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Fish Men

Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Relevant
81
Critics
70
10 reviews
Members
85
28 reviews
 

INTAR presents the New York premiere of Cándido Tirado's drama about a chess-loving computer programmer and the street players trying to hustle him. 

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On a hot summer's day Rey Reyes, a computer programmer for a large bank, walks into Washington Square Park to pay off a debt his uncle incurred the night before to chess hustlers. In dire needs of money, the hustlers talk Rey into playing a few games. "Ninety-Two," a Holocaust survivor who is always interfering with the players' trade, tries to pry Rey away from them. The struggle for Rey's soul between the hustlers and "Ninety-Two" gets more and more heated until the game becomes a life and death struggle.

 

Cast & Creatives (12)


Reviews (38)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
70
Avg Score

45
The New York Times

"Mr. Tirado gives each character a ration of pithy dialogue, some of which is delivered by the actors as they are playing actual games of speed chess. That moderately impressive feat, though, cannot distract you from the overindulgence in this play...Requires a crackling type of accelerating tension that the actors hadn’t yet mastered. The director, Lou Moreno, presumably will tighten things up as the run goes along. That would at least make the play’s flaws more forgivable." Full Review

85
Lighting & Sound America

"Tirado plots his tale so cunningly, upping the stakes so stealthily, that it's difficult to pinpoint the moment when 'Fish Men' turns into such a nail-biter...'Fish Men' requires five vividly drawn characterizations, a mission neatly accomplished under Lou Moreno's taut direction...It's possible that 'Fish Men' ends on too neat a note, given the festering wounds afflicting some of its characters, but that won't keep you from being in a state of tense expectation throughout." Full Review

70
Times Square Chronicles

"This show tackles a lot of issues including the Holocaust, the extermination of American Indians, genocide in Guatemala and Black Lives Matter...Act One is a lot of exposition and should be cut or at least streamlined. Act Two has payoffs but again, less is more...The cast is all superb with Setrakian and Pérez standing out. Moreno’s direction is fascinating to watch as the dialogue goes hand in hand with high-speed chess. This play has a lot going for it but seriously needs some cutting." Full Review

80
Front Row Center

"What gets played out during the course of this production is not only several riveting games of speed chess, but the burdens each character has carried through life for wrong’s committed...If you listen here, you will be challenged. Challenged and brought to a modicum of understanding. An understanding of, despite all the horrors we face that bring us to the precipice, we still innately have a desire to do good in the world." Full Review

55
TheaterScene.net

"Fitfully fascinating, but ultimately disappointing con job drama...That it’s very well acted and staged compensates for its lack of tautness...The play is marred by drawn out and repetitious writing...Still, Tirado has created five interesting and well-delineated characters and placed them in an intriguing setting...Director Moreno has aesthetically succeeded in infusing tension and visual variety into the presentation along with some riveting sequences and the excellent performances." Full Review

70
Theatre is Easy

"The second act moves at an exciting pace (much quicker than the first, which could be trimmed, as some of the dialogue gets repetitive)…Each one of their histories could be a play unto itself, and it occasionally feels like Tirado is tackling too much. But it's always refreshing to see diversity onstage and their stories are moving...They were still tripping over their lines the press performance I attended, but each actor is believable in his role, so it was easy to overlook." Full Review

80
Broadway Blog

"A rich character study...A thoughtful and compelling night of theater...Tirado could easily have turned this into another drama that assuages the guilt of liberal America by teaching and preaching to the choir, but he wisely masks it with natural and often funny dialogue...Director Lou Moreno has given his actors plenty of leeway to explore their characters, but still keeps the stakes high and the action laser focused." Full Review

65
CurtainUp

“There's lots of dialogue; in fact, about a half hour too much…This demands excellent actors who understand subtext and know how to pace themselves to reveal just enough and when necessary. Such skills are beyond most of the men in this cast…In this production they either remain static or change in ways that are supported by the text, but not the acting…Nevertheless, 'Fish Men' is often compelling. And the actors manage to pull it together for an ending that is quite moving." Full Review

90
ZEALnyc

"'Fish Men' is a stunning and thought-provoking play, full of enriching sports metaphors and surprises about life, trauma, and adversity...The actors inhabit their roles superbly and effortlessly...If you enjoy theater that explores relationships, then you’ll definitely enjoy 'Fish Men.' And you’ll never look at the people who play those sidewalk chess games the same way again." Full Review

75
Off Off Online

"Tirado’s craftsmanship includes solid structure, paced well by director Lou Moreno, although the final build-up could be bigger and with more urgency. The characters and world he creates are original and intriguing. The set director, Raul Abrego, has designed a persuasively detailed park down: the realistic stone chess tables, the benches, and a water fountain are wonderful." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
85
Avg Score

79
Absorbing, Edgy, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy con men plots or stories of shared hardship and experiences accross cultures.

Don't see it if you will be dissapointed if not all character twists come through as believable in the acting.

80
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging, Remarkable

See it if You want an intimate experience with a compelling, relevant and at times surprising story. Go with an open mind.

Don't see it if You don't like to be close to the actors. You don't like to think.

Also If you've been thinking about Intar, but haven't seen their work yet, ... Read more Read less

83
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You've wondered what actually happens in Washington Square chess games with added drama

Don't see it if You think chess can't be interesting.

