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How to Transcend a Happy Marriage

From 199 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Quirky, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

About the show

Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and Tony winner Lena Hall star in Sarah Ruhl's new play at Lincoln Center about the boundaries of monogamy, the limits of friendship, and what happens when parents indulge their wild sides. More…

At a dinner party in New Jersey, George (Marisa Tomei) and her husband talk with a fellow married couple about a younger acquaintance—a polyamorous woman (Lena Hall) who also hunts her own meat. Fascinated, they invite this mysterious woman and her two live-in boyfriends to a New Year’s Eve party which alters the course of their lives.

Member Reviews (199)


Great acting, Quirky, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Entertaining
Avg Score

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Refreshing, Thought-provoking

See it if you like fresh ideas explored on stage, in this case polyamory, group sex & friendship between couples, appreciate Marisa Tomei's talent

Don't see it if Post modern sexual behavior and graphic talk disturbs you, you are not a fan of magical realism or allegories, you need plots wrapped up

Provocative sarah ruhl tries to provoke again but loses her way

See it if 1st act features Bob Carol Ted Alice-like shocking and hilarious foursome, charismatic Lena Hall, winning Marisa Tomei

Don't see it if incoherent 2nd act goes NOWHERE in extending plot/rich themes of scandalous 1st act, becomes banal appeal to love thy neighbor

Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Raunchy

See it if You're interested in hearing a topical, relevant discussion on modern love and sexuality.

Don't see it if Frank discussions of sex, bisexuality, polyamory and topics of that ilk make you cringe, even if they're humorous.

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Indulgent

See it if See if for the naturalistic, absorbing performance of Marisa Tomei.

Don't see it if The actors are good but they have little to work with. The play is convoluted and loses any meaning/message it might have wanted to convey.

Boring, Overwritten, Excruciating, Overrated, Overbloated writing

See it if you are a fan of Marisa Tomei.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of Sarah Ruble's whose work is constantly calling out for an editor.

Great acting, Edgy, Raunchy, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if Want to discover new sexual mores. Are over 14; are used to Sara Ruhl plays; A great cast led by Marisa Tomei; Polyamory explained

Don't see it if Sexual scenes upset you Nakedness upsets you Men caressing upsets you Group sex upsets you You are close minded

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You want to see a good writer trying to be relevant

Don't see it if Your not avid theatre goer

Ambitious, Clever, Dizzying, Great acting, Quirky

See it if You enjoy a great ensemble cast with a quirky story premise that is fun and interesting and definitely a little odd.

Don't see it if You need your story to be straightforward. The oddness adds to the appeal here.

Entertaining, Dizzying, Confusing

See it if You are interested in issues regarding polyamory, open marriage, bi-curious, permissive parenting, veganism, ethical carnivores, hunting etc

Don't see it if You want a neat, tidy show

Funny, Intelligent, Excruciating, Indulgent, Great acting

See it if Act I was hysterical - smart, funny and relevant, if a bit cliched. It flew by. Marisa Tomei really commits to her character.

Don't see it if Act II went to a very weird and unpleasant place. Started looking at my watch after 20 minutes.

Also So sad that a play that started out so promisingly ended up an unpleas... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Absorbing, Quirky

See it if you enjoy Sarah Ruhl's take on modern relationships, Marisa Tomei and Lena Hall amongst two in the cast that shines

Don't see it if you have Puritanical values, they will be shaken

Funny, Entertaining, Quirky

See it if You are interested in an unusual exploration of sexuality and friendship in and out of marriage.

Don't see it if Explicit talk and some overt acts of sexuality, specially non-traditional sexuality would offend you.

Crude, Edgy, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Overwrought & overthought (too many themes)

See it if you can stand a disappointing story involving loose-morals, sexuality, and tries-too-hard-to-be-edgy moments. Marisa Tomei is too good here.

Don't see it if uncomfortable with sexuality, nudity, and talk about animal slaughter. Tomei is far too wasted in this production with too many themes.

Also How to Transcend a Happy Marriage promises to be an intimate play abou... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Quirky

See it if if you would like to stretch the concept of monogamy and/or you are a fan of Marissa Tomei.

