New Light Theater Project presents this world premiere dark comedy about love, addiction, and aging. More…
In 'Hal & Bee,' an aging hippie couple tries to hold on to their bohemian roots while dealing with the impending sale of their Upper West Side apartment building and the deadly familiarity of their own relationship.
"With a stellar cast and excellent staging, this entertaining dark comedy is very thought provoking...Leading the cast are Broadway veterans, Candy Buckley as Bee and Jeff Hayenga as Hal who master their portrayal of aging hippies...The troupe also includes the talents of Lisa Jill Anderson who portrays Moon...Poake excels in his role as The Bug Man...This four-person cast delivers Max Baker's clever dialogue with perfect pacing...Humorous, surprising, and touching." Full Review
"Baker's lines are spiky and colorful, often dark, sometimes banal, but his portrait of these two and the two lesser characters is always illuminating and full of real emotion. The fade-out, a quiet revelatory moment, is simply lovely-and sad." Full Review
"Baker's unsurprisingly excellent new play...It's savagely funny as well as intellectually rich...Baker has a gift for dynamic, rich, rhythmic dialogue, and the cast more than does it justice. Buckley is marvelous and packs every line with personality. Hayenga's performance is equally terrific, nuanced and recognizable. Both he and Buckley are extremely funny...As examinations of marital and existential crises go, 'Hal & Bee' is funny, surprising, and ultimately moving." Full Review
"In this allegorical extended metaphor, 'civilization and its discontents' camps at the doorstep of the scrapping couple’s apartment in a rapid-fire exchange laced with flights of fantasy and just the hint of buyer’s remorse...The plot, driven by the exaggerated (albeit authentic) conflicts of the play’s colorful and well-developed characters...Under Sarah Norris’s astute direction, the cast handily delivers Max Baker’s intriguing script with energy and determination." Full Review
"This is a play that works by successfully capturing the nitty-gritty of the couple's lives, and, with the exception of the fantasy 'murder' sequences, the playwright has created a very realistic pair...Audience could be seen grimacing with apparent recognition at some of the more blistering lines...Supporting characters...Each of whom provides a welcome relief from the constant sniping, are smartly conceived and performed...Directed with a keen eye for detail." Full Review
"Charming, offbeat comedy...Directed deftly by Norris, Baker's portrait of family dysfunction is rich in detail...Hayenga is by turns irate, affectionate, and manic as Hal. Buckley is delightful as Bee, caustic sometimes, and yet much more light-hearted with her daughter...Baker has a good sense of the 1960s zeitgeist. 'Hal & Bee' conveys a sense of the impotence of those voices that once were in the vanguard to forge a better society." Full Review
"Refreshingly witty...Hayenga and Buckley are perfectly matched as the feuding pair and trade barbs at a fierce pace that's both delightful and challenging to follow. We enjoy watching their tit-for-tat spats - littered with Baker's punchy jokes and fresh observations...Buckley and Hayenga also make their union understandable by showing evidence of a deep-seated affection that continues to endure despite their differences." Full Review
"These actors Candy Buckley (Bee) and Jeff Hayenga (Hal) are gripping…Anderson delivers her profanity-laced screeds with both conviction and a strangely charming aplomb…Director Sarah Norris gets what she needs from each of the actors...So — compelling performances, well directed and supported by production staff, addressing a subject we all struggle with — what could go wrong? There’s nothing wrong with 'Hal & Bee,' it just goes on too long. I’m glad I saw it." Full Review
"Norris has assembled a cast of actors more than capable of the rapid linguistic and downward spiraling of this tale...Baker's clever dialogue is sharp and sardonic and funny. The entire cast takes us on his cultural roller coaster, including the dark fantasy tunnels of marital resentments and disappointments, with an intelligent adroitness that is truly admirable...We are nearly exhausted after this ride, but not exactly exhilarated as the play draws to its inconclusive and somewhat maudlin ... Full Review
"Unfortunately, both brutal violence and victims’ responses are unrealistically orchestrated…A good idea gone wrong. Differentiating script from production, I find the concept intriguing, speeches evocatively generational and character specific...The play should zip along and doesn’t. Jeff Hayenga’s Hal is irritating but we never see him uncontrollably angry, only the results. He’s credibly high, but otherwise one note. Candy Buckley (Bee) is more nuanced and grounded in her efforts.” Full Review
"Various acts of uxoricide take place in Hal's increasingly frustrated mind. These are meant to amuse, I guess, but they don't, in part because the joke, which isn't that strong to begin with, grows stale through repetition, and in part because...one can't help but feel that Hal and Bee aren't really worth one's attention...The actors throw themselves into every spat...'Hal and Bee,' the play, never makes a case for why one should care about Hal and Bee, the characters." Full Review
See it if you enjoy shows with a unique twist albeit confusing at first, worth staying with it.
Don't see it if contemporary dramedy doesn't suit you considering you have to be a bit patient at first
See it if You enjoy shows that deal with the Baby Boomer generation, and NYC -centric family/comedies.
Don't see it if You are tired of plays/movies involving the Baby Boomer generation. You wish a show in a comfortable setting.
See it if An absurdist drama about a college-age daughter trying to separate from aging, not so happily married, hippy parents as ceiling closes in.
Don't see it if You don’t like mixing real and absurd events and you don’t believe that a fantasy of killing is a solution for a problem.
See it if You enjoy dark comedy, sharply realistic dialogue, plays about family and relationships, fight choreography, stories about NYC.
Don't see it if You're not interested in those things.
See it if You're interested in engaging new work from exciting young theater companies. You're an aging hippie, a New Yorker, or a millennial.
Don't see it if You don't like surreal moments mixed in wittily with reality, or if you can't handle a bit of violence.
See it if You've ever been in a long term relationship! This darkly funny play taps into the ways in which we can hate those whom we love most.
Don't see it if you don't like theater. Otherwise, definitely just see it! :-)
See it if You would like a pleasant night out. An intriguing pensee on living together and aging.
Don't see it if Perhaps you are too young to imagine the situation it presents, or old enough and likely to find it hits too close to your actual life.
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