Wry and bittersweet, Primary Stages's new drama is a portrait of five Godless and God-loving people finding that their struggles bring them together in unexpected ways. More…
With her mom undergoing chemotherapy, Hiro, a NYC transplant, returns home to Kentucky after years away, struggling to let go of the demons she inherited. Sophie, her born-again Christian sister, confronts her faith while tackling inevitable adversity. James, their recovering alcoholic father, wants to repair his fractured relationship with his daughters. And John, an old classmate and thirty-something single dad, worries about leaving a lasting legacy for his only son.
"My fingers are poised now over this keyboard and I am trying to compose a series of words to get you, Dear Reader, to understand that I witnessed a miracle last night. You don’t get the perfect blend often in New York theatre performances...Winkler’s writing goes deep into the real...I love this family. I want them to make it...You can’t, you can’t, you can’t miss this show. Really. I’m not kidding. This is gold I’m giving you here." Full Review
“Specific and universal drama about a fractured family...It pulses with an authenticity and a generosity of spirit steeped in that lived experience. And although laced with wry humor, ‘God Said This’ also dares to ponder serious questions about what it means to live a good life or to have a good death...The play admirably manages to sidestep every conventional trope it encounters...A fresh riff on an old standard...A lovely showcase for the play, filled with entertaining performances.” Full Review
"To say there is something in 'God Said This' for everyone sounds trite, but it's accurate...Winkler knows we're each only the leading characters in our own life stories. The play delicately weaves together different genres, once again replicating the unpredictability of existence. One moment it's all sitcom-y harmless fun, the next it's ripping your heart out...An evening spent with this family at the theater, is an evening where humanity is on display in its rawest form." Full Review
"The play would have been better if it had kept its sole focus on the family members. Winkler has a way with relatable characters and a satiric touch that takes the edge off a basically tragic situation. The play raises the issue of the good being punished while the undeserving thrive without providing any illuminating insights. The cast is uniformly strong...There are some fine moments, but the play drags occasionally and the various strands do not come together with complete success." Full Review
“’God Said This’ is superior to its predecessor in every way but one...The new play is a vehicle without a dramatic motor. Winkler charts small changes to her characters, but mostly this is an evening of sitting around as they attend to Masako. Some problems have carried over...But ‘God Said This’ is a relatively painless example of the genre, with some expert actors and real moments of insight. It's not an attraction to go out of your way for, but...you're likely to have a pretty good time.” Full Review
"Theatergoers who have been in the same situation as Leah Nanako Winkler's characters in 'God Said This' may be very moved; others may be put off by the disagreeable nature of the majority of these people, family members who in other circumstances you would not want to get to know or spend time with. In any event, under the assured direction of Morgan Gould, the quintet of actors has some juicy if familiar roles to sink their teeth into." Full Review
"Winkler’s characters overflow with unexpected contradictions and loaded repartee that make them seem to exist beyond the confines of this story...That verisimilitude, bolstered by solid performances from the cast, is the finest attribute of this vivid character study. But although 'God Said This' grapples with compelling themes...the narrative isn't particularly cohesive or convincing...Winkler brings a singular voice and important perspective to the stage, but her Hiro’s journey wanders." Full Review
“Directed with a haphazard whiplash style by Gould, the punches come wild and free...Winkler does a credible job bringing in doses of humor and rage...’God Said This’ tries to say way too much about way too many things. I just wanted Winkler to let God have just a few less pointed things to say in order to make this piece tighter, clearer, and more emotionally real...I enjoyed the creations of character, but had no desire to go to the wake and give comfort to these complicated souls.” Full Review
"Good-natured but uneven new dramedy…A standard-issue work in which a loved one's illness brings together the disparate members of a dysfunctional family…Composed with heavy doses of profanity and a sweetly schmaltzy flashback conclusion, 'God Said This' maintains its essentially plotless momentum by exploring the personal quirks of its characters…Gould's direction calls for so much forced hysteria, anger, and shouting that any honest feelings are smothered in thespian artificiality." Full Review
“A new play that may well ring a few bells of recognition with anybody who ever felt like an outsider among their kin...The playwright drew upon some personal experiences to create this engaging, if unexceptional, dramedy...Since the story regards mother-daughter-sister relationships more than otherwise, it’s curious that the two male figures have been developed with richer detail and color...The production and its design are competent rather than inspired, as are the performances.” Full Review
"A bumpy ride...She sets out not only to bust stereotypes about submissive Japanese-American women but also to rescue hick Kentuckians, intolerant Christians, ‘tiger moms’ and even the dying from the broad brush of caricature. Mission accomplished, though at a cost to coherence...An endless cycle of collision and regrouping, with pieces of plot hurtling at the characters from every direction...When it gets out of the way of its big agenda it has wonderful small things to say." Full Review