Don't see it if you want a play to answer all its questions , especially those of a supernatural nature.

Good pacing, Quirky sarah ruhl script, Dizzying, Ambitious

See it if You Like Sarah Ruhl, enjoy quirky dramady's with imaginative journey's for the ensemble cast. Very well paced. Marisa Tomei's the stand out

Don't see it if You don't like plays about sex or sex talk, polygamy, orgies, fantasy. Also the author tackle dozens of marital themes, not settling on one.

Disappointing, Banal, Slow, Dated, Great acting

See it if you're a fan of Marisa Tomei , Lincoln Center and great acting.

Don't see it if if you want to see a plausible sketch comedy that holds your interest.

Banal, Cliched, Indulgent, Insipid, Ultimately boring

See it if you're young and haven't yet seen shows about the variations on the theme of sex and its permutations.

Don't see it if You're so over the above comment.

Also It's like watching Bob&Carol&Ted&Alice updated to include polyamorous ... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Quirky

See it if Like non-substantial theatre with ideas that didn't go anywhere.

Don't see it if Want a better play.

Funny, Quirky, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Stimulating

See it if you think Lincoln Center is rewarding... no exception here. Tomei and Weigart are on-pointe, Hall is engaging. Well worth a night-out.

Don't see it if a little same-sex PDF is not cool w/you. Subject matter is clear, but your loss if you miss seeing this show. Story/theme is SO much more.

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Quirky, Great writing

See it if You want to experience a unique play that tackles issues not often addressed on stage,such as polyamory. Excellent performances.

Don't see it if You prefer plays dealing with more traditional subject matter.

Disappointing, Funny, Quirky, Slow, Romantic

See it if You are a Marisa Tomei fan. Like relationship oriented plays with a fantastical bent.

Don't see it if Are offended by blatant sexuality and/or references to polyamory.

Also Several entertaining characters, but the play doesn't hang together.

Confusing, Indulgent, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if you are already a fan of Sarah Ruhl or want to see Lena Hall slay with "She'll Be Coming Around The Mountain".

Don't see it if you dislike 4th wall breaking, unresolved metaphors, or whiny middle-aged couples.

Edgy, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Diverting, Ambitious

See it if you're a fan of Sarah Ruhl ( 3d recent LTC play) & you're game to muse about how relationships alter the boxes we—or others—may put us in.

Don't see it if you're looking for light-hearted, straight-laced, or more prim fare or don't want to contemplate marriage or parenthood impacting identity.

Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if you like to check out new work or are a fan of Sarah Ruhl's work. Worth a visit for the great cast, standouts are Marisa Tomie & Lena Hall.

Don't see it if you are a prude and/or do not have an open mind

Enchanting, Clever, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Raunchy

See it if Marisa Tomei leads a first rate cast; Sarah Ruhl continues to explore the sexual awakening of her characters

Don't see it if The fantastical often occurs in the play

March 20th, 2017
"An idea-inebriated, unsteady comedy...Fanciful mysticism and anchoring reality coexist less comfortably in 'How to Transcend a Happy Marriage' than they do in other works by Ms. Ruhl. Though the cast members are uniformly agile and appealing, they seldom seem entirely at home in their characters...
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March 20th, 2017
"Sarah Ruhl has written an amiable hour about monogamy and its discontents...Then, unfortunately, Ruhl inserts an intermission, spins out 35 more minutes of chatty whimsy...A light, frolicsome one-act mutates into a mediocre marriage play...If 'How to Transcend' were a tryst, it would be two hour...
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March 20th, 2017
"Taichman appears to have encouraged the entire cast to play it large and play it for laughs, which are mostly not forthcoming...Surrealism undermines the play at every turn...If you think of it as a daydream or an anthology of oddities, 'How to Transcend' is potentially fascinating. But as a pla...
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March 20th, 2017
"After a sexy and amusing first act, 'How to Transcend a Happy Marriage' goes downhill quickly...Director Rebecca Taichman has assembled a terrific ensemble for this production...They’re ultimately undone by the problematic script...Featuring fast and funny dialogue, the play initially seems to b...
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