Already closed | 1h 45m | East Village

Her Portmanteau

From 71 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Intense

About the show

'Sojourners' and 'Her Portmanteau' comprise a two-part theatrical event running in rep at New York Theatre Workshop. They're part of 'The Ufot Cycle,' a nine-play saga chronicling the matriarch of a Nigerian family. More…

Decades after 'Sojourners,' the full impact of Abasiama’s decisions erupt when her family is reunited in 'Her Portmanteau.' As Nigerian traditions clash with the realities of American life, Abasiama and her daughters must confront complex familial legacies that span time, geography, language, and culture.


Member Reviews (71)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Intense
80
Avg Score

80
Slow, Great acting, Great writing, Rich, Intelligent

See it if A bit slow and long, but performances are stellar for this emotional drama. A character piece done well.

Don't see it if You need an intermission. I could have used one.

85
Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Relevant, Heartbreaking

See it if Nigerian family comes to terms with choices the mother made when she was a college student in Texas. Sacrifices and regrets, but also hope

Don't see it if You are looking for lighter fare. It takes a while to understand what is going on, but it all comes together.

Also The two plays were excellent together. You could see them in either or... Read more Read less

80
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if partners 85 my 75 great performances by all 4 . thought provoking dialogue but....

Don't see it if perhaps a glossary of the Nigerian terms would be useful however anxious to see the 2nd part of the cycle

78
Confusing, Intense, Resonant, Slow, Good acting

See it if Companion piece to Sojourners dealing w/ lead character 30 yrs later Top notch acting sustains piece despite slow pace & confusing plotlines

Don't see it if Very confusing w/o knowledge of previous incidents of 1st play However, the 'sins of the parents' & African diaspora themes are timeless

83
Very moving follow-up to "sojourners" showing heartbreaking decisions of immigrants caught between two worlds

See it if shows how painfully and w humor yearning 4 family connection overcomes decisions splitting apart Nigerian-Amer family, outstanding ensemble

Don't see it if dead moments where you say "enough already," you NEED to see "Sojourners" before, since this makes "Portmanteau" resonant & heartbreaking

Also A number of people I spoke to commented that combining shortened versi... Read more Read less

77
Absorbing, Great acting

See it if you enjoy powerful relationship problems within a family. See even if you didn't like Sojourners. This was better done.

Don't see it if you like humor. This play is all serious. Members of family with different cultural background meet.

81
Great acting, Great writing, Absorbing, Intense

See it if You are interested in the aftermath decades later of a Nigerian immigrant's life in America a few decades later. How did her life turn out?

Don't see it if You are not interested in how America affects the lives of immigrants v. the family ones still left in the home country.

85
Great acting, Resonant, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if you've seen Sojourners - I recommend seeing this one second and seeing them close together. Chinasa Ogbuagu is extraordinary in both plays

Don't see it if you're not interested in very well done true family stories about immigration. The turntable set was clunky and a little noisy.

78
Intelligent, Profound, Great acting, Intense, Disappointing

See it if A very tense 3-hander with some very good performances. An original idea.

Don't see it if Not as good as its prequel, Sojourners. I found it hard to believe that this was the same character. Too much dialogue in Nigerian.

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you enjoy good actors working with good material about immigration, assimilation and stereotypes.

Don't see it if you have a hard time interpreting the use of a foreign language within a story

83
Stunning, Intricate, Confusing start, but just wait!, Great acting

See it if How to move ahead when weighed down by so much baggage? How to mend holes in our hearts when we make the difficult decisions. A mother and..

Don't see it if daughter(s) relationship that compels us to hope, in a Nigerian family in the 70's & today. Slow, inarticulate start, strong build.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Moving

See it if touching story about 3 female members of a Nigerian family; family dynamics (mother-daughter); wonderful performance by Ms. Oduye

Don't see it if don't want plays that are part of a cycle of plays (althou this can stand alone many details are from Sojourner); emotional family dynamics

Also Saw this on the same day as Sojourner, the first play in the cycle. Sa... Read more Read less

73
Confusing, Great acting, Slow

See it if You've already seen Sojourners and liked it.

Don't see it if You disliked Sojourners.

