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I And You

Members say: Cliched, Quirky, Clever, Slow, Absorbing
66
Critics
65
32 reviews
Members
67
122 reviews
 

The night before a class assignment is due, Caroline and Anthony plumb the mysteries of a Whitman poem, unaware that a deeper mystery has brought them together.

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Homebound due to illness, Caroline is something of a loner. So when popular student Anthony unexpectedly arrives to work on a school project about Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, she is less than thrilled. But, as the poetry project progresses, Caroline finds herself opening up in ways she never imagined possible, and the two discover a deeper mystery has brought them together.

 

Cast & Creatives (10)



Reviews (154)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
65
Avg Score

60
The New York Times

"Cynics might see Caroline and Anthony as descendants of two notorious cultural stereotypes...The performances, while lively and in the moment, don’t go far in contradicting this assessment...If you believe that the end justifies the means in play writing, then 'I and You' could be described as a success. Its conclusion is genuinely shocking, on several levels, and does a lot to explain any inconsistencies that may have annoyed you before." Full Review

60
Time Out New York

"About halfway through, you give up hoping that an offstage, oft-mentioned mom will suddenly appear, and you become aware of how much playwriting skill it takes to keep an audience focused on a 90-minute two-hander that is basically an attenuated sketch...The actors are lively and likeable...I wanted to care more about them or else spend 15 minutes less in their presence. No 'gotcha!' denouement can substitute for restlessness." Full Review

85
Theatermania

"Gunderson has written an extraordinarily compassionate work with a shock most won't see coming…Director Sean Daniels creates an enormously sensitive production that is befitting of the script, with two vivid, believable performances at the center….Admittedly, there are a few heavy-handed elements in the play...But those qualms can mostly be overlooked. Big-hearted and simple, 'I and You' is one of the most life-affirming plays you'll currently see onstage." Full Review

95
BroadwayWorld

"Don't miss the New York Premiere of this award-winning play that is meticulously crafted by renowned playwright, Lauren Gunderson...'I and You' is an original and absorbing play that is an important work of modern theater...The two actors bring the perfect tone to this extraordinary play...'I and You' is a play like you've never seen before." Full Review

40
Lighting & Sound America

"'I and You' isn't unpleasant, and at times it offers flashes of insight, but structurally it is a bundle of contrivances that doesn't begin to earn the emotional knockout punch that it wants to deliver. Like her characters, Gunderson has a little more homework to do." Full Review

70
DC Theatre Scene

"The acting and directing in the New York production are competent, the design team does wonders in the relatively small stage of 59E59 Theatre A, and the playwright has something profound she wants us to take out of the theater. But just knowing there is a surprise ending, yet not knowing what it is, provides a narrative suspense that propels us through the seemingly aimless patches." Full Review

60
Theatre's Leiter Side

"I won’t reveal the unexpected ending, but it’s brilliantly produced nonsense that follows a common trope found in too many movies and TV shows; it's also the most outrageously manipulative, unearned, big reveal in any play I’ve seen in years. Ms. Gunderson’s iterations of teen-speak are fun; her playwriting, though, stumbles, with too many forced dramatic crises or revelations...its characters lack authenticity, its structure is artificial, and its conclusion is off the charts." Full Review

35
New York Magazine / Vulture

"I’m not sure which is more dispiriting: the play itself or what it says about the theatrical scene in the hinterlands...'I and You' isn’t at all dumb — rather, it tries too hard, like the two teenagers who are its only characters, to wear its intelligence insouciantly...What we were supposed to care about is not what’s really been going on; 'I and You' is a classic bait-and-switch, with about as much profit to the hapless audience." Full Review

15
New York Daily News

"As written, acted and directed, the two-character drama comes off as really phony…Over 80 minutes of teenspeak…By the play’s end, preceded by a pull-the-rug-out turn, all is revealed. As if that explains and absolves the clanging script and clunky artificial performances guided by director Sean Daniels...Some may see Gunderson’s construction and 11th-hour shift as a heart-warming payoff. My take: it’s a cop-out. No mystery, there I stand." Full Review

90
Theatre Reviews Limited

"Under Daniels’ careful direction, Ms. Ferguson and Mr. White deliver exquisite performances that manage to keep the suspense in high gear...It is only after the unanticipated ending that the audience member reviews all that has transpired and experiences dozens of 'aha' moments that only register as relevant after the play’s dénouement...This well constructed play will remain with you for quite some time after the end of the performance and perhaps lure you back for a second look." Full Review

75
Front Mezz Junkies

"This new play by Laurie Gunderson is such a well written piece of teenage angst and drama that the audience is curious almost immediately...My main criticism of the whole interactive play, that more layers and deeper intentions need to be explored to bring this piece to the powerful end it is striving for...I wish it felt a bit heavier at times, but 'I and You' is still quite a ride, so go and enjoy." Full Review

