Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage's satirical tale follows successful African-American publicist Undine, as she stumbles down the social ladder after her husband steals her hard-earned fortune. More…
Broke and now pregnant, Undine is forced to return to her childhood home in the Brooklyn projects, where she must face the challenges of the life she left behind. The first show of Nottage's Residency 1 at Signature, "Fabulation" is an exploration of how difficult it is to outrun where we come from. Obie Award-winner Lileana Blain-Cruz directs.
"Nottage brings razor edged clarity to everything she writes, and undeniable truth. In ‘Fabulation’ she also has a gleam of fun in her eye. Despite the serious questions she raises, she also allows us to laugh without feeling guilty about it and imbues all of her characters with humanity and a saving grace or two. Cruz has done a masterful job staging this complex piece smoothly and elegantly.” Full Review
"The episodic and escapadish manner of Undine’s un-fabulation is well handled by director Lileana Blain-Cruz...Yes, this return visit of Nottage’s early 'Fabulation' is worthy and highly enjoyable. The playwright’s unrestrained humor sparks the play with flashes of lightning; but by the time of 'Vera Stark,' she had developed the skill to display wild humor in a more sustained and controlled manner." Full Review
"The play earns big laughs with its cheeky, audacious humor...Telling its picaresque fable via short, snappy episodic scenes, 'Fabulation' occasionally feels too sitcom-like in its approach. It's also overly reliant on narration. But the play is often very funny indeed, delivering sharp observations about social and racial identity that feel even more relevant today than when it was written...Most of all, it's the performers who truly sell the material." Full Review
"Above all, though, Undine is forced to wrestle with two even bigger obstacles: her mixed feelings about having the baby and allowing herself to love again. Boothe's stunningly multi-layered performance, in which she exposes Undine's toughness and fear in equal measure, helps us to root for what could come off, in other hands, as a very unsympathetic character." Full Review
"On the surface, at least, Nottage’s 2004 satire of NYC's black bourgeoisie is a delectable treat. But it leaves a serious aftertaste...Lileana Blain-Cruz's whirlwind staging of 'Fabulation' puts humor first, helped by a versatile cast of seven with a knack for sketching broad new identities at the drop of a wig...You may be cackling too loudly to take it all in as it unfolds but, like a good fable, the play has a message that lingers past its scrappily-ever-after finale." Full Review
“’Fabulation’ never lurches into miserabilism and remains consistently hilarious...But there’s no mistaking its central point about how easy it is to fall through the cracks of a society with a threadbare safety net. As Undine, Boothe anchors the play with uncommon wit and charisma while other actors playing two dozen supporting roles help spin a satisfyingly picaresque yarn. At once mordant and cheerful, ‘Fabulation’ is melodrama with a method to it.” Full Review
"Undine happens to be quite an astringent character, but in Cherise Boothe’s wry, spirited performance, she seems as deliciously dry as a martini. Seven other capable actors neatly portray an array of different people...Lileana Blain-Cruz confidently spins out Undine’s tribulations with a quick and easy hand. Living up to its mission, Signature Theatre nicely educates audiences about the lesser-known light side of Lynn Nottage’s artistry through this fine production." Full Review
“’Fabulation’ is more successful with its mordant social comedy than with its wispy romantic subplot, but director Lileana Blain-Cruz and a stellar cast find moment after moment that shines...Undine sometimes falters as a character...her gradual opening up to the aspiring fireman she meets in drug counseling doesn’t feel entirely earned...Still, the individual scenes are brilliant little comic snapshots. And the minor characters all spring to life with vividness and indelible performances.” Full Review
"Splendidly staged and performed Nottage legacy production...Very broad satiric humor like this tends to overwhelm the underlying seriousness. But thanks to director Lileana Blain-Cruz, it all works quite well...If you leave your need for kitchen sink realism at the door, you'll enjoy seeing this cautionary play as much as Lynn Nottage must have enjoyed writing it. " Full Review
"It's fun and games for us, but at each punctuated point along this entertaining learning curve, Nottage tucks in glimpses of the generations-old baggage...While acknowledging the tragedy beneath the comedy, Nottage and director Blain-Cruz have plenty of fun...Might feel unsettlingly sloppy for those accustomed to Nottage's efficiently assembled dramatic work. And yet, there's something liberating about the play's blatant disregard for organization." Full Review
"Brantley called it a ‘busy, robustly entertaining comedy’. It still is, but the world around it has changed so much that the comedy feels...less robust...Only as Undine’s enamel shell dissolves — Boothe is especially good at rendering the change — do we begin to enjoy her and the surrounding characters fully...'Fabulation,' and thus Blain-Cruz’s production, feel most accomplished the farther away they get from spoof and closer to reality. But reality invites uncomfortable questions." Full Review
"Seems like a minor work compared with later Nottage plays...The play moves swiftly, and there are...funny bits. Because, however, most of the characters are broadly drawn and the sketch-like scenes circle around a gag or punchline, the play does not pack the wallop one might expect. The play's poignancy and fable-like morals come through in narration rather than in the actions of and interactions among individual characters...The performances are top-notch." Full Review
“”Fabulation’ is a satire and social commentary on the concept of upward mobility by erasure of the past. As such, it veers from the farcical and absurd and into some deeply painful truths. Undine frequently breaks the fourth wall...Although this effect can feel jarring, it’s effective in portraying just how different Undine is from the person she once was...Although the circumstances of Undine’s life are tragic, Nottage allows Undine to aspire to something great." Full Review
"Nottage crafts a satirical, punchline-heavy riches-to-rags story that plays like the opening episodes to a network comedy — one that would not feel out of place following a Tyler Perry jam...Director Lileana Blain-Cruz keeps all of Nottage’s comic balls in the air, swiftly changing scenes as the eight-person cast take on multiple roles...In the end, though, 'Fabulation' feels both slight and abbreviated, like the pilot for a promising but canceled-too-soon series." Full Review
See it if A wildly entertaining play.The lead actress,C. Boothe, gives a terrific performance. Each of the other actors excel in playing many parts.
