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Dying City

From 171 member  reviews
Members say: Slow, Great acting, Disappointing, Absorbing, Confusing

About the show

Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Colin Woodell star in Christopher Shinn's intimate and compassionate play, where a young widow receives an unexpected visit from the twin brother of her deceased husband.  More…

Set in a spare Manhattan apartment,"Dying City" explores the human fallout of global events, including the Iraq War and the terrorist attacks of 9/11, through the interwoven stories of three characters in this 2008 Pulitzer finalist.


Member Reviews (171)

MEMBERS SAY:

Slow, Great acting, Disappointing, Absorbing, Confusing
68
Avg Score

75
Disappointing, Relevant, Intense, Absorbing, Great writing

See it if You want to see a well written play, still relevant today even though it deals with headline topics (war) more than ten years old.

Don't see it if You expect unforgettable performances. This play is written better than it’s performed here. Draws you in but leaves you unfulfilled.

83
Thought-provoking, Quirky, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Nice acting. Fascinating story re: twins Being a twin myself, gave it an extra punch and more thought)) Script leaves many "whys?"

Don't see it if A two hander. Minimal set. Avoid 1st two rows for this show as stage has been remodeled.

71
Relevant, Insipid, Absorbing, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if you'd like a study in how death affects people differently & how people once close can ignore you. There is something good here but lacking!

Don't see it if it gets a little tedious with the back and forth, though it is well done and the actors are great. Triggers include war and 9/11.

68
Slow, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Overrated, Disappointing

See it if you like plays that jump back and forth between time, interesting concept of woman confronting her grief with dead husband's twin.

Don't see it if you don't want to leave the theater scratching your head over how this was nominated for a Pulitzer, want to feel invested in the characters

63
Frustrating, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You like plays with small casts that act well. You like the actors.

Don't see it if You want a story that makes sense or directing choices that don't leave you gritting your teeth in frustration.

Also They set up a great transitional system that they only used once. The ... Read more Read less

79
Strikes many 21st century keys, A "do you remember?" play, Winstead & woodell outstanding, Thought-provoking, Timely

See it if desire 21st century look at relationships, therapy & hot button issues, like time played with & actors playing twin roles, & ideas addressed

Don't see it if don't like conflict & dredging up past, need everything carefully spelled out, & happy ending, don't care for Long Days Journey references

35
Bad sight lines, Really boring, Good acting, Pointless, Boring

See it if you need to come in out of a monsoon. Otherwise save your time and money.No idea what the point of the whole play was.Acting is good.

Don't see it if you have ANYTHING else to do.Root canal is preferable to sitting through this one.Sight lines were awful.It just doesn't go anywhere.

64
Ambitious, Slow, Disappointing, Confusing, Cliched

See it if A look at the survivors of a tragic soldier story. The actors are likeable. The story is so-so.

Don't see it if 2 actors for 3 parts is confusing at times. The denouement was not a surprise. Honestly, I had a hard time remembering this 2 days later.

73
Different, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You like unusual relationship stories, stories about war or are specifically interested in plots including twins.

Don't see it if You require fully developed characters & plots with smooth transitions, or you are sensitive to bad relationships or the death of a love one

50
Unrelenting, Slow, Insipid, Terrible staging, Disappointing

See it if Sorry, can't come up with a reason. You want to support 2nd Stage?

Don't see it if You want to have fluid acting. These actors were static and lifeless. You want a narrative that makes sense.

Also SPOILERS AHEAD:... Read more Read less

65
Relevant, Slow, Indulgent, Excruciating, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy a recent period piece about manhood, sexuality and abuse written pre MeToo

Don't see it if You like a direct, matter of fact play about Male female relationships

69
Confusing, Well acted, Thought-provoking, Slow, Uneven

See it if Interested in toxic cultural climate, therapy, twins upbringing, masculinity, war, PTSD, secrets, reveals, political divisiveness.

Don't see it if don't like shifting timelines, 1 actor playing 2 parts ( though very well), not being sure of what the playwright is trying to get across.

Also Some thought provoking points are raised, but never satisfactorily ans... Read more Read less

82
Unsympathetic, Interesting, Indulgent, Good acting, Okay

See it if you’d enjoy a play that is interesting and well performed (especially by Colin Woodell), but doesn’t feel like a satisfying experience.

Don't see it if you need a sympathetic character to get invested. They each had moments in which I thought there might be one, but it didn’t materialize.

83
Great acting and writing, Engaging, Slow-yet-steady build to revelatory moments, Uneven pacing, Thought-provoking

See it if a one-act play about family revelations, twin brothers, war, and therapy sounds appealing; you don’t mind working to hold it all together.

