://scribblers.us/tj/?p=134
See it if ...you're interested in how families eb and flow in the face of struggles ...you like to laugh and cry at the same
Don't see it if ...you don't like swear words ...are hard of hearing - they talk a mile a minute / overlapping
See it if you like to belly laugh and ugly cry at the same time. This is a brilliantly funny and deeply affecting show. I can't stop thinking about it
Don't see it if you aren't up for family drama mixed with (some might argue) slightly over-the-top comedy. Personally, I loved the show.
See it if you can catch it! It's closing this thursday. Also, the characters are really well developed.
Don't see it if you can't bear any preaching. Towards the end of the play, the white gay character will give you a speech that breaks the fourth wall...ugh
See it if You like plays about dealing with family situations, and a touching story filled with both funny and sad moments.
Don't see it if You don't like lots of yelling and fast paced dialogue, or a play with a story that ends because our snapshot is over.
See it if you enjoy heart warming family sagas, are happy to see diverse casts, appreciate "coming home again" sagas, want to laugh amid problems
Don't see it if family reunions are not your thing, can't imagine a comedy about Alzheimers, you have mother issues
See it if You enjoy shows centered on family with well-developed characters, and great acting.
Don't see it if You don't want to see another show about aging or family dysfunctions, or don't enjoy the (ever so) slightly cliché.
See it if you want to watch excellent acting or you want to laugh and have your heart torn, sometimes in the same moment. The characters are very real
Don't see it if you like "tight" shows; while I disagree that it should have ended with the piano, I do think there was more in the play than necessary.
See it if you'd like to be pleasantly surprised by a family dramedy. I usually can't stand them but this one left my heart full and my eyes teary.
Don't see it if you don't want an evening of empathy. This production is beyond charming & refreshingly human, but the subject matter is very affecting.
See it if Excellent acting, often humorous yet loving portrayal of a family dealing with a mother's Alzheimer's disease. However, ran too long.
Don't see it if You want something light, or don't want to sit for 2 1/2 hours.
See it if when it wasn't a sitcom starring a black family, it was a great play about aging parents and their adult children
Don't see it if you have a parent suffering from Alzheimer's or senile dementia now, it would be too painful and truthful to watch
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