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Greater Clements

From 200 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing

About the show

Playwright Sam Hunter ("The Whale," "Lewiston/Clarkston") returns to Lincoln Center for this new drama set in an Idaho mining colony. More…

From the show:

GREATER CLEMENTS, takes place in the fictional town of Greater Clements, Idaho, a mining community where properties are being purchased by wealthy out-of-state people, forcing out lifelong residents — largely blue-collar workers — who are becoming disenfranchised and disenchanted. But all of that is in the subtext; it isn’t hammered on the head. The story is told through Maggie, played by the marvelous Judith Ivey. Maggie is on the verge of shutting down her family’s Mine Tour and Museum business. Her troubled adult son, has moved back home, recovering but unmoored. As the play opens, Maggie awaits a visit from an old friend. He brings a tempting offer to start a new life with him beyond this desolate town’s limits. Through the author’s quirky humor, keen observation and deep sensitivity to these idiosyncratic characters, we see just how hard it might be to leave the past behind.


Member Reviews (200)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing
77
Avg Score

75
Long, Intelligent, Terrible sightlines, Messy plot, Absorbing

See it if you like complex chars in unusual setting. Some stg acting (esply Donovan/Ivey). Slice of life, w/high tension. Some humor. Gd pace, but lg.

Don't see it if you want believable plotting and a satisfying ending. Interesting material, but it doesn't add up. A set sh never interfere w/audience.

Also Joe's char was fascinating, but I don't know what his illness was. He ... Read more Read less

87
Great acting, Bleak, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Profound

See it if Legacy of suffering in a dissolving town, abandoned mine, and a family's last generation. Burdensome love. Aimlessness, despair, defeat.

Don't see it if You are not up for a long, deep, absorbing 3 act play that draws out its bleak feelings. Blocked sight lines (especially avoid front rows).

Also (Spoiler alert) ..... After all the that has happened, with Maggie's a... Read more Read less

84
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Edmund Donovan is the stand-out in an outstanding cast in Hunter's noble yet bleak drama about loss of identity through loss of community

Don't see it if McCallum's finely wrought staging is essential in allowing this well crafted, deliberate melodrama to unfold as various plot lines converge

92
Riveting, Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if you like great drama that is realistic, intense, thought provoking and heart wrenching. It is a story of sad times and sad people striving.

Don't see it if you do not like long plays that keep revealing bits and in the end leave you thinking rather than provide a conclusive end.

78
A tad long, Great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Ambitious

See it if Fan of the playwright, get a feel for dying Idaho towns, enjoy complex characters with strong female lead, see mine created as part of set

Don't see it if Don’t like 3-act 2-intermission plays, stories about dying towns, many scenes in low lights, manufactured suspense

81
Traditional structure, Resonant, Edgy, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you miss plays with plot points, climaxes, themes and intermissions. Good performances and interesting staging,

Don't see it if you are not prepared for a 2 hour 50 minute run time.

95
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if See it for Edmund Donovan (Joe), he is incredible. Other actors fantastic too.Very well written play, riveting. Interesting & surprising set

Don't see it if Show is long (although it didn't feel that way). Two intermissions worked because each section was fairly short. Bad sightlines...

Also ...Set is impressive but there are many seats from which you'd be unab... Read more Read less

98
Incredibly realistic, One of the best performances of all time, One of the best plays of all time

See it if You enjoy perfect and realistic family dramas that will keep you captivated for three hours

Don't see it if You are looking for something light. I can’t imagine anyone seeing this play and not being emotionally moved to tears

Also Last year I saw Lewiston and Clarkston. These were my first two Samuel... Read more Read less

56
Banal, Dull, Horrible sight lines, Badly directed, Disappointing

See it if you like shows that are all flash, no depth.Set is unnecessarily complicated,resulting in VERY bad sight lines.Judith Ivey was wonderful

Don't see it if you are looking for something worth sitting through 3 hours of predictable theatre.Except for Ivey, acting was weak.That = bad direction.

79
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if you like a masterclass in acting by Judith Ivey. Andrew Garman stands up to her perf. The show is long depressing but tells a sad true story

Don't see it if a long sad play with characters talking over themselves and a pole for the set design blocks the front middle of the stage is not for you

84
Long, Resonant, Engrossing, Devastating, Great acting

See it if A dying Idaho mining town & it's greatly troubled inhabitants are the focus of this well written, superbly acted 3 act play.

Don't see it if you want to walk out of the theater on a high note. This is not that play. It is, however, very moving & Ivey & Donovan are riveting.

Also The configuration of the theater is such that many seats will have par... Read more Read less

89
Intense, Profound, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if the great Judith Ivey and Edmund Donovan give incredible performances in a 3 hour play that flew by for me.

Don't see it if you are looking for a light short play this is not for you.

Also Two objections: this poorly designed show with obstructed views is unf... Read more Read less

90
Semi-shocking and heartbreaking moments punctuate a sometimes-slow story, Unevenly-paced, Thought-provoking, Exceptional acting, Immersive

See it if the decline of the American West, its stories and history, and the complicated lives of diverse people who struggle there are of interest.

