Second Stage Theatre presents Lucy Teitler's dark comedy about ugly feelings in an age of beautiful self-images. More…
It’s summer in New England and every weekend is someone else’s engagement party. The wildflowers, specialty cocktails, and artisanal appetizers are totally Instagram-worthy, but the people are not quite so perfect. One night, Lauren decides to make sure that her best friend doesn’t marry an inadequate suitor...a drunken mistake that incites a cascade of calamities, threatening to expose all of her secrets. Presented at Second Stage Theatre Uptown.
"Teitler invites you to see the darker side of romantic relationships and how marriage commitments can be undone in a wink...The play comes off, largely because of the creative acting and directing...Kimberly Senior, who helms this production, knows how to move things along, and executes seamless transitions from one scene to the next...This New York mounting is excellent. By all means, go with a date, or go alone to this provocative play." Full Review
"A remarkable, taut, spicy satire of contemporary manners...The ultimate solution of the mystery throws the whole set of characters into free fall, with a resulting unexpected and striking changing of partners. Just like sometimes happens in real life. To some of us. Along the way we are treated to some terrific and imaginative staging by director Kimberly Senior, including several sharp and beautifully executed dance sequences by the cast." Full Review
“It is a tidy and engaging play, well-written and well-executed. Though literary allusions abound, the dialogue sounds natural, and the detours into inner-monolgue-land offer fun and funny diversions. (Also fun diversions: the on-stage dance parties during scene transitions.) I like that Teitler is unafraid to show women behaving badly, reminding us that it's OK to be complicated; to not have it all figured out; to be a little messy.” Full Review
"In lesser hands this would not be of interest, but this more than competent cast and director are stealthy in their approach. The action is simple because everything underneath it is so complicated...There are some stunning gems in this play, and there are some equally obscure clunkers. But the production itself is buoyed by the cast and director...This play deserves a closer look. Ms. Teitler could not ask for a better production from which to take lessons and plunge forward." Full Review
"There is something classical about Teitler's style, a trait that director Kimberly Senior takes full advantage of...'Engagements' is a fascinating mess, overflowing with big ideas that are only half-conveyed. Formally, it cannot quite decide what it wants to be. By the second half, the plot seems to jump the tracks. Still, it is never boring. On top of that, by the end Teitler takes a loathsome protagonist and makes us actually like her (or at least understand her)." Full Review
"A bitingly funny but overly sour comedy...Teitler writes tangy dialogue rich in sharp-witted repartee...The slim plot seems stretched thin by the end of the play, which runs only 80 minutes. And with principal characters as unrelievedly bitchy as Lauren and caddish as Mark, there’s little chance of the audience’s becoming emotionally engaged. Still, it has been crisply directed by Kimberly Senior and the cast members bring a bright sheen to their performances that energizes the proceedings." Full Review
"'Engagements' is both deeper than you might expect and shallower than you might hope for...Despite the abundance of fine detail in the writing, much of the dialogue has a stilted, scripted quality that dispels a fair amount of the contemporary magic the play otherwise works so hard to generate. Even so, Kimberly Senior has directed with sharpness and an ear for comedy, and the actors generally follow her lead." Full Review
“Teitler’s concept is a clever one. ‘Engagements’ cruises along at a clipper pace when it sticks to its basic premise, but when it tries to work in Ryan and Catherine it slows to a crawl...The witty banter becomes a one-way street, making it a lot less witty. Director Kimberly Senior has not figured out how to attain equilibrium when Ryan and Catherine are onstage...At its best, ‘Engagements’ is outrageously funny, but as it progresses it shows less and less of its best.” Full Review
"The pair spend...many minutes exchanging the kind of love-hate banter reserved for second-rate sitcoms and rom-coms; some of it is very funny, but who really thinks that quickly? Still, there can be little question that there’s more chemistry between these two...Which doesn’t mean their actions are justifiable, or even completely interesting for an entire 85-minute play, despite some very funny one-liners...Director Kimberly Senior tries to gussy up this obviously slight script when she can." Full Review
"The acting is polished. The direction is smart. The production values are excellent. But all this well-crafted effort seems wasted on showcasing this deadly comedy by Lucy Teitler about the childish antics of a group of shallow people with nothing better to do than knife each other in the back...While the scribe does have a modest gift for snarky dialogue, she’s squandered it on an aimless play about deeply unlikable characters that give their generation a very bad name." Full Review
