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
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
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.
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.
See it if You want to see a good writer trying to be relevant
Don't see it if Your not avid theatre goer
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.
See it if Like non-substantial theatre with ideas that didn't go anywhere.
Don't see it if Want a better play.
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
"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’ skins...The elements never quite coalesce into a single fluid stream of thought or story. Ms. Ruhl is suspended ambivalently here between satire and empathy."
"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 hours of light foreplay followed by your partner drifting abstractedly into the next room to browse books on Eastern philosophy. Eventually, you get up and leave, quite unsatisfied."
"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 play—even the carefully artificial kind that Ruhl, almost uniquely, sometimes pull off—it’s surprisingly dry and importunate. The proportion of ideas to people is out of whack."
"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 be operating on all cylinders. But the second act, which delves into magical realism, becomes hopelessly murky and confusing."
"Unfortunately, the story is rather more bewildering than 'profound.' Amid a wealth of terrific, clever, laugh-out-loud dialogue are moments of total realness and others of supernatural wildness, yet none of it quite clicks into place...;How to Transcend a Happy Marriage' is funny and filled with great actors giving impressive, vulnerable performances. But ultimately, the lasting impression is less than the sum of its parts."
“The setting for this experimental piece is exceptionally handsome, and under the sure directorial hand of Rebecca Taichman, a tip-top cast headed by Marisa Tomei performs with brio. Nonetheless, the show is both baffling and boring…An initially provocative but eventually lame play…This new work has a lot on its mind that deserves our attention…But no solid matter emerges from these wink-wink hints at deeper substance.”
"Until this point, Ruhl has been content juxtaposing complacency and adventure, and the usual ideas of youth versus maturity...Soon, those ideas begin to lose focus for us; they become less engaging, more annoying. It’s possible that the usually astute director Taichman has ceded editorial control over the goings-on, for 'How to Transcend' reads better than it plays in this production–the fine work of fine actors notwithstanding. The takeaway is more head-scratching than transcendent."
"Sarah Ruhl’s play starts with promise, is skillfully acted and deftly staged by Rebecca Taichman, but after a magical twist, one of the author’s signatures, the story about the limits and limitlessness of love turns ungainly and less interesting...The play is too much."