Pulitzer Prize finalist Madeleine George pens a comic evisceration of the blind eye we all turn to climate change and the bacchanalian catharsis that awaits us, even in our own backyards. Tony nominee Leigh Silverman directs. More…
Meet Diane, a permaculture gardener dripping with butch charm. She’s got supernatural abilities owing to her true identity—the Greek god Dionysus—and she’s returned to the modern world to gather mortal followers and restore the Earth to its natural state. Where better to begin than with four housewives in a suburban New Jersey cul-de-sac? A co-production of New York Theatre Workshop and WP Theater.
"George’s fantastic, heartbreaking 'Hurricane Diane' is a comedy in the most ancient, expansive sense. It’s the kind of comedy that holds a tragedy inside it, plying us with laughter until we’re tipsy, then lovingly, ruthlessly slipping in the knife. Hilarious, shattering, and full of keen observation and profound human affection, the play both lifts us up and wrings us out...Blackwell is immediately and utterly arresting...Silverman doesn’t always take full advantage of the supercharged mome... Full Review
"An astonishing new play...Ms. George has fun with these women — or girls, as they call themselves — but does not mock them. Rather, with loving attention to sitcom rhythm, she gradually anatomizes the emptiness that animates their 'Golden Girls' chatter...Ms. Silverman’s control of the tone in the first half, along with the hilarious but grounded work of the cast throughout serves the play’s intentions beautifully." Full Review
"The witty and intelligent play ‘Hurricane Diane’ finds Dionysus transformed into a modern-day sexed-up gardener, laser-focused on seducing a group of New Jersey housewives...Blackwell plays the gardener brilliantly, with a suggestive leer, lusty smile, and deeply felt serious purpose...There is a lovely humor to George’s play, directed with an anarchic brio by Leigh Silverman...All four of the women are carefully and wittily drawn, and brought to stage life just as sharply." Full Review
"With George’s crisp, bulls-eyed dialog, director Leigh Silverman’s faultless pacing, and the spectacular comic timing of the uber talented cast, all the audience has to do is sit back and enjoy...Each new scene and character makes us salivate for the next, and we aren’t disappointed...Don’t think that ‘Hurricane Diane’ is all style and no substance. It’s exceedingly funny and acerbic, but there’s meat in that matter and a sting in those barbs because the subject matter is very real." Full Review
"Written with whip smart side angles...It’s brilliantly funny, this epic global warning of a play of such eco-expanisve thinking, that as directed with a sharp sense of deconstructed realism by Leigh Silverman, we fully embrace the returning God of wine...The comedic tragedy of 'Hurricane Diane' triumphs in the brutally honest war against suburban safety and creature comforts of the manicured. The utterly fantastically fun 'Hurricane' rips up the indigenous ground cover." Full Review
"'Hurricane Diane' is in good hands with director Leigh Silverman and her highly detailed approach to comedy, plus a fine quartet of actresses as the desperate housewives...George's message comes through loud and clear, because she has chosen to entertain rather than lecture...'Hurricane Diane' is an original -- a satire that is simultaneously urgent and welcoming, even daring to be optimistic." Full Review
"As told by the brilliantly imaginative Madeleine George, Dionysus is Diane...An attractive production by director Leigh Silverman...In the 21st century, the deity of wine and theater is most often portrayed as a man in touch with his feminine side: a drag queen or glam rocker. George boldly envisions the inverse, a female god in touch with her butch side...The majority of the play takes our breath away, either with its keen insight or gut-busting wit." Full Review
“George’s clever, timely update of ‘The Bacchae’ by Euripides is given a boost by Silverman’s vivid direction; fierce, attention-grabbing stage effects by the design team; and the spot-on performances by the five members of the cast...Much of the humor comes from the juxtaposition of ancient myth with banal 21st century living -in costume and especially in language...But underneath the lively interaction is a sobering message.” Full Review
"Fanciful and funny but ultimately sobering...The swagger is made irresistibly buoyant by Blackwell...Under Silverman’s witty, vigorous direction, Blackwell’s Diane does seem to possess a bigger spirit than one person could contain...George is examining, with lustrous wit but also some seriousness, how the trappings of first-world civilization can impact people generally and women in particular...In its bounty of entertainment, 'Hurricane Diane' offers plenty of food for thought." Full Review
"All of these women are stereotypes with familiar stories and worries. This group is gossipy, supportive, judgmental and a great deal of fun to watch. Playwright George is clearly comfortable writing hilarious zingers. 'Hurricane Diane' is certainly a comedy. When the play is over, you realize that you’ve just sat through the most entertaining lecture on climate change ever. The play is smart, clever and over-the-top ridiculous...Silverman expertly weaves this swirling plot." Full Review
"It’s the type of idea-driven play that in lesser hands might become more academic journal article than piece of theater, but writer Madeleine George and director Leigh Silverman have crafted the evening with a deceptively light touch...Barron and Skraastad are the standouts in a strong cast, turning the low-hanging fruit of New Jersey housewife clichés into something darker and more affecting...'Hurricane Diane' is as funny as it is terrifying." Full Review
"Blackwell delivers the 90-minute play's exposition monologue with the engaging flair of an ace stand-up comic nailing the punch lines in a tight three minute set...Even at ninety minutes, the episodic plot gets a little thin, though director Leigh Silverman has her cast sharply playing the entertaining dialogue. There's a major shift in tone for the play's final moments, which is reasonable, but a little drawn out...But these are minor irritations within an enjoyable piece." Full Review
