Already closed | East Village

Endlings

From 27 member  reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Clever, Absorbing, Great staging

About the show

On the Korean island of Man-Jae, three elderly women spend their dying days diving to harvest seafood. Across the globe, a Korean-Canadian playwright wrestles with the expectation that she write “authentic” stories." More…

From the show:

On the Korean island of Man-Jae, three elderly haenyeos—sea women—spend their dying days diving into the ocean to harvest seafood. Across the globe on the island of Manhattan, a Korean-Canadian playwright, twice an immigrant, spends her days wrestling with the expectation that she write “authentic” stories about her identity. This “fascinating, audacious and deftly satirical” new play by Celine Song, directed by Sammi Cannold, questions what we inherit and challenges who dictates the terms.


Member Reviews (27)

MEMBERS SAY:

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Clever, Absorbing, Great staging
77
Avg Score

80
Great writing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you like new work from an underrepresented voice that touches on family history, identity, and artistic voice

Don't see it if you prefer shows that stick to a traditional format, or don't poke fun at the audience and theater in general

30
The first hour of this play was very interesting, the story of three old korean women (haenyeos) who dive in the ocean daily to collect seafood, arduous work for meager pay. but the remaining 40 hours were unbearable, awkward, excruciating, & boring.

See it if you have an interest in the subsistence-level island life in South Korea and the preservation of SK's rapidly vanishing traditional culture.

Don't see it if you dislike plays that are insistently META and self-referential and self-indulgent.

Also How did a play that started with such promise morph into an excruciati... Read more Read less

85
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Clever, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy a play that surprises you with every turn that it takes.

Don't see it if you aren't a fan of unorthodox narrative structure.

During previews
91
Beautifully constructed, Brilliantly played, Wise, Funny, Innovative

See it if you want to experience a brilliant young playwright’s cutting-edge script that speaks to both the human condition & today’s social order.

Don't see it if you want a traditional play, or don’t feel like thinking about persisting structural racism or the toxic state of real estate in 2020 NYC.

Also I attended a reading of Celine Song’s “Endlings” nearly 2 years ago & ... Read more Read less

During previews
73
Super meta play about dying breed of korean female deep sea divers; kor-am playwright shows how she tries to shed "whiteness" of creative antecedents & current gatekeepers for plays by going back 2 her ancestral roots

See it if shows how Kor-Am playwright tries 2 find her creative identity; result-story of feisty/hilarious Korean divers that teems w life & loss

Don't see it if awkward 3-part structure moving from realism to meta-ism to absurdism; absurdist satire of white stage managers is blatantly obvious

Also My partner pointed out an arresting central metaphor in the play: the ... Read more Read less

During previews
72
Too many moving pieces, Unique, Indulgent, Ambitious, The parts of this whole do not a sum make.

See it if You want to see an artist finding her voice. You still believe whites control content and perception in art, theater and life.

Don't see it if You are not interested in the unraveling of at least three plots as they then begin to interweave. A tremendous amount of swearing.

Also Again prob above my pay grade. This was an appreciative multiracial au... Read more Read less

During previews
83
Thought-provoking

See it if Like diving into the unknown, choppy waters of the past with strange surprises and emerging in the present. Interesting immigration story.

Don't see it if Meta, non linear, playwright writing the play in the play, some strange parts aren’t your thing. Cussing older women disturb you.

Also Diversity: stars 4 Asian women! Three older and one younger. Addresses... Read more Read less

During previews
77
Clunky, Complicated, Refreshing, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if Delightful and surprising this dual tale has you switching back and forth between older Korean fisherwomen and a contemporary NY playwright.

Don't see it if angsty examination of white-centric male playwrights and cultural disassociation and ancestral heritage

Also So many surprising, fun and bright moments in this clunky and too long... Read more Read less

During previews
85
Postmodern, Self-referential, Charming

See it if you're interested in principles of authorship and identity in modern American theatre.

Don't see it if you often complain about being "preached" to.

Also effortlessly charming and legitimately funny.

During previews
49
Excruciating

See it if you want some kind of experimental theater and are not easily bored. This play is vaguely about race, culture, and being a writer.

Don't see it if you want to be entertained by a coherent story.

During previews
80
Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Great staging, Great acting, Clever

See it if You want to see a brilliant play about family connections, love, heritage and life choices all interwoven in ( at times ) very “ meta “ way.

Don't see it if You like more “ traditional “ plays with a script that follows a kind of predictable path. Some people might find a little self-indulgent.

During previews
75
Indulgent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Enchanting

See it if you want to see three Korean women with a way of life that is quickly becoming extinct - diving in the ocean for subsistence.

