The Frasier family is gearing up for Grandma’s birthday, and Beverly needs this dinner to be perfect. But the silverware’s wrong, the radio’s on the fritz, Jasmine is drinking, Dayton isn’t helping, and Tyrone might not show up at all!
“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
“’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
"Most of the people onstage are black, and most of the people in Soho Rep’s downtown audience are white. This problem, and the racist society for which 'Fairview’s' stage world acts as a microcosm, is the subject of Sibblies Drury’s hugely intelligent play...Insightful, mournful, and harboring maybe a glimmer of hope, 'Fairview' begins as a family comedy...Soon, the Frasiers’ living room is the site of a meticulously crafted, metatheatrical experiment in racial discourse." Full Review
"We laugh at the well-timed jokes, dance numbers, and antics so agilely lifted from TV comedy and delivered by the faultless cast...Yet the idea also forms that the genre and the story are vehicles for some more important business. That proves true in the play’s second act where the playwright lands a sucker punch....Benson manages. with physical humor and a deep respect for the playwright’s use of asides and interior monologues to lasso all of these swirling ideas and conflicting energies." Full Review
"Jackie Sibblies Drury is a unique new voice in the American theater. Her use of metatheater is all her own. 'Fairview' has a great deal to say about race in America and the angle you see things from and she is able to cleverly shift it from scene to scene. However, this new play is a bit too long for its content, with scenes overstaying their welcome. Nevertheless, Drury is a playwright well worth watching." Full Review
"Some of the plot developments and the ensuing mayhem, while fun to watch, seem partially unearned. The play takes a final abrupt turn with one of the characters making a request of the white audience members...It seemed a flat, disappointing ending for a provocative play. The cast is very good...Benson maintains a firm grip. To some extent, I feel the playwright lost control of her material. Nevertheless, I will be eager to see her next work." Full Review
"Although I'm far from being as enthusiastic as many of my colleagues about Jackie Sibblies Drury's…challenging, theatrically innovative new play about racism…no one can deny that Sarah Benson…has applied her superlative directorial skill and imagination to it…Provocative material, rife with metatheatrical riffs…Nonetheless, it ends with an irritating bit of audience participation that defeats its own purpose and weakens even the best of what's come before." 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
“A play that began as a stylistic spoof descends into mass chaos, leading to a very funny sequence in which one wild accusation after another is hurled...Doesn't maintain the baseline level of engagement needed to prep us to hear what Drury has to say. The piece is at times overwhelmed by its own theatricality...A satire that swings wide, only occasionally earning a hit. Even when you're trying to demolish a theatrical genre and racism in America, less can be more.” 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
See it if you want an interesting take on racial depictions & our inability to escape the common narrative, in an unforgettable theatrical experience
Don't see it if you're easily offended, mind being uncomfortable at the theater, prefer a single point of view, or like more traditional linear plays.
See it if you want to see a remarkable, original, innovative play that has an incisive take on race and power and knocks you out theatrically.
Don't see it if you've buried your head in the sand and want to keep pretending that our culture doesn't have a problem with racism.
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 Black actors play “white” roles & struggle with Euro culture. Zany fun w/ many creative surprises. Loved the satirical dancing & food fight.
Don't see it if You aren’t interested in race & cultural assimilation. You don’t like weird plays. The last scene fell flat for me. Confrontational.
See it if You want a challenge/provocation. A daring play that left me reeling. If you want something that isn’t easy but pounds with thought/feeling
Don't see it if You’re unsettled by the confrontation of whiteness as a category, whiteness as an audience. You want something straightforward. It’s not.
See it if started off conventional then twisted again and again to become an aggressively confrontational avant-garde masterpiece. i won't forget it.
Don't see it if issues of race make you uncomfortable
See it if you want to see thought-provoking stories of inclusion and representation at an always boundary-pushing theatre company.
Don't see it if you are uncomfortable confronting issues of race and representation in theatre.
See it if you like intense experimental theater that really pushes the audience to look at racial issues and the chaos taking over American culture.
Don't see it if you are a white person who does not want to feel uncomfortable at the theater. Or if you hate absurdity and/or lots of images coming at you.
See it if If youre looking for something about race that is intense, builds to a powerful crescendo with great acting and a turn of the tables ending
Don't see it if Youre looking for a light traditional play that is discomforting and leaves you feeling puzzled.
See it if You love theater that shows you other view points, different ways of seeing. This is a play I will mull over for some time. Brilliant.
Don't see it if It is a disquieting show, particularly for White people. If that makes you uncomfortable, it's not for yoju
See it if You are interested in a challenging conversation about race told using creative theatrical devices
Don't see it if You have firmly held convictions you’re not willing to have challenged and if you dislike non traditional theatrical forma
See it if you're interested in a creative theatrical experiment that deconstructs race. It starts off like a sitcom, but then takes twists and turns.
Don't see it if you prefer to see a traditional play. Each of the 3 acts is quite different and ending may leave some audience members feeling uncomfortable
See it if you like new, challenging theater and to follow Drury who is sure to become an important playwright.
Don't see it if you prefer straightforward, easily understood narratives or are uncomfortable being challenged as a white person.
See it if You like being challenged as an audience member. You want to engage with issues of race, class, identity.
Don't see it if You are easily offended by language or provocative topics of identity.
See it if you're interested in the effects of racism & privilege, wonderful acting, family dynamics, surprises & some audience participation.
Don't see it if you dislike being manipulated; a couple of scenes go on for too long; the ending is unexpected and poignant yet provides no answers.
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