85
TheaterScene.net

"Just when you think the play might be too long for a four-hander, Gunderson reveals that she has a trick up her sleeve which some will applaud and will put others off. Suffice it to say, it is not only a real surprise but it changes much of what went before...A rich, layered story of teenagers on the brink of life who undergo a cathartic relationship in one afternoon following high school. Under Sean Daniels’ direction, it takes you by the scruff of your neck and never lets go for a moment." Full Review

70
Talkin' Broadway

"The playwright, the actors, and the director Sean Daniels undoubtedly expect the audience members to formulate questions in their minds about the sometimes clumsy plot elements, questions that will remain unsatisfied until the very end. But if you are willing to go with the flow and embrace Whitman's expression of universal love, you will find that the end justifies the journey." Full Review

40
Broadway & Me

"Even though the show practically put me to sleep, it earnestly accomplishes what it sets out to do...The young actors display an easy rapport with one another but they've been given a big job to do…Despite the fact that both actors are reprising performances they've given in previous productions they're only partly successful, struggling with the subtext of the piece and compensating by trying too hard to be ingratiating, as though sensing the restlessness of the audience." Full Review

70
NY1

"While the twist ending explained quite a lot, the unnatural shifts in tone and extreme reactions would have worked better if we had had some hints of the revelation to come. Director Sean Daniels delivers an otherwise stirring production...Gunderson recognizes that adolescence is itself a sort of twilight zone, and Whitman's cosmic poetry fits right into her themes. It's a compelling enough conceit that dramatically shouldn't have needed a bombshell to make it fly." Full Review

20
Theater Pizzazz

"'I and You' cheats the audience from the moment the lights rise...'I and You' takes what might have been an enlightening look at two teenagers, both angst-ridden and needing each other in their own ways, and pulls the rug out from under the viewers with a gimmick so old that it was ancient even before 'The Twilight Zone' used it...The director couldn’t quite manage to move the mostly lethargic play along, and wasn’t helped by Ms. Gunderson’s verbosity." Full Review

80
Theatre is Easy

"I find myself guessing plots and spoilers while watching most productions and I greatly enjoy when I am taken off-guard. The unexpected is appealing...The culmination of each aspect at the climax of this production placed me into an incredible twister of surprise...The show itself packs a good punch. My gut feels as though it has been walloped…but in a good way." Full Review

90
BlogCritics.org

"'I and You' is an intricate, humorous and profound work whose delicate metaphorical undertones echo in one’s mind long after the lights go up…The dialogue is clever and thoughtfully rendered. For the most part the direction is well paced, though in the middle there was a tell-tale dead spot that lulled the import of the conversation between the characters…This valley was compensated for by the play’s spellbinding conclusion." Full Review

60
CurtainUp

"Gunderson writes believable, if sometimes pedestrian, dialogue. The most striking aspect of the whole is the the ex machina device with which Gunderson ties things up... It's not downright cheap, but it's not fully earned either...One is likely to feel that Gunderson takes a long time getting her characters to their destination and that the payoff, though superficially touching, isn't as satisfying as it ought to be." Full Review

55
ZEALnyc

"It’s got the snarky dialogue that hides the pain…Ferguson and White do their best at whipping those collections of quirks into actual human beings, but they don’t quite get there...The inconsistencies and over-familiarities nearly bring the whole tottering structure down. But—and it’s a big but—the play pulls out that wowser of an ending that I guarantee you won’t see coming and you almost, almost leave the theater thinking you’ve seen something really cool." Full Review

85
Stage Buddy

"The play really captures the uncertainty of youth, that indescribable feeling of not knowing what your future will bring...The direction keeps the one-act moving quickly and, before you know it, you’re breathlessly waiting to see what will happen to these unlikely, fast friends...Heart-breaking, humorous, and chilling, 'I And You' is a good reminder that being a teenager is not easy, especially when death is literally knocking at your door." Full Review

30
Stage and Cinema

"The performers’ abundant charm can’t overcome the script’s shortcoming in 'I and You,' Lauren Gunderson’s tedious comedic drama about two high schoolers...His straightforward, surface approach only exacerbates the play’s failings. And although the big revelation at the end succeeds in pushing emotional buttons, it’s little more than a gotcha moment, which, in retrospect, renders the preceding spectacle even more vacuous." Full Review

70
NY Theatre Guide

"While sustained heightened energy in a play can be intriguing and even thrilling, for 'I and You' it’s ultimately too much of a good thing...The cast deserves commendation for their efforts – each actor puts everything they have into their roles. This fierce commitment to going all out would have benefited from some restraint...While the much-buzzed about plot twist is inspired, its impact is diminished by all the frenzied pacing." Full Review

70
TheaterScene.com

"The majesty of Whitman’s language thoroughly shows up the inanity of the discourse between Caroline and Anthony...Throughout 'I and You,' something stirs beneath the banal surface...'I and You' may feel overlong (at 90 minutes, yes, overlong). So what? The end of the play has such impact, it’s well worth wading through the setup, to get gobsmacked by the finish." Full Review

80
Hot Pepper Theater

"It's only one scene but it feels like a lot. It feels like the play's always going—it was a really good play...Caroline has been very sick and she hasn't been able to leave the house and the set really portrays that...Both [actors] really bring things to life." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
67
Avg Score

62
Ambitious, Indulgent, Banal, Confusing, Cliched

See it if you really love Walt Whitman. This play makes an admirable attempt at explaining why you should. For quirky teens. Well-dressed set.