for a previous production "A play about family and loss that connects deeply with its audience...The dysfunctional family is a ubiquitous theme in American culture...But she grounds her story in authenticity, and steps lightly around the multiple clichés that the material offers by giving the characters unique yet identifiable voices...Winkler detours away from her conventional narrative structure to carry us through final scenes that fill out the emotional needs of the story in a most satisfying manner." Full Review
for a previous production "This story has ingredients contained within many Hallmark movie family dramas, but it mixes in familiarities local audiences will recognize...Winkler has written rich characters with dialogue that has an unpretentious familiarity to it coupled with undercurrents of complex wrought emotion...While the play is not about addiction, its timing is particularly thought-provoking as it premieres when Kentucky is dealing with all kinds of addiction issues." Full Review
for a previous production "The play’s technical and performance elements work together to create an engaging experience...However, except for references to local flair and the multicultural component of the show, it is treading on very familiar ground...While well-wrought and acted, 'God Said This' isn’t particularly original, but it does show Winkler’s talent for creating relatable characters and for writing scenes that give actors room to sink their teeth into a role." Full Review
for a previous production "There is much to admire in 'God Said This,' beginning with the credible and often moving scenes between Masako and James...But there are issues. The daughters are both fairly one-dimensional and frankly unappealing characters, and their dialogue feels more trite than that of the parents...There's not quite enough material here to cover its two acts and some story elements felt a bit like padding." Full Review
See it if You like very well acted family dramas with an uplifting, though sad, ending
Don't see it if You believe that uplifting endings are too corny. You have a problem with foul language or seeing graphic depictions of sickness
See it if You and/or your family have experienced the struggling of illness and the strain of family relationships.
Don't see it if You are looking for a fluffy, carefree, light show.
See it if you seek the rare delight of a sharp-tongued, bitterly funny play that somehow also feels like a warm hug, so kind and human.
Don't see it if you're put off by portrayals of terminal illness that may hit too close to home, or occasional loud and aggressively combative dialogue.
See it if You're interested in a story that deals heavily with the ideas of how we untangle ourselves from the long arms of grief.
Don't see it if You're not interested in understanding or navigating grief.
See it if you love family dramas, redemption,good acting, well written stories, terrific set.Makes you think about forgiveness, love, patience.
Don't see it if you detest loud rock music playing before the show.Show has NOTHING to do with that world.No idea why they chose such awful music.
See it if You appreciate skillful writing about sensitive subjects-family dynamics, illness, death, love. Wonderfully directed and acted, a winner.
Don't see it if You have no patience for a sensitive story without dancing girls.
See it if This was great, and totally unexpected. A tear-jerker in the best sense of the word. Family portrait draws through a full set of emotions.
Don't see it if Uneven in some scenes, but always worth the payoff emotionally. I imagine some viewers might find this "too much"
See it if you enjoy family relationships that are discussed and tested during the course of the mother's chemotherapy which bring the family together.
Don't see it if you're not interested in family drama and don't want to watch a mother's chemotherapy experiences on stage which serve as the catalyst.
See it if You want a well written, beautifully performed play that will have you caught up in a family experience that you can relate to.
Don't see it if No reason. Go see it. It is worth your time.
See it if Family with broken relationships rallies around mother's cancer. Realistic and sad. Redemption through kindness. Many tears.
Don't see it if You don't enjoy relatable family drama, focused on character development and relationships. A little sappy & predictable.
See it if This is a family drama about what it is like to face a severe illness in a family that is basically dysfunctional. Mends fences.
Don't see it if You have recently lost a family member to a long-term illness. There is a minimal amount of profanity.
See it if An absorbing story of how a strained family deals with their mother’s cancer treatment. Good performances. Amusing.
Don't see it if I wish the characters were better developed. With the exception of the father, the portraits were quite superficial.
See it if A poignant complex story about family ties, illness, coping mechanisms and survival.
Don't see it if If stories about family and illness are not what you are in mood for
See it if want a glimpse into a family and their drama as they deal with ailing family members and each other
Don't see it if you don't want to see themes and stories around cancer and addicition and how those affecct families
See it if you like plays with realism and seemingly genuine characters, are interested in play about family coping with a dying family member.
Don't see it if you don't want to be confronted with story about a dying relative. Audience members were crying, most likely because the play is relatable.
See it if you're up for a tightly written script, great performances (Jay Patterson is stunning), and satisfying family drama.
Don't see it if hospital rooms or medical dramas make you ill.
See it if want to observe biracial family coming to terms with difficult years of growing up. Good story, familiar with humor.
Don't see it if you have had your fill of family drama, are triggered by addiction and parenthood.
See it if You understand the complex nature of families each dealing with their own demons. You laugh. You cry.
Don't see it if You seek fluff or have trouble confronting your own issues as portrayed by a fine troupe
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