Don't see it if you'll be annoyed by sometimes-impeded sightlines or some meaningless characters; dislike 2-intermission dramas; triggered by loud sounds.

Also This is my first Samuel D. Hunter play; I’m impressed enough by his ab... Read more Read less

84
Intense, Great acting, Great writing

See it if great acting in a well written drama. relevant to today's times. plays like this used to be on Broadway, why is this not?

Don't see it if want something fluffy. this is serious work.

50
Intense, Quirky, Slow

See it if you are a fan of Judith Ivey.

Don't see it if sitting through a slowly movie three hour play is NOT your cup of tea.

Also Yale School of Drama alum Edmund Donovan's performance is NOT TO BE MI... Read more Read less

79
Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a drama about a dying mining town and how the relationships of the remaining citizens are affected by the events. Great cast

Don't see it if You would be bothered by depressing characters dealing with issues of mental illness and cancer.

70
Bizarre, misguided final scene/character, Several fascinating characters, Too long, slow, and clunky, Judith ivey shines, Needs a trim of extraneous dialogue

See it if Are patient with a play that unfolds too slowly and quite unevenly. Are a Judith Ivey fan. Like American tales of small town life and woes.

Don't see it if You need the storytelling to clip along and for all the acting to be top notch.

58
Naturalistic, Slow, Overrated, Disappointing, Banal

See it if You are a Samuel Hunter completist.

Don't see it if You want compelling writing, interesting characters, fresh plotting, or any sense of chemistry among the actors.

Also Hunter can do better. Predictable. I expect him to open my eyes in som... Read more Read less

88
Unique, Suspenseful, Great writing, Great acting, Clever

See it if Just super clever in every way-- with its intensity and sensitivity, temporal playfulness, incredible acting, and unique plot.

Don't see it if Ther are definitely trigger issues for people, and although deep and thoughtful it is also tremendously sad and resonant.

Also I saw Judith Ivey's understudy who was excellent and I am sure that to... Read more Read less

91
Thought-provoking, Riveting, Profound, Intense, Great writing

See it if Maybe I just really like Sam Hunter, but this play really did it for me. Gripping, heartrending, naturalistic, and compelling...

Don't see it if ...without being obviously great. The plot, as it is, doesn't sound that great, and some of the actors are much stronger than others, but...

Also ultimately the dialogue, the tempo, and the human scale of the drama k... Read more Read less

80
Edgy, Intense, Great acting

See it if You like Hunter’s heartbreaking stories of dying mid-west towns. Ivey & Donavan are superb, but all cast are very good.

Don't see it if A slow moving family tragedy is not for you.

79
Bleak, Thought-provoking, Too long, Intense, Great acting

See it if to see great acting, Ivey and Donovan especially. Sad, bleak story about troubled characters and loss of a town.

Don't see it if you want something light and uplifting. Interesting staging makes it often hard to see. Actors at times talk over each other, hard to hear.

Also This was almost 3 hours with 2 intermissions. I think it would be stro... Read more Read less

65
Bloated writing, Poor staging, Indulgent, Slow, Great acting

See it if Two leads do great acting. The rest of the cast was very uneven, though characters were caricatures or underwritten. Interesting parts.

Don't see it if You want a great play. There is one here, buried in a lot of filler. The last few scenes were unnecessary, and pretty unbelievable.

Also What happens near the end is haunting, then they keep going, and the l... Read more Read less

92
Relevant, Profound, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if One of the best plays of 2019 this is a moving and beautiful portrayal of characters rarely seen on stage.

Don't see it if You do not like character study focused plays.

Also Judith Ivey and Edmund Donovan give astoundingly great performances, a... Read more Read less

59
A small play overwhelmed by its production

See it if You'd like to cover as many issues and minorities as possible in one evening. (see other for a partial laundry list)

Don't see it if Awkward exposition,uninspired dialogue,predictable plots not what I expected from someone I previously thought of a sophisticated playwright

Also Mental illness, racism, corporate greed, Japanese internment camps, ge... Read more Read less


December 9th, 2019
"‘Greater Clements,’ the Tragedy of a Town that Closed: Samuel D. Hunter’s creaky play about the downsizing of the American West features terrific performances by Judith Ivey and Edmund Donovan."
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December 9th, 2019
5 Stars. "Chekhovian in spirit but utterly modern in its concerns, Greater Clements is suffused with Hunter's signature combination of gentleness and despair...The play is nearly three hours long. It's not boring for a moment, though, because it is so rich with nuance and quiet dread."
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December 10th, 2019
"'Greater Clements,' a Small-Town Drama Where the Town’s Disappearing"
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December 9th, 2019
"Judith Ivey and Edmund Donovan play a single mother and her troubled son in a dying Idaho mining town in MacArthur Fellowship recipient Samuel D. Hunter's elegiac drama."
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