Closed 1h 30m
Ideation
Midtown E
79

Ideation NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(119 Reviews)
Positive
86%
Mixed
12%
Negative
2%
Members say
Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Intelligent

About the Show

San Francisco Playhouse and 59E59 present a thriller exploring the nebulous world of management brainstorming, and the thorny relationship between big business, morality, and American identity.

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Member Reviews (119)

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91
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy another powerful thought provoking show

Don't see it if you are squeamish. My partner was very upset re: the possibilities implied.

86
Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Masterful, Edgy

See it if have ever felt paranoid but knew they were still out to get you! Logical moves suspicion to insanity in 90 intense minutes and laughs too.

Don't see it if you like your theater bland.

Critic Reviews (30)

March 18th, 2016

"The sinister tangos with the madcap in 'Ideation,' a comedy that satirizes office politics and skewers groupthink, even as its annihilation scenario comes to seem unsettlingly plausible. Written by Aaron Loeb and directed by Josh Costello, it gradually ramps up the uncertainty and moral horror of its little band of collaborators, played by a first-rate ensemble...In 'Ideation,' Mr. Loeb has devised a psychological game, one that’s both amusing and intriguing to play."
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March 22nd, 2016

"'Ideation,' a dynamic piece of modern theater, is now onstage. This thought-provoking play features an excellent cast and terrific staging. Metropolitan area audiences will want to see this show. It is a timely, wonderfully crafted play that is both insightful and humorous...Each member of the cast strikes just the right tenor between the serious nature of their characters and their hilarious, unpredictable foibles...It is a show you will be thinking about long after the curtain call."
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March 18th, 2016

"A frequently hilarious excursion into ever-mounting paranoia…The increasingly paranoiac fun and games are accompanied by crackling dialogue that often shreds the clichés of the business world…Under Josh Costello's spring-loaded direction, a nimble and committed cast makes a possibly contrived situation feel all too real…A tense and funny comedy thriller that accurately mirrors the conspiracy-minded thinking that informs too much of modern life."
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March 16th, 2016

"The cleverness of the play lies in its examination of how the characters' well-honed problem-solving skills fail them, leaving them to wrestle with highly unfamiliar moral and ethical issues that lead them down the path to paranoia...What makes it all work so well is the highly polished performances of the cast members and the directing by Josh Costello...A terrific ensemble piece that is a whirlwind of witty dialog, physical comedy, and scary imagery."
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March 18th, 2016

"Shocking revelations are disclosed with a deadpan tone reminiscent of Harold Pinter’s later allegorical political plays. The dialogue is an often very funny Orwellian distillation of business world jargon. A flaw is that at an hour and forty minutes without an intermission, 'Ideation' gets repetitive and slackens at times. Director Josh Costello’s staging enhances the performances from his cast... Mr. Costello has realized the material with inventive precision."
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March 17th, 2016

"Both horrifying and amusing...They’re provocative questions, albeit a bit heavy-handed...Not surprisingly, the well-acted, well-written, and well-staged production offers no answers, but asks the audience to think about the role of the individual...'Ideation' is to be credited for not shying away from big issues or big problems. Deeply engaging and unsettling—it is also bitingly funny—Loeb’s third play zeroes in on issues that this year’s Presidential contenders would be wise to address."
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March 15th, 2016

"There are some more than amusing moments in this let-your-imagination-run-wild, humor-filled yet eerie play that clearly shows what happens when suspicion and distrust become the order of the day. The talented, paranoid ensemble is cleverly directed by Josh Costello. Aaron Loeb certainly has ideated a weirdly wonderful script that will leave you scratching your head."
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March 15th, 2016

"The actors are competent but hardly memorable. So is Josh Costello's direction...While Loeb's intentions to create an edgy satire that would put some thought provoking ideas on the table is admirable, it falls short of its ambition. The thinly disguised, jumbled ideas don't really do much to fully engage us. In a world of devastating viruses, natural disasters and terrorism, it's hard to find any of this fresh or funny."
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March 31st, 2016

