“Let me give you fair warning on 'Fairview,' Jackie Sibblies Drury’s dazzling and ruthless new play: If you see it — and you must — you will not be comfortable...You will also wind up questioning your basic right to sit there, especially if, you are a white person...Directed with disarming smoothness...Structured as a series of perspective-altering surprises, and they keep coming at you...A glorious, scary reminder of the unmatched power of live theater to rattle, roil and shake us wide awake.” Full Review
"Drury makes Russian-doll dramas; immersive, nesting, metatheatrical plots that usually contain racism as their innermost figure...Drury is drawing her scalpel blade through a tricky bit of flesh, dissecting the core illusion of white audienceship—that it is an anonymous, passive, default group in no way identifiable by its whiteness—with loving, almost tender care. The show is political, in that Drury wants to make the conversation about race in the theater more frank." Full Review
“’Fairview’ travels towards the unresolvable, morphing from neatly structured, stereotypical familiarity into rampant chaos and then into fractured, inquisitive aftermath. It begins by giving us something we think we’ve seen before, then estranges us from it and from ourselves as viewers of it, then cracks the whole thing open entirely and forces everyone in the room, actors and audience, to reckon with the broken pieces...Drury is interested in examining race by examining performance.” Full Review
“Hilarious, provocative, and disorienting...Not since 'An Octoroon' has a play so thoroughly traversed the boundaries of race in performance, screwing with our perceptions while forcing us to recognize our blind spots....Benson’s production stealthily slips across the border between realism and absurdism while slowly turning up the heat on us unsuspecting frogs in the audience. This wouldn't be possible without a cast that delivers ballsy, committed performances." Full Review
"There are slight longueurs in Sarah Benson’s Soho Rep production—the provoking of mild impatience may be intentional—but its bolder strokes are unforgettable. ‘Fairview’ argues for the possibility of people of color representing themselves, onstage and off, without an overlay of white perception, judgment and narrative. It gently body-checks privilege.” Full Review
"'Fairview' cunningly pulls its audience down a rabbit hole involving race, identity, presumptions and certainly everybody’s original expectations...An attempt to bring the audience into the show proves awkward on several levels...To some extent the playwright succeeds in achieving her ambitious goal, but the meta-theatrics meant to heighten the work fail to realize her intentions...Soho Rep provides a typically tip-top staging of the play, under Sarah Benson’s astute direction." Full Review
See it if you’d like to experience the latest sharp, provocative, theatrical cry of the heart (& head) from a thrilling young voice in today’s theater
Don't see it if you are not willing to confront a firm (but respectful) reminder of how stifling white expectations can be for people who are not white.
See it if You are ready to be challenged, provoked, enlightened, and to think. This piece will stay with you for a long time after.
Don't see it if Your whiteness makes you expect a pat on the back just for showing up to a play about race--this play isn't concerned with your comfort.
See it if A cleverly hidden premise reveals itself creatively in this show about a family gathering. Some unnecessary madness almost spoils message.
Don't see it if If you don't like plays with a message. This one masks anger with patience slightly cloyingly. Could use some editing.
See it if you like pieces centered on race, cultural exploration & identity, absurdist and extremist theater and self-awareness.
Don't see it if you dislike narrative disorientation, experimental styles and performance, or possibly being preached at and shamed.
See it if you need to be reminded that racism is bad.
Don't see it if you have deeper socio-political awareness than a backward 5-year-old. And if you don't like audience participation.
See it if you are bored with formally typical middle-of-the-road theater, and are willing to question your assumptions about race and racism
Don't see it if you think you already "get" race and racism and are unwilling to interrogate whether that's actually true
See it if You are prepared for a strained, unsuccessful, and didactic piece exploring race and making space in nebulous ways.
Don't see it if You don’t enjoy hostility aimed at you directly.
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