Also I made the mistake of seeing Her Portmanteau first. I spent the first ... Read more Read less

65
Slow, Intense, Overrated, Confusing, Intelligent

See it if You're willing to wait through most of the play for the pieces to come together.

Don't see it if you find it hard to engage with a central, unlikable character.

Also Very powerfully acted, but the motivation of one character is baffling... Read more Read less

88
Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You like fine acting and writing, in service of a compelling immigrant narrative.

Don't see it if You cannot see the universality inherent in the journey of African immigrant characters and their descendants.

79
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if understanding the outcome of Sojourners matters. A real improvement with tighter writing than part 1. Loved the casting flip.Mom = daughter.

Don't see it if you don't care about the outcome of part 1.

Also With both plays, some tough tightening of the script would make them b... Read more Read less

68
Great acting, Indulgent, Overrated, Slow, Inert

See it if you really enjoyed Sojourners and want to know what happened next.

Don't see it if you hate plays that start strong then have nowhere to go.

80
Entertaining, Wonderful writing

See it if You like dramas about mothers, daughters, youthful decisions, long-term consequences, culture shock and good writing.

Don't see it if You are bothered by characters occasionally breaking into a foreign language you don't understand.

Also A follow up to "Sojourners" this play further elaborates on the diffic... Read more Read less

74
Absorbing, Confusing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you can get past not understanding a good third of the dialogue which is in an African language without subtitles Interesting concept,acting

Don't see it if you think theater is about words as well as emotion and. therefore, see the need to understand what is being said,

78
Intelligent, Relevant, Intense, Slow, Confusing

See it if You want to hear the Nigerian immigrant story as a mother tries to bring reconciliation between herself and two daughters one left in Lagos.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in above, have trouble with Nigerian accents, speechifying, Igbo dialogue with no translation, slow pace.Still worthy.

90
Absorbing, Intelligent, Profound, Relevant, Intense

See it if you've seen Sojourners and want to follow the characters into their future; you like good drama.

Don't see it if you're not interested in the (Nigerian) immigrant experience; you're not up for a serious drama.

3
Excruciating, Overrated, Slow, Uninteresting

See it if you want to be bored and unmoved. The story is predictable and like a soap opera. The play needs to be cut by about 30 minutes.

Don't see it if Just don't see it. But if you do, see Sojourner first. They say it does not matter, but it does.

Also It is annoying and it does not move the action when the actresses spea... Read more Read less

79
Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant

See it if You enjoy quiet stories about family/relationships that expose you to different cultures

Don't see it if You are looking for a story with a big "aha" moment.

Also Nothing "big" happens - but these are characters you can care about. Y... Read more Read less

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if you are interested in a Nigerian family's journey over the years. (More satisfying than "Sojourners" if you can go to only one.)

Don't see it if you don't like family sagas.

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Educational

See it if You are interested in immigrant cultures and the immigrant experience

Don't see it if Conversational dramas that focus on relationships and especially people coming to terms with hurts of the past bore you

Also This play was pretty good but far less creative than Sojourners especi... Read more Read less


May 16th, 2017
"The plays, a pair of stunningly acted productions, offer a moving and powerful corrective to the notion that what immigrants leave behind is always awful, and that what they find is always worth the trip...'Portmanteau' is a far more conventional work...Even so, 'Portmanteau' is the more moving ...
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May 16th, 2017
“The best thing about the pair of clumsy family dramas is the extraordinarily graceful performer they both revolve around...Ogbuagu manages, again and again, to make these two muddled plays occasionally cohere…There is promise here. The playwright has a delicate ear for dialogue…But such poignant...
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May 16th, 2017
“A playwright with a lot on her mind and a seriously compelling storytelling gift…There are the usual hoary dramatic devices to remove one figure from the scene and allow the other two to have at it, but that takes nothing away from the emotional jolt of the confrontations that ensue…Udofia isn’t...
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May 16th, 2017
“Udofia offers no easy answers, but her firm grasp of family dynamics will give audiences much to consider…Ogbuagu delivers a performance to remember…She is practically unrecognizable in 'Her Portmanteau,' adopting a distinct physicality and speech pattern…The three women sustain a thick air of t...
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