Don't see it if The subject matter is not to your liking or if you don't appreciate the wonderful talents of playwright Lynn Nottage.
See it if Early Nottage's sardonic, funny quirky drama about upward (& downward) Afro-American mobility Snappy staging by Blain-Cruz & 1st rate Boothe
Don't see it if Satire often edges towards stereotype (on purpose?) & humor can be a bit offensive Act II set in rehab doesn't gel & gets a little frantic
See it if You want to see an early work by a great playwright that is not at her usual level of insight and depth. There is some humor, but not enoug
Don't see it if You expect this play to be on a level of, or similar in quality to, Ruined, Sweat, or Intimate Apparel (written 1 year earlier).
See it if you want complex and layered story about blackness and 'strivers.' And you want it set in contemporary times.
Don't see it if want the typical black play that's just tragedy porn or a civil rights story or slavery.
See it if Absolutely one of the best things I’ve seen this season. Its incredibly funny and touching at the same time.
Don't see it if If you want the same seriousness nottage brought to sweat.
See it if I enjoyed the characters especially the lead character.I will say that i laughed continuouslly throughout the play.It was funny and i just
Don't see it if If you don't enjoy laughing out loud.This play dealt with stereotypical characters but it was comical rather than racist themed.
See it if You like a contemporary, clever, gritty look at trying to escape your past only to realize you never really can.
Don't see it if You want an emotional gut punch. The play brings up deep issues but in a mercurial way that keeps it rolling around in your mind, not tears.
See it if Nottage's work is always worth seeing; this is an early satire. It's social commentary [of course] laced with humor, cleverly staged.
Don't see it if you want only fluff, or are uninterested in a theatrical examination of racism, sexism & class.
See it if you want an entertaining spin on the African-American and urban experience with a very talented cast and relevant satire.
Don't see it if you are unable to enjoy looking at the foibles in our society, justice system and ethnic sensibilities.
See it if if you like to laugh even about tough current realities. if you like good acting (C Booth!) & insights. if you like Lynn Nottage's work.
Don't see it if if you only like Nottage's heavy drama, as this will make you laugh.
See it if You want to have a fun experience. See an actress , Cherise Booth,totally inhabit a role. Love black theater and Lynn Nottage
Don't see it if Don’t like any of the above . Want a serious play
See it if a story of a black woman, once financially successful, returning to her upbringing in the projects after financial ruin; satirical look*
Don't see it if if you are expecting the slice of life of the playwright's "Sweat", don't want to laugh; actors in more than more than one role. If you**
See it if You want to see a well produced and acted comedy that is funny and has just enough bite to make it satire.
Don't see it if You are expecting a serious drama of the type Lynn Nottage is famous- here she is working in a different, lighter style.
See it if If you are interested in a different twist on the story of a successful Business person, riding high on top of the world,falls to the bottom
Don't see it if You are not interested in satire, role reversal, and African American stereotypes. Be prepared for some heavy hip-hop music before the play
See it if Lynn Nottage play where issues of social class and being black are challenged. funny and brooklyn centric play in small theater. good cast
Don't see it if Material can be sterotypical. very Brooklyn centric so if you are not aware of black culture of brooklyn middle lower class.may be confusing
See it if Very funny exploration of the ways African-Americans can get caught up in the system through no fault of their own, with no clear way out.
Don't see it if Cherise Boothe gives a great performance. But at times, she is so over the top that she’s annoying. The end is unsatisfying.
See it if For great versatile performers, fast pace, lots of laughs and, of course, great staging. It's the Signature-need I say more.
Don't see it if You've seen the Hollywood white girl version of this story a dozen times but this is a a different take and a very fun ride.
See it if You are a fan of Lynn Nottage. After seeing Sweat I will see anything she writes. This is thought provoking and wise.
Don't see it if you only like musical comedies
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