Don't see it if you like to watch people on stage who feel real. Even teenagers who love poetry don't sound like this. Entirely false with decent acting.

50
Annoying, Indulgent, Repetitive, Meandering

See it if You want a twist ending that attempts to justify the ludicrous story that preceded it.

Don't see it if You want to see high-quality new work.

60
Slow, Great staging

See it if Teenage theatre goers might enjoy this more, although one of the problems was that the two actors seemed a bit old to be teenagers.

Don't see it if You or anyone in your family has a chronic illness likely to result in death.

59
Quirky, Cliched, Slow, Nothing new

See it if your interested in a mediocre new play with stiff dialogue, who's twist ending doesn't make up for the terrible 80 minutes that precedes it

Don't see it if if you're interested in good writing or acting and value your time

80
Surprise twist

See it if Ok it's a little heavy on the lit references-- but really well acted and interesting twist at the end was EVERYTHING

Don't see it if You want big splashy production or have an irrational dislike for Walt Whitman

88
Original, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You like a show that holds your attention throughout, and then a twist-- a surprising and totally unexpected ending.

Don't see it if If want to see a production that is totally predictable and light.

50
Dizzying, Confusing, Excruciating, Slow, Dated

See it if Want to support local theater.

Don't see it if I honestly wanted to like this but the acting was so-so, the story fell flat, and by the twist ending I was already completely uninterested.

20
Banal, Cliched, Slow, Amateurish, Unbelievable

See it if if you are perplexed as to why the folks at 59E59 Theatres thought this was a good choice for New York audiences. Amateurish, at best.

Don't see it if you enjoy good dialogue, good acting, and good staging—you'll find none of that here.

65
Clever, Indulgent

See it if You like shows about teens and surprise endings

Don't see it if Dislike the above

70
Thought-provoking, Quirky, Slow, Plot twist

See it if You love plot twists and enjoy new works.

Don't see it if You have an angry teenager at home & already listen to someone bitching all the time. If sudden mood swings outbursts make you want scream.

77
Original, Clever, Intelligent

See it if You like twist endings that change the whole show

Don't see it if You don't like listening to two teenagers talk for two hours

69
Original, Quirky, Entertaining, Great set design

See it if you have a teenager

Don't see it if you don't like watching a teen drama

40
Quirky, Relevant, Cliched, Insipid

See it if you like teen angst and an overly repetitive storyline. You like massive plot twists, this has a huge one.

Don't see it if you hate teen slang, texting, or dramatic fake crying that's supposed to be realistic.

55
Cliched, Slow, Long

See it if ...

Don't see it if probably just don't see it.

70
Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if you like a two person show about teenagers and cancer. It wasn't a downer actually. Well acted and interesting.

Don't see it if don't like teenagers...

74
Original, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Overrated, Slow

See it if you don't mind the slow build which leads to an epic and heartbreaking conclusion.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a show that does't make sense or seem to be going anywhere until the very end.

86
Original, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you like good scripts and good staging

Don't see it if you want to see good acting

32
Banal, Cliched, Insipid, Overrated, Fluffy

See it if you like teenagers

Don't see it if you have any brainpower, are over the age of 16

79
Intense, Profound

See it if Worth seeing as the acting is incredible and well done.

Don't see it if If you don't know the story about Walt Whitman or if you are sensitive.

70
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Insipid, Overrated, Slow

See it if you like a twist, like to see teenage angst, a two person play, have patience as it can have a repetitive feeling.

Don't see it if you don't like the above reasons.

100
Poignant, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

See it if You love great theater, poetry and want to see what Millennials are talking about.

Don't see it if You are not into seeing young love come about in an unexpected circumstance.

71
During previews
Clever, Quirky, Confusing, Slow, Great staging

See it if You like slowish shows with big teists

Don't see it if You like constant plot action and movement

65
During previews
Funny, Banal, Mediocre, Entertaining, Lifetime-y

See it if You enjoy intimate plays about the pains of adolescence.

Don't see it if you are sick of teenage cancer tragedies.

25
During previews
Disappointing, Slow

See it if you know a cast member

Don't see it if you want to have a nice night out at the theatre. two actors tried hard but the story and the writing were poor and amaturish

85
During previews
Original, Clever, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy an intimate theatrical experience with actors who have great chemistry together. Also if you're a fan of Walt Whitman & yawp-ing!

Don't see it if you prefer larger, flashier shows &/or musicals. Also, there are lots of intense flashes of emotion, followed by calm, which can be jarring