Also The depiction of high level chess is accurate (a rarity). The people a... Read more Read less

86
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy dramas which give us a message without preaching; explore important life lessons; excellent acting and a dramatic ending.

Don't see it if you only like big Broadway productions; otherwise, no reason not to see this.

73
Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you like a drama about men getting together, in this case to play chess in the park.

Don't see it if you dislike plays that are too talky and too long.

74
Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Too long, needs editing

See it if you appreciate well drawn, complex characters especially from cultures under represented on the NYC stage.

Don't see it if you have a short attention span and can't wade through the preachy, unnecessary dialogue in Act 1. Second act was tighter and rewarding.

86
Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense

See it if you are interested in stories about survivors and what being one actually means.

Don't see it if you don't like intense situations, or want an elaborate set.

83
Absorbing, Intense, Relevant, Uneven, Intentional pressure-cooking slow build-up

See it if you like stories about humanity, inhumanity, and the effects of trauma; you love chess (it's fun to watch games and listen to chess talk).

Don't see it if you won't enjoy a script that at turns punches you in the gut with pure humanity but at other times pushes plausibility

87
Absorbing, Intense, Relevant, Slow, Great staging

See it if you like great set design, intense character development, plot twists & raw depictions of racial tension/violence/historic trauma—and chess!

Don't see it if you want escapism or light/fun entertainment. Or women—it's an all-male cast & the women discussed are archetypal. It also felt a bit long.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Riveting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if There is a beauty and clarity that comes from the complexity of the story and the rapid exchange of ideas, in this play.Superb acting.

Don't see it if You only go for Broadway productions

Also It will not surprise me if this play may find a run in an Off Broadway... Read more Read less

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Refreshing, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want to see an original, thought provoking, suspenseful play; excellent, 5 male diverse cast each brings something different;

Don't see it if you want a large production and staging; want a female voice

90
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You like dramas about men's personal journeys and crossroads. This stellar ensemble won't disappoint.

Don't see it if You prefer lighter fare, but even so, you should break out of your pattern and see this exemplary play!

86
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Riveting, Slow

See it if You like intense and intimate. The acting and script are superb. Plot can feel a tad slow but there is a solid payoff.

Don't see it if You don't like serious plays or getting up close and personal. This may taps variety of tough emotions.

90
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a play with chess as the foundation but many other relevant issue are being discussed. You want to see some great acting.

Don't see it if You want really light and fluffy. You don't want to hear about some intense issues. You don't want to hear about a holocaust survivor.

Also Don't think that you have to love or like the game of chess to enjoy t... Read more Read less

92
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Masterful, Great writing

See it if you want to see near perfect theater. Yes, its about chess but don't let that scare you. The acting is perfection

Don't see it if you want big fireworks on stage. This is 5 perfect actors and two chess boards but please don't let that scare you. see this show.

Also This was a free ticket from show score. My 5th free show and I was not... Read more Read less

89
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You can play chess, you like intense plots. You want to see a play that can make you think about holocausts, human nature and relationships.

Don't see it if You want a light theater. This is a very serious piece.

Also Wow, what can I say! This play will always make you want to know what ... Read more Read less

94
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if A great play that keeps growing in intensity. Edge of your seat and stays with you after its over.

Don't see it if You want a lighthearted evening of theater

80
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Good writing

See it if you like interesting writing,small theaters, and being very close to the action.

Don't see it if you're used to big Broadway shows, with all the bells & whistles.

Also I don't know much about chess, but found it very interesting, nonethel... Read more Read less

71
Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Indulgent, Slow

See it if you can wade through the indulgent preaching of the first act to uncover interesting multi cultural life in NYC

Don't see it if you have no patience for chess or stories that take a long time to unfold.

80
Absorbing, Great acting, Riveting, Entertaining

See it if You like chess, New York, ever wondered about the lives of chess players in the park.

Don't see it if You don't like plays over 90 minutes that go into life philosophies.

Also This is a very good, solid, engaging, play. It does get a little clunk... Read more Read less

85
Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Cliched, Great staging

See it if you enjoy fast, smart plays; very intimate and up-close setting; ensemble acting w quirky, strong characters. If you are a chess fan!

Don't see it if you want a big production, you have trouble following fast dialogue, accents; you want light and easy (though this play is funny too)

Also Most of the acting was strong, but the cast was uneven, including a pi... Read more Read less

84
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like dramatic plays. nice plot and character development - build up of suspense

Don't see it if see it

97
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if I absolutely loved this play. It has everything, and relevant for not only in our times, but since human history. It was clever, and touchin

Don't see it if I cannot think any reason

79
Ambitious, Clever, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy a play that keeps ratcheting up the tension set in a park where chess hustlers look for easy marks.

Don't see it if you're not inclined to suspend your disbelief about unlikely events occurring in a setting where they're not likely to happen.

Also Chess is the main character here, perhaps a bit too much. Despite seve... Read more Read less

92
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if Like small productions, black box style. If you like shows that tackle the same topic from different perspectives. Symbolism.

Don't see it if You need flashy and large spectacles. Don't like all male casts. Don't like shows that deal with darker issues. Don't understand chess.