Tony Award-winning playwright and director Richard Nelson returns to the Public to reveal a forgotten chapter of the Public Theater’s own history. More…
It is 1958, and New York City is in the midst of a major building boom; a four-lane highway is planned for the heart of Washington Square; Carnegie Hall is designated for demolition; entire neighborhoods on the West Side are leveled to make room for a new 'palace of art.' And a young Joe Papp and his colleagues face betrayals, self-inflicted wounds, and anger from the city’s powerful elite as they continue their free Shakespeare productions in Central Park. 'Illyria' is a family drama about a different kind of family–one held together by the simple and incredibly complicated belief that the theater, and the city, belong to all of us.
See it if you liked the Apple & Gabriel plays (tho this is Nelson's weakest work by far) & want a cursory (at best) glimpse at the Public's origin.
Don't see it if you want to learn anything valuable about Papp or the the Public Theatre. This boring play, spoken by insufferable low-talkers, is a waste.
See it if you've liked Nelson's Apple & Gabriel Family plays, are interested in the history of the Public Theatre & familiar with its early artists
Don't see it if you don't like quietly conversational works, don't care about or not familiar with the Public Theatre's early struggles or Robert Moses
See it if become fly on wall (1958) when young Papp beset by financial woes/resistance 2 free Shakespeare; but Papp's relentlessness shines thru
Don't see it if play consists of conversations delivered so softly/off-handedly that it's hard to hear the words & dramatic moments are drained of drama
See it if You are interested in Joe Papp, the beginnings of the Public Theater, and Shakespeare in the Park. About the people that made it happen.
Don't see it if You expect action. Have any difficult hearing conversationally spoken dialogue by actors at a table. Joe Papp who??
See it if you like a good ensemble in an intimate setting; you are interested in the early days of Joe Papp and the people in his circle.
Don't see it if The play is slow moving and dull. I was hoping a play about early Papp would be more interesting and meaty. Dialogue is often inaudible.
See it if you have a burning interest in the cultural history of midcentury NYC, especially the theatrical world
Don't see it if you like plays with well-developed characters and something remotely resembling a plot
See it if you like dialogue driven plays based on true stories with naturalistic acting, to a fault.
Don't see it if you have a problem sitting for 2 hours and straining to hear "conversational" dialogue, or have no interest in the Public's backstory.
See it if You love everything about the Public and Joe Papp. You want a cursory look at how the Public began.
Don't see it if You are hard of hearing, they don't project AT ALL.You