"Silverman’s direction makes sure that George’s biggest laughs come from the sprite one-liners, as well as the many things the housewives don’t tell each other to avoid hurt feelings. The subtext is often sublime and comes through loud and clear...It’s a post-feminist play by a female playwright giving us a very unflattering portrait of women. George’s satire on suburban living offers only two choices. Everybody can embrace Diane or ruin the planet...But what a way to go!" Full Review
"George’s accessible script packs plenty of punch lines as the four women convene in the kitchen to kvetch...Framed by Diane’s direct exchange with the audience, the message is clear: we’re in deep shit and most people could care less...Skraastad and Wetherhead, too, have their shining moments, particularly the latter...Director Leigh Silverman, who is steadily emerging as one of today’s most thoughtful stage directors, once again provides a platform for her actors to soar." Full Review
"It will interest anybody who's striving to live green in a material world...Although the characters who populate the play are comedic archetypes, they still are people we can easily recognize, understand, and even identify with at times...Although I appreciated the play's merits, and found the production values and acting uniformly excellent, I feel that the plot got a little thin toward the closing scenes." Full Review
"A sporadically amusing eco-friendly satire…George's characters are colorful, mostly well-acted (Blackwell, however, goes from dynamic Dionysus to dull Diane), and one-dimensional. Pam, however, hilariously portrayed by Skraastad, stands out to striking effect…With its forays into horticultural fantasy, spouting of gardening theory, mockery of suburban housewifery, ecological purpose, and storm-shrouded bacchanal conclusion, 'Hurricane Diane' sometimes borders on the twee." Full Review
"A meaningful and frequently funny comedy, 'Hurricane Diane' is a perfect conversation piece for these fraught times of climate change...Leigh Silverman, the director, expertly guides the comedy through its gradual progression from gossipy exchanges over glasses of wine to its mystical outcome...If 'Hurricane Diane' does not manage to fully express its cautionary message, this smart play, which is skillfully performed and produced, is likely to both amuse and stimulate audiences." Full Review
"A breezy, frequently hilarious, romp....George doesn't know how to end the piece and the last 15 minutes go off the proverbial cliff...It's hard to know what Silverman is thinking but the strange, abortive ending quickly undoes the goodwill the piece has meticulously wrought. There is an imbalance in the production between the sensational chemistry between the four women and the relative staid delivery of Blackwell as Diane...It's just a shame the play is still searching for an ending." Full Review
"'Hurricane Diane' works best when Blackwell is playing straight-god to the women’s mounting neuroses. But then the storm comes. As the play rounds the hour mark, it stumbles...In one way, George and director Leigh Silverman have pulled off a miracle: They’ve made a funny play about a depressing subject. But we judge miracles by how they end, and at close of ‘Hurricane Diane,' the water that had turned into wine has turned into water again.” Full Review
“George arms herself with a promising and inventive premise...For a while, the setup delivers...George’s language and character work is crisply hilarious...One gets the sense that George, during the act of writing, realized two thirds of the way through that this dramatic arc wasn’t going to pan out...The play, like the subject, veers directly into its unwieldiness, which is both necessary and somewhat dramatically underwhelming.” Full Review
"Some plays are simply too complicated for their own good, defying comprehension. This is certainly the case with Madeleine George's 'Hurricane Diane,' in which the God Dionysus or Bacchus, famously incorporating both male and female characteristics--he went by many names--returns to earth--as a woman--at the present time, in Monmouth County no less, to haunt a bevy of what can best be summarized as 'New Jersey Housewives.'" Full Review
"Veers uneasily from 'Desperate Housewives'-style satire into absurdist fantasy. The work feels strained in both aspects, never achieving the comic lift-off to which it aspires...Doesn't exactly paint a flattering portrait of its female characters, who register as little more than neurotic stereotypes...It would be easier to embrace the fantastical premise if there were a more compelling figure at its center. Unfortunately, Blackwell proves distinctly underwhelming." Full Review
"The characters – all of them – are underdeveloped, mostly static, with less than interesting conflicts. So how could there possibly be an engaging plot?...All Leigh Silverman can do is move them around...The members of the cast do their best; however, their very best cannot rescue this ill-conceived production that is burdened not only with stereotypes, but also with outmoded understandings of human sexuality and sexual practice." Full Review
for a previous production "Director Leigh Silverman wrangles some controlled comic performances from her quintet of players, keeping things rooted among the fast-growing thickets of George’s larger-than-life scenario...Ultimately, 'Hurricane Diane' is a untamed and quirky ensemble exercise that balances its countertop seductions, disastrous visions and structural rough spots with overall good humor, which might have come in handy when studying Euripides back in school." Full Review
for a previous production "Full of quick, funny wit, the play is a comedy with designs on high-minded social critique. Its success in the latter endeavor is spotty, but 'Hurricane Diane' remains a droll treat...Silverman directs with an inventive eye...Drastic changes inevitably seem abrupt in a short play, and 'Hurricane Diane' doesn't avoid this pitfall. But the questions that the play's conclusion asks about human's relationship with nature and its forces resonate." Full Review
See it if You like smart, funny, soothsaying women, believe in climate change and are relatively progressive politically.