"If you have a few synapses you’re not using for anything, I suggest you swan over to 59E59 Theaters and put them to good use. Aaron Loeb‘s play 'Ideation' will give them a fabulous workout, as will the cast who dishes up this most excellent presentation...It is a masterful script and a very fine production indeed. THIS is what 'The Crucible' was intended to do. The sacrifice of the few to protect the many is on trial here, and the jury is out."
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T
March 15th, 2016

"What they begin to speculate is the remarkable and powerful story line of Mr. Loeb’s script and the ensemble cast capably brings it to a chilling and disturbing climax. Josh Costello keeps the pace at the frenetic and horrifying level needed and his creative vision never misses the opportunity to turn the audience’s expectations into a delectable chaotic psychological disarray...Loses steam briefly about 80 minutes into the performance...Mr. Loeb might consider making a few judicious cuts."
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March 15th, 2016

"Although it’s been called a psychological thriller, Mr. Loeb’s play leans more toward being a frequently funny and decidedly edgy satire of global corporate power, the self-interested rationalization of ethical dilemmas, the paranoia leading to conspiracy theories, and the impossibility of knowing who to trust and how much. ‘Ideation’ creaks a bit here and there but, on the whole, is a fast-paced, original, suspenseful, and intellectually satisfying yet consistently accessible contribution."
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W
March 16th, 2016

"Acting is excellent across the board...This is a superbly cast production of actors who work with one another like a humming machine...Heat, both sexual and hostile, feels real. Perhaps the highest achievement here is the production’s skilled timing without which we wouldn’t be bound...Aaron Loeb has concocted a psychologically adept scenario, relevant both as metaphor and conceivable eventuality...My only caveat is the ending which, I think, calls for more commitment."
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March 16th, 2016

"'Ideation' is like the hit sci-fi TV thriller 'Lost." So many unanswered questions when we reach the blackout...The script jumps from absurdist to melodrama to farce with a snap of the finger. Bringing it cohesively together is the job of the director. Josh Costello found a through line but it was bit jagged...A polarizing play in the sense of satisfaction. You may not be thrilled with the outcome or you may find it perfectly accurate to life. Either way, Loeb has forced you to feel something."
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March 15th, 2016

"A taut, ironic thriller...Loeb’s well-drawn characterizations enhanced with studied distinction by the actors’ portrayals, bring this real-surreal office dynamic to life...'Ideation' is a must-see production, its concept well-thought-out and executed to perfection by the sustained efforts of the cast, creative team and director. The production unfolds seamlessly, step by step, with sardonic humor, suspense, and a realism that the actors vibrate with and make us experience."
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W
March 18th, 2016

"'Ideation' takes an unsettling project, how to discretely handle mass deaths from a virus, and disassembles it into manageable parts. It begins with finding the gallows humor in the management processes, which ignores the human effects of their work all the time...'Ideation' is crisply directed by Josh Costello and well written by Aaron Loeb. It is altogether a tight show, right up until the end. And then 'Ideation' loses its nerve."
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March 15th, 2016

"I give playwright Aaron Loeb high marks for his characters. He manages to create archetypes without making them stereotypes...My big complaint is with the ending. Loeb has set all the dominoes up to knock them down with an ending that comes down on one side or the other, and then he chooses not to take a side…Director Josh Costello has staged a small-cast, talking heads play in a single setting and has done so without boring the audience."
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March 20th, 2016

"'Ideation' is fast-paced, entertaining and witty as it bounces around its profound subject, how do we know anything for sure? How can we trust anybody? The characters reflect stereotypes in a humorous way but are individually drawn and distinct, fast talking but fully motivated...These are smart people who see the humor as well as the invitation to disaster in their preposterous dilemmas, making for an enjoyable and thought-provoking play."
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E
March 18th, 2016

"In Loeb’s mordant take on corporate culture, a process that begins as problem-solving quickly descends into an exercise in collective hysteria. Though not all of 'Ideation' works, its desperate characters are creepily fun to watch...Loeb has a keen ear for the empty jargon and forced chumminess of boardroom life, but the same provocative premise would be better served in a leaner, one act edition. Performance-wise, however, 'Ideation' is solid and imaginative."
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M
March 15th, 2016