Don't see it if you'll be confused by multiple timelines/storylines and one actor playing two parts; if you need something fast-paced and groundbreaking.

Also Dying City begins with a slow, awkward reunion between a widow and her... Read more Read less

70
Confusing, Pointless, Great acting, Slow, Ambitious

See it if you want a well acted piece with a weak premise and meandering plot. Lots of talking, not much action, inconclusive resolution.

Don't see it if you want a play with dialog that propels the plot somewhere interesting.

50
Confusing, Slow, Overrated, Boring dialogue, Who was adam anyway?

See it if a two-hander playing three characters is appealing, set in current times in NYC, or if Pinter-esque dialogue without insight is for you.

Don't see it if a plot that makes sense, that doesn't leave you wondering what the point of sitting there for 90 minutes is about, is appealing.

70
Thought-provoking, Slow, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if you'd enjoy a story about family and guilt.

Don't see it if you want an action-packed story. This is a character-study play.

78
A bit contrived, Complex, Insightful, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you like psychologically complex plays that deal with effects of upbringing, war, our society's mores, values & politics on people.

Don't see it if you dislike struggling to interpret a very psychologically complex play with politics and come contrivance "thrown in."

69
Intelligent, Slow, Overrated

See it if good acting in a two-hander

Don't see it if not a fan of Christopher Shin. No reason it was revived. Though it was done well

3
Wtf was the point????????????????????, Slow, Excruciating, Confusing, Banal

See it if you enjoy sitting though 90 minutes of a play that never goes anywhere and that sounds like a lovely way to spend in evening with strangers.

Don't see it if you have ANYTHING better to do like clean out a closet, re-paper the draws in your kitchen, or even alphabetize your pantry's can goods.

Also I hated it at just five minutes into the play. It was tortuous sitting... Read more Read less

63
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if Interesting play using relationships between twin brothers, one a deceased soldier, and his wife, to discuss views on Vietnam War, politics,

Don't see it if Playwright seems to cover too many issues.Plot seems contrived at times.

Also psychotherapy,therapist-patient issues.Actors performances hold your a... Read more Read less

86
Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Resonant, Intense

See it if you like dark historical drama re politics, military, misogyny, gay/straight/paternal/maternal/therapist patient relations, violence, death

Don't see it if you prefer light non-political theme, comedy or musical, large cast, costumes, set, multiple acts, linear plot, or 9/11 or Iraq is trigger

Also Stage reminiscent of a smart phone, tablet, or flat screen monitor is ... Read more Read less

75
Entertaining, Frightened writing, Disappointing

See it if you want to see a show where the characters are forced to deal with who they are and who they aren't - it isn't pretty.

Don't see it if writing that runs away from the most powerful ending makes you want to run from a production.

Also This may have been Shinn's first director job, but I thought his direc... Read more Read less

65
Discussion-provoking, Good dialogue but unresolved script, Absorbing, though weak payoff, Great set, lighting and staging, Great acting

See it if You're up for a well-acted theatrical Rorschach: a script with lots of telling, not much showing, leaving interpretations wide open.

Don't see it if Inattentive, impatient for narrative or confused by time shifts & twins played by one actor. Characters & plot revealed slowly over time.

Also An interesting premise rife with possibilities which instead plays as ... Read more Read less

35
Clever, Confusing, Slow, Excruciating

See it if One actor doubling two brothers across time (well-staged) & some ok performances are the only positives here.

Don't see it if Even at 75 minutes, it dragged. The ultimate revelations managed to be both boring and offensive.


June 3rd, 2019
"Woodell and Winstead register as comfortable and natural on stage. Then again, this a play about discomfort and unnatural acts…The same matter-of-factness extends to the production as a whole…This ‘Dying City’ feels less like a haunting than an exorcism. Mr. Shinn’s play remains of topical urgen...
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June 4th, 2019
"Although Shinn is a hugely gifted playwright, he is an inexperienced director; the result is a middling production that feels detached from the play’s insightful examination of how trauma can misshape lives. Winstead...barely musters more than a shrug in her tricky passive-reactive role, which l...
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June 3rd, 2019
"Shinn relies solely on the writing and the performances for dramatic impact, and the results are stultifying...While Winstead delivers a sensitive turn as the grieving widow plagued by demons, her lack of theatrical experience becomes apparent…But the evening's lack of emotional impact is not so...
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June 6th, 2019
"It’s one of the finest new American plays to open in this century, a deeply serious drama of overwhelming emotional impact...It’s Ms. Winstead who will surprise you, though: Lately of FX’s 'Fargo,' she is making her stage debut in 'Dying City,' but there is nothing at all unsure or unformed abou...
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