Members say: Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing, Intelligent, Ambitious

About the show

En Garde Arts presents a world premiere multimedia piece inspired by real-life experiences of young adults struggling to find meaning in their lives.

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This new documentary theatre event speaks to our collective search for connection and hope, as families grapple with the extraordinary pressures of the 21st century. It explores the challenges of coming of age in an increasingly fragmented society and presents multiple perspectives of trauma and recovery, anchored by real-life narratives that elucidate issues of mental health, addiction, and gender and sexual identity. Developed over two years through firsthand interviews and extensive field research, 'Wilderness' features a driving folk score and sweeping video landscapes.

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The New York Times

"A terrific, moving new multimedia theater piece about troubled youth...Despite the complexity of its structure, the production’s emotional fluency is bell-clear, as is its honesty about the complex and sometimes mysterious roots of the characters’ problems...The young actors are all superb...'Wilderness' is at its eloquent best when it is simplest, when the characters and their parents discuss their lives, in unadorned language, with an honesty that is deeply affecting." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"There isn't much new here. The play never becomes more than a static after-school special of the '90s. The performances themselves also feel forced and not fully lived in...Director Bockley places this collage together as best as he can, though the performances can never recover from their moments of forced sweater-on-chair ballet. I craved more time with each scene, allowing us to understand and explore each moment with nuance rather than melodrama and interpretative dance." Full Review

Village Voice

"A compassionate glimpse at the outer edge of teenage angst...A smart ensemble of young actors turns the real-life stories from Hamburger's research into an endearing constellation of high school kids in distress...Though it's poignant to hear from the parents, the interactions between the teens are what's most compelling here...There's a lot of beauty here. Between scenes, the teenagers perform unison choreography, which is, often, evocative and graceful." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"What could be maudlin and sentimental is anything but. In one of the most vivid moments a kid reveals that her mother tried to hang her when she was younger. A counselor burst out into tears (usually crying onstage is the sign of lazy writing) and when asked why says, 'it just seems like someone should cry,' in a plainspoken way that can only break your heart. One of the greatest strengths of 'Wilderness' is that it feels too real to be a play." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Now and then the juxtaposition of interview footage with scripted scenes took some of the punch out of the latter...Interpretive movement sequences, directed by Devon de Mayo and Patrick McCollum, did not seem entirely necessary but nonetheless fit in with the overall aesthetic. While some of the stories, at times, seemed to become repetitive, the play ends on an uplifting note...In the hands of its talented cast and imaginative creative team, the stories take on incredible life." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Preachy, Ambitious, Dizzying, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if You want to Know more about camps for teenagers run by a therapy group

Don't see it if A play with a " relevant " but " preachy " message might bore you

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

See it if Last day today. But it's being published. Yay. Great play for parents and young adults. Authentic and moving.

Don't see it if If you like traditional plays.

Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You want to see something deep and moving about troubled youth. You want to hear the parents view about their troubled youth.

Don't see it if You want light and fluffy. You don't have a problem with extreme measures taken for dealing with troubled youth.

Also This was very interesting and moving. I can understand a parent feelin... Read more Read less

Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you like-docudramas-plays about mental health/adolescent psychology-stories about family dynamics

Don't see it if you don't like-strong language-stories of individuals dealing with trauma and struggling to work through them

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You enjoy documentary stories. You like natural, realistic dialogue & relationships. You like plays about social issues.

Don't see it if You want light entertainment. You don't like plays about social issues. You prefer more crafted dialogue w/a clear, resolved ending.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy poignant, yet not melodrama . A small show that get its message across with ingenuity , insight, tact & thoughtfulness.

Don't see it if ...if you have no interest in human frailty , mental illness or the human race.

Also Closing this weekend go downtown and see it, you won't be disappointed... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Surprisingly funny

See it if Have teenagers and wish you knew how to relate to them as they struggle with stress, anxiety, and low self esteem. Very touching but slow.

Don't see it if You would not be able to relate to privileged kids on an expensive camping trip as therapy. Or You don't enjoy multimedia shows on stage.

Also This show is a great conversation starter for any parent struggling to... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Profound, Resonant

See it if Really powerful and personal. Everyone should be able to relate to something in it. Emotional piece for sure. Clever use of visuals.

Don't see it if You don't like self-examination pieces or therapy centered narratives.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you want a multimedia drama/documentary about troubled teens & the pain it causes them & their families

Don't see it if you would be distracted by or find the play slowed by videos interspersed with the acting

Also I thought the actors did a great job of portraying not only their own ... Read more Read less

Preachy, Ambitious, Indulgent, Disappointing, Lackluster

See it if you're interested in an experiment about how to combine documentary style footage with live theater or are compelled by the topic.

Don't see it if you prefer shows that show, as opposed to tell -- the script uses a framing device that is better suited to a documentary than to theater.

Also I feel bad criticizing this show because it's clear that the subject m... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great singing

See it if You like documentries,true stories, are a parent,sibling or friend of a person suffering from mental illness, addiction or trauma.

Don't see it if You are looking to see a comedy or are upset by the serious subject matter. I saw some audience members moved to tears.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Innovative

See it if You are open to a novel staging concerning teens with behavior issues trying against their will to deal with their problems.

Don't see it if The problems don't concern you, or you do not care for an episodic plotless approach to theater.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you enjoy mixed media presentations. It really works here.

Don't see it if do not like dramas about broken people from broken families and the results there from.

Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Slow

See it if Absorbing, heartfelt work about psychic healing thru therapy in the wild. Intense acting & multi-media presentation help cover bumpy script

Don't see it if Entertainment value is questionable, an evening of mental illness is difficult; has a bit of public service/presentational quality about it

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

See it if you enjoy real problems for youngsters in today's world,

Don't see it if you only need a story of Life With Father in a happy fantasy world.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You are interested in plays about current social issues. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to be involved in a Q&A after the show.

Don't see it if You're looking for theatre that is all wrapped up with a neat little bow. Mental health and life is messy, and this show doesn't candy coat

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if If you have had someone in your life with profound family and social issues.very personal and emotional beautiful preformed and written

Don't see it if If you don't want an emotional,soul investigation into adolescents and parenthood with all the black and blue marks

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Refreshing, Relevant

See it if you want to see a well written show performed by talented young people even though its a little long

Don't see it if you can't handle the black and blue marks that come with parenting

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if you're interested in documentary-style theater exploring lives of real people.

Don't see it if you want to see a "story" with linear plot.

Intense, Innovative, Affecting

See it if Intrigued by the potential and challenges of documentary theater, interested in mental health/therapy, bravura performances by young actors

Don't see it if Looking for giddy entertainment, not interested in seeing a sobering, heart-wrenching show drawn from real life

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you're interested in being moved by the stories of parents struggling to raise their teenagers, based on and interwoven with real people.

Don't see it if you don't like documentary theater.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

See it if you're interested in hearing stories of adolescence and families focusing on identity and finding yourself.

Don't see it if you'd prefer to see actors of a more professional caliber delivering strong material. Some of this felt rushed, moments were too short.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You enjoy well balanced and intelligent writing about very real problems.

Don't see it if You want easy answers to how children become problem kids.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You're interested in the topic of mental health in teens and how their parents deal with it

Don't see it if You are triggered by self harm, sexual abuse, or other things in that vein

Also The topic was truly fascinating and important but the acting style see... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Profound, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you like multimedia presentations and want to see a gripping story of young people healed by nature. Anne Hamburger is a genius. Must see!

Don't see it if You are not interested in teenagers and their parents.

Cast & Creatives (19)