A uniquely curated selection of three one-act plays by celebrated playwright A.R. Gurney. More…
The plays specifically chosen for this special engagement include: "The Love Course," an observation of the culminating meeting of an undergraduate romantic literature course, co-taught by two of academia’s most eccentric professors; "The Rape of Bunny Stuntz," an enigmatic story of an overburdened woman anxiously trying to keep her personal life from the throes of chaos while leading a rowdy community meeting; and the titular "Final Follies," the last chapter in Gurney’s oeuvre of short plays examining WASP life in America, about a forlorn Manhattanite searching for the key to adulthood in the most truly, and literally, adult place imaginable.
“‘Final Follies’ felt like a draft of a great one-act to be and starts us off with ringing the clear-toned familiar Gurney bell of the demise of the WASP culture...The ambiguity of action in ‘The Rape of Bunny Stuntz’ leaves room for the audience to add their own lives to an interpretation, and the title refers to a life lived, as much as to an act committed...’The Love Course’, is a hilarious romp through the western literature of tragic love...An enjoyable evening." Full Review
“An evening of three of his one-act plays...Each satirizes one of his favorite targets: the decline of WASPdom, suburban ennui and academic shenanigans...The actors are all attuned to Gurney's sensibilities. Saint, a frequent collaborator of Gurney’s, directs with assurance...Two out of three isn’t bad. I think the evening would have been better without the second play, but it didn’t spoil things for me.” Full Review
“The first short play: Comes off as a bit of fluff...The two plays that follow pack more of a punch...Saint generally keeps things spinning at a rapid pace, especially with the more richly constructed 'Bunny Stutz' and the comical 'Love Course'. The best thing about the evening is the opportunity it presents for audiences...To get a sense of...his shorter works that manage both to puncture the upscale WASP world Gurney grew up in and to lament its passing." Full Review
“The three plays...allow Gurney fans a rare chance to compare the playwright at the beginning and the end of his career. They have been directed, broadly but affectionately...’Final Follies’, which was finished only weeks before his death...is a charming benediction and farewell to the caste whose demise he chronicled so faithfully. The other offerings, first published in the 1960s, suggest a writer still clearing his throat in the process of finding his own voice.” Full Review
“At the time of Gurney’s death, he had written a new play, ‘Final Follies’...The theater has chosen to produce this short play with two of his earliest plays...These three plays are not Gurney at his best; they are not so much dramas as comic skits. But they are also not for the skittish – showing a mischievously blunt side of Gurney with which even some of his fans might not be familiar. If all three plays are implausible in the extreme, that seems to be largely the point.” Full Review
“If you thought you knew Gurney, you’re in for a bit of a surprise...His willingness to explore unfamiliar horizons is evident from the first of the one-acts, the eponymous ‘Final Follies’...’The Rape of Bunny Stuntz’...is an odd one...Then, finally, some top-flight Gurney—'The Love Course’...The other two titles aren’t up to this one, but the acting throughout is splendid. And if the three one-acts aren’t all keepers, mixed-bag Gurney is still better than none.” Full Review
“Served like a loosely themed sampler platter intended to add up to a meal. In terms of both quantity and quality of the performances, the evening is a perfectly satiating experience. Mustering an appetite for this kind of menu, however, is another matter...’The Love Course’ is by far the most entertaining of the three...You can't help but wish ‘The Love Course’, along with the rest of the fare, were slightly meatier.” Full Review
“’Final Follies’s' ap1peal is limited to those who enjoy watching male establishment types engage in vigorous back-slapping about questionable behavior...Saint plumps the program with two chestnuts from Gurney’s under-heralded salad days...Gurney makes the most of his deep knowledge of procedural folderol and preening male ego—themes that show no signs of falling out of date." Full Review
"'The Love Course' is the most entertaining part of the evening, filled with exaggerated characters and unrealistic circumstances...The entire cast is more than competent under the careful direction of David Saint who moves the evening along at a steady pace. Saint does what he can with the new and antiquated scripts, as do the actors, but they all fall short of covering up the obvious flaws. Most of the work seems shallow, without substance, mostly because of weak character development." Full Review
“The prolific playwright possessed a vastly underrated, and all-too-rare, ability to craft characters without caricature and comedy without condescendence...So it’s hard to be too terribly disappointed in Gurney’s ‘Final Follies’, an uneven but amusing triptych of something-old, something-new shorts. Even when Gurney was off his game, he still knew how to land a well-placed barb...Saint has set up his show like a relay: Start the race with your weakest runner, and finish with your strongest.” Full Review
"While the plays are not exactly subtle, they do prove an intriguingly timed look at Gurney’s dark, distinctive voice...The ensemble is strong, the laughs are all there, and the pacing is snappy. Still, it’s hard to not feel that, in throwing these three plays on stage without much perspective, Primary Stages has ultimately done Gurney a disservice. His plays are not relics, but a little mining is needed to hit on how they can live and breathe today." Full Review