"Must-see theater…What we think it’s going to be, a corporate drama, becomes one of the best explorations about humanity and its decisions I’ve ever experienced…The way these actors portray each person is something to behold…But none of that would have worked without Costello putting it all together like a great orchestra master…This smart play which entertains and educates, makes you question yourself and then analyze those around you."
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N
March 15th, 2016

"Aaron Loeb's engrossing, bizarre, dark play...The ensemble of actors is excellent, utterly believable, they inhabit their souls, in some cases very damaged souls. All of them appear willing to sell out whatever souls they ever had. Director Josh Costello leaves no doubt that the events that transpire could be true...Aaron Loeb establishes perfectly the moral conundrum."
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November 26th, 2013
For a previous production

"An excellent 90-minute drama...Josh Costello has assembled five brilliant Bay Area actors to keep the audience on their toes, and they succeed in making this a taut production."
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October 1st, 2014
For a previous production

"There's not quite enough fear amid the jocular one-upmanship, and the second half of the show spins its wheels a bit. A greater sense of possible imminent risk would heighten the play's intensity. Still, 'Ideation' captures the power of language to conceal as much as it reveals, and that's a potent thrill all its own...With its unsettling echoes, 'Ideation' urges us to consider what we know and what we are trying hard not to know about the world we live in."
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S
November 18th, 2013
For a previous production

"At times it's a bit too easy to take as an unsettling satire on the corporate monsters among us. Loeb's moral comedy would hit harder if he made us feel more complicit in the team's groupthink. But it's already a very funny, sharply staged and brightly performed piece. True to its title, 'Ideation' is bound to make you think."
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S
September 28th, 2014
For a previous production

"The devilishly funny and demonically dark comedy about management consultants is as sidesplitting and, if anything, more deeply disturbing than it seemed at first encounter...Director Josh Costello has honed the pacing to a fine edge. And the much elevated design package substantially if subconsciously raises the social, political and ethical stakes."
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October 6th, 2014
For a previous production

"Aaron Loeb’s clever and insightful play, sharply directed by Josh Costello on Bill English’s expressively bare set, is an on-the-nose send-up of today’s corporate culture. In 'Ideation,' that all too pervasive culture, with its ethics of 'take no prisoners' and 'the end justifies the means,' creates a cocktail of laugh-out-loud hilarity, chased with the queasy realization that the more things in our glittering, vicious world change, the more they stay the same."
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September 29th, 2014
For a previous production

"Part of the magic of this production is the manner in which Loeb builds tension. There is no music. No special effects. And no dramatic scene changes. Words (and lots of them), the calculation of probabilities using the whiteboard as a sixth actor, and an unsettling 'trust no one' mantra lead our intrepid consultants down an increasingly slippery slope of delusion...It would be hard to imagine this play working in anything, but the most capable hands. Fortunately, this cast is absolutely stellar."
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November 21st, 2013
For a previous production

"Played out on Alicia Griffiths’ smart, black-and-chrome conference room set, with actors this good, Loeb’s play simply soars, leaving the audience disconcertingly up in the air. Which is definitely the way it is."
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November 25th, 2013
For a previous production

"I’ve never seen anything like this stage play. Its scope and grandeur is amazing and magnificent. I’m still thinking about it. Once in a decade an audience gets raw challenges. They sure do it here. The director absolutely knows how to create emotion. This cat-and-mouse-bare-knuckle play keeps you on the edge of your seat. IT’S ELECTRIFYING!"
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November 20th, 2013
For a previous production

"Playwright Aaron Loeb insists he’s never watched 'The Outer Limits' but someone must be transmitting the show into a special receiver hidden in his dental work while he sleeps, because the tone is spot-on...Though sometimes a bit slight, 'Ideation' is thoughtful, funny, snappy and ironic comedy of exactly the stripe you want in a small theater setting."
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October 2nd, 2014
For a previous production

"In this case, Costello and Loeb’s ambition may have caused them to stretch too far, because 'Ideation' basically yields 90 minutes of thinly spread, disjointed ideas, never leading to much in the way of fruition...'Ideation' poses some interesting questions about human nature. But mostly, the play is repetitive when trying to generate interest, stale when trying for humor and cheesy when trying to be provocative."
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