Don't see it if You don't believe in science, women, have never enjoyed Greek mythology, have no attention span.
See it if You want a genuinely entertaining night at the theatre, but also love a good climate change awareness focus. The cast is PHENOMENAL!!
Don't see it if You're not a fan of contemporary plays that put a spin on classical themes. You're opposed to seeing a cast of women and trans bad asses.
See it if you want to be entertained. The writing is sharp, the acting strong. The play operates on multiple layers: personal, community, global.
Don't see it if you aren't open to mystical elements and lesbian interactions.
See it if You are invested in issues of global warming with all that entails; if you want a whimsical look at Dionysus et al. saving the planet.
Don't see it if You don’t want to laugh about serious issues with an absurd plan to rescue us from our worst selves.
See it if Mythology, Climate issues, social norms and expectations, and politics all covered in this uber clever play with a twist.
Don't see it if Very chatty with four stereotyped women in a complex shared domestic set. Very funny. Great acting.
See it if you want some genuine laughs mixed with thoughts about saving our planet. I was pulled in by the performances.
Don't see it if you don't like theater with a message or tongue in cheek fantastical moments that go from realism to ethereal.
See it if this is the perfectly crafted play about climate change we've been waiting for! And the performances are 10s across the board.
Don't see it if honestly can't think of someone who shouldn't see this.
See it if You enjoy strong character-driven dialogue. Even without knowledge of the classic Dionysus tale, this is excellent story-telling.
Don't see it if You are a climate-change denier? You are offended by disparaging comments re. NJ?
See it if suburbia, HGTV, climate change, feminism, great monologues in Greek inspired gender bending Women's Project @ NYTW = Yes
Don't see it if Greek refs (Diane=Dionysus), over-the-top "Real Housewives" characters, environment & sustainability issues not 4 U
See it if you're interested in a modern take on The Bacchae as it relates to climate change.
Don't see it if you don't like your kitchen-sink plays mixed in with Greek mythology and supernatural elements.
See it if you want to laugh. It doesn't always work or get its overall point across well, but it features great comic performances and funny lines.
Don't see it if you expect a logical script. This makes little sense, really. But it is entertaining, so I would still give it a shot. Laughing is good.
See it if great opening scene (great writing), acting was great although sometimes overdone (as directed, I'm sure).
Don't see it if I could have done without the singing at the end. A few scenes dragged, but overall light and funny although ultimately dark.
See it if You enjoy an issue-driven play that delves into magical realism. Great acting from an excellent cast and book from a terrific playwright.
Don't see it if You aren’t okay with a fantastical premise or don’t want to think too much or be challenged with big issues.
See it if You enjoy a clever twist on a classic - told in a way only Madeline George could do! Great acting from this perfectly cast ensemble.
Don't see it if You're bothered by gay themes.
See it if you like shows with a strange and somewhat disturbing twist on suburban housewives. Deals with climate change/human destruction. Great cast.
Don't see it if The comedy works well, but the more serious moments are less resonant than probably intended. Characters are funny, but at times cliched.
See it if you love NYTW and all of their productions and you are fascinated by modernizing ancient tales of gods and goddesses
Don't see it if you dislike modernizing old tales and odd choices for characters
See it if you want a funny comedy that uses Greek tropes set in a contemporary setting
Don't see it if you don't want a heavy handed message about the environment that most people already agree with
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