"'Engagements' is little more than 90 minutes of snark posing as wit…The director, Kimberly Senior, manages to establish a hard, artificial style, but she can't supply the missing humor or character interest…A fair amount of talent is being put to extremely trivial use...'Engagements' wants to be an acid-washed study of modern sexual manners, but it ends up being a reverse etiquette guide, a study in rudeness that quickly wears out its welcome." Full Review
“Finger-food theater: tasty enough in nibbles but leaves you wanting more and is forgotten soon after eating...Teitler’s bitchy banter and metatheatrical asides strive for wit and pathos but mainly prod along an ordinary tale of epigram-spouting narcissists who behave badly and learn to own their damage. During the scene changes in Kimberly Senior’s leaden production, the actors groove to DJ standards. Those dance sequences look like the most fun they have all night.” Full Review
"We get it: Love is a battlefield. But such well-trodden territory demands a fresh approach, and Teitler flounders trying to mold this quirky satire into a theatrical event…There's a whiff of 'Heathers' in 'Engagements'' female rivalries, and the suggestion of political critique in its contempt for the boring, wealthy khaki-wearers of this world. But neither of these elements fully takes shape, leaving the guest at Teitler's party wishing she could abscond with a few jalapeño poppers and leave." Full Review
See it if you relate to millennials' challenges with navigating love, or you want a good, devilish laugh in a sharp, crisp production.
Don't see it if you might be easily bothered by the show's cynical tone. While it's a comedy first and foremost, that cynicism feels very real.
See it if you want a show about relationships and deception. Main character is a terrific actress. Rest of the cast can't keep up with her.
Don't see it if you want a well paced show. This should be a 3 character show with no additional sub-story.
See it if To support and celebrate young female voices. Thrilled by open-minded casting. Beautiful set, lighting, and projection design.
Don't see it if Intimidated by smart, sharp tongued women, annoyed by millenial/gen Y ennui and self-destructiveness. Oppose stylized inner thought monos
See it if like seeing social conventions upended; like morally dubious characters "winning"; questioning of accepted gender roles
Don't see it if snarky dialogue & morally questionable behavior rubs the wrong way; plot lines get shaky
See it if you're intrigued by the banality & misbehavior of privileged 20-somethings. Some decent, realistic performances elevate the material.
Don't see it if you're not interested in "Lifestyles of the Rich and Millennial". Though amusing & mildly enjoyable, it's really just people behaving badly.
See it if You are under 30 and you find nervous, rapid speaking women cheating with their clueless best friend's fiance a good time.
Don't see it if you think men might have some integrity. you think women can be friends. you are tired of dumbed down characters.
See it if You like shallow plays about shallow people. They tried to make it good though.
Don't see it if It didn't live up to expectations. Didn't like or connect to any characters or themes... But also not worst thing I've seen.
See it if you're interested in watching privileged narcissists sleep around with each other in this less than original, cliched, failed RomCom.
Don't see it if you're interested in serious theatre, uniquely theatrical experiences, or theatre that doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator.
See it if if you have never seen a Neil Pepe play before.
Don't see it if If you have seen a play by Neil. This write wasted such a good opportunity here, I would love to see what Neil could have done with this.
See it if you enjoy shows about relationships among the young and restless; you enjoy witty banter, a plot with a twist, likable and unlikeable charac
Don't see it if shows about relationships among the young bore you; you dislike clever repartee and interesting staging.
See it if I really enjoyed it, maybe because I'm younger and I reflect the demographic represented on stage... The staging was AWESOME... Music ✔️✔️✔️
Don't see it if You're a stick in the mud. Can't relate to engagements or young lust...
See it if You want a frothy, sometimes realistic comedy about millennials and their social whirls and world. It has some clever dialogue.
Don't see it if You are looking for a thought-provoking evening of totally original ideas. You don't enjoy plays about the 20-30's urban professionals.
See it if You have a lot of friends getting married and you feel left out - this will make you feel better about your circumstances.
Don't see it if you are looking for an insightful dramedy about relationships - friendship/family/romantic -this story has no real likable characters -
See it if you're interested in new, messy work with some very interesting things to say about why we make bad choices.
Don't see it if a production that feels tentative, in the sense that the actors and the director seem to be holding back a little bit, would frustrate you.
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