Don't see it if you don't like direct address to the audience; the "playwright" agonizing with you; mixing reality with absurdity.

Also The first hour is the elderly Korean women's story (interrrupted by a ... Read more Read less

During previews
75
Clever, Great staging, Cliched

See it if Was expecting (hoping!) to love this, but didn't find it as pointed as it could have been- mostly a little too broad, a little too gimmicky.

Don't see it if Some nice moments (the staging, the diving scenes, the "white play"), but never felt it hit as hard or as smart as it could have.

Also The play relied too heavily on its schticks: A lot of the humor - olde... Read more Read less

During previews
65
Funny, Disappointing, Banal, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if You like meta theatre and work that pushes boundaries, even if not entirely successfully.

Don't see it if You're looking for something with a true conclusion or a singular idea running things from behind the scenes.

Also Celine Song has written many really good plays, and this is not one of... Read more Read less

During previews
86
Delightful, Thought-provoking, Clever, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if a provocative play about the power of narrative, immigrant stories, theatre-making and the white gaze staged with flair and compassion.

Don't see it if if you meta-theatricality is not your cuppa tea, this is not for you

During previews
100
Great staging, Great writing, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Exquisite performances. Brilliant, personal, ethereal play about the choices we make in our lives, and how we love when we have no choice.

Don't see it if You don't like plays about women. You don't like plays about people of color. It's kind of a weird, quirky play.

During previews
79
Ambitious, Relevant, Intelligent, Great staging, Clever

See it if You support multicultural performers, like diverse stories and ambitious narratives

Don't see it if You don’t like the tear the metaphorical meat off the bone when you go to theater. You have to do the work.

During previews
75
Meta, Self-reflective, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Clever

See it if you're interested in how non-white writers are trying to deal with the delicate balance of writing something ... (cont. in "more to say")

Don't see it if you don't like meta plays, can't follow 3+ subplots at one time, want to wait until the dialogue/plots are perfected (felt rough-draft-y)

Also ...that is true to their ancestry, their past, their present, their he... Read more Read less

During previews
75
Indulgent, Great staging, Funny

See it if You enjoy inventive theater that does not follow the standard format with funny and interesting characters

Don't see it if You need a traditional plot and aren’t up for being intellectually challenged.

Also It feels like it’s going in one direction but there are twists. The ac... Read more Read less

During previews
95
Wonderful acting, unusual staging, exceptionally well-written

See it if interested in lives of people vastly different from yours and a world away, you enjoy masterfully written plays, especially about women.

Don't see it if you only like musicals, light fare or you lack imagination.

Also This is such a beautifully written, amazingly staged play. The acting ... Read more Read less

During previews
79
Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if Thought provoking, well acted play about Korea and the also about the challenges of bringing Asian immigrant perspective to American theater

Don't see it if You don’t want to see and hear more about the cultural dominance of white privilege and/ or don’t like didactic theater.

During previews
76
Absorbing, Resonant, Profound, Indulgent, Ambitious

See it if you want to learn about a group of women you may have never known existed you love an expertly-crafted set with tricks up its sleeve

Don't see it if “Meta” storytelling strikes you as self-indulgent You’d prefer one story told well to two stories told muddily

During previews
75
Funny, Entertaining, Confusing, Clever

See it if Enjoy smaller stages, want to learn about a culture other than American, want to see underwater on the stage, fun characters, great staging.

Don't see it if You don't like soapbox type plays, plays were actors are breaking the 4th wall a lot.

During previews
87
Entertaining, Ambitious, Delightful, Clever, Absorbing

See it if show was delightfully staged, fun, poignant, articulate.

Don't see it if no reason not to see show

During previews
91
Thought-provoking, Must see, Intelligent, Masterful, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a thoughtful, engaging, funny, interesting commentary on the role of race and location in America; it's brilliantly clever!

Don't see it if you need a strongly cohesive narrative; don't like meta theatre


March 9th, 2020
"In ‘Endlings,’ the Pain of Swimming Between Worlds: What do Korean divers and Manhattan playwrights have in common? A new play looks for the connection."
read more
March 9th, 2020
3/5 Stars. "These divers turn out to be red herrings for the bigger fish that Song is out to fry: herself, her creative process, and the systems supporting this very play. Although the result is less than cohesive, 'Endlings' is a bold and revealing act of autofiction."
read more
March 9th, 2020
"Every Day a Little Death: 'Endlings' and 'Unknown Soldier'"
read more
March 9th, 2020
"Diving for Metatheatrical Satire in Endlings: Celine Song's poison-pen letter of a play makes its New York premiere at New York Theatre Workshop"
read more

Related content


Cast & Creatives (4)