“The program has its occasional pleasures, mainly because of several performances…I'm sorry to report, though, that neither Gurney's ironically titled final play nor those from his salad days is particularly memorable…For a play written so recently, 'Final Follies' has a curiously naïve, even dated quality…The best performance of all belongs to veteran Deborah Rush in the vapid 'The Rape of Bunny Stuntz.'…'Final Follies' does nothing to further polish A.R. Gurney's reputation.” Full Review
"It would be a pleasure to report that A.R. Gurney's last play entitled 'Final Follies' performed with two early works, is one of his best, but that is not the case. As directed by David Saint on a triple bill celebrating the work of this major satirist who died in 2017, this comedy is minor Gurney. In fact, part of the problem with this evening produced by Primary Stages is that Saint has used three separate acting styles, one for each of the plays, all of which are wrong for the material." Full Review
"If 'Final Follies' proves anything, it is that the one-act form wasn't the playwright's métier...These offerings consist of thin premises, lame jokes, and nothing much in the way of payoff...'The Rape of Bunny Stuntz': The saving grace of this smug, predictable piece is Deborah Rush, who makes Bunny into a solid satirical portrait of an upper-middle-class matron, complete with a melodious voice, come-hither-but-not-too-close expressions, and velvet-over-steel manner." Full Review
“In theory, the program is meant as a thoughtful tribute to a distinctive author. In actuality, it doesn’t work out well. None of these slim plays represent Gurney in his funniest or wisest modes...Saint gives the plays a tidy staging...Fostering an ominous edge to ‘The Rape of Bunny Stuntz’ might have lent that piece some needed dramatic weight, but there was little else that Saint could do with the flimsy others than to move them along quickly and lightly, which he ably does.” Full Review
"I must truthfully confess I found this compilation the second-rate output of a talented man on an off day with nothing better to do...A disappointing compromise, and not his finest work...The evening is a triptych of need, desire and stupidity that underscores the frustration of an author who unwisely surrendered to the charge of being 'passé' when he had nothing to prove, improve, or apologize for." Full Review
See it if you want to see 3 short plays in one evening; you enjoy seeing the same actors in very different roles; you love A.R. Gurney's plays
Don't see it if you only enjoy musicals; you don't like Gurney's poking fun at the WASP culture
See it if You're familiar with Gurney's work and enjoy his duels with WASP society. His humor is intelligent and sharp. His writing is insightful.
Don't see it if You do not want to think at a show or comedy. You have no clue about literature or WASP society that ruled America for years.
See it if you are a fan of A R Gurney or just enjoy wonderful telling of stories. Very funny especially the first and last story. Very well cast.
Don't see it if you like serious drama.
See it if 3 satires full of little twists. Gurney punctures your expectations while tickling your funny bone. Romantic yearning triumphs.
Don't see it if You don’t want to go on a journey outside the cultural norm. The second play drags a bit, and wasn’t as funny as the first and third.
See it if you enjoy some light, comedic, and funny storytelling, with a brief display of an actor in his underwear.
Don't see it if you do not like small productions with three short stories told in 2+ hours
See it if It's 3 1-acts. Amusing send up of WASP culture, acedemia, adultery. Great acting by 2 actresses in over the top monologues.
Don't see it if You prefer dark, dramatic plays rather than a light, gentle point of view.
See it if You like initimate theater experiences that deal with a variety of topics that range from hilarious to very serious.
Don't see it if You want a big, dazzling, Broadway style show. Or if you don’t want to see a show that talks about rape.
See it if three different one act plays - satirical looks at WASP culture, suburban pretenses & academia; strange scenarios but very funny
Don't see it if want plays that are more developed, have a problem with highly unlikely scenarios no matter how funny.
See it if A light three play comedy that is a pleasant night out in the village. Gurney has a way of presenting the shrinking wasp look at life.
Don't see it if An off broadway show that may not appeal to those that want a big show for their bucks.
See it if Despite crackerjack comedic actors (esp Aidem & Marek) aided by Saint's slick direction, these one-acts about WASP mores only shine dimly
Don't see it if The professionalism of the evening only heightens the feeling of this being sub-par Gurney All three playlets feel like stylish rough drafts
See it if You like an evening of one acts which are quite humorous in places albeit a bit raunchy and while dealing with serious themes.
Don't see it if You want to immerse yourself in one play for the entire evening.
See it if you care about old, white, WASPy dinosaur playwrights. You love Cherry Lane, light sit-com/rom-com, & want to go to Chumleys after
Don't see it if you crave new, relevant, modern, progressive dialogue in theatre. You are easily offended by gender norm stereotypes & rape ref
See it if you're a fan of Gurney and of the multi-mini-play format, you like seeing actors play very different roles.
Don't see it if you require updated innovation or grander productions in large venues
See it if you like multiple stories, wrapped up in one. I found the staging and direction to be a little strange and I like that
Don't see it if you have no desire to see an all but dying American culture, or the patience to sit through the inevitable
See it if you would like to see how wasp culture is portrayed? You enjoy a dramatic scene between literature professors.
Don't see it if Want something that feels new. It lacked depth. The 2nd one was boring. The first one was funny but not by the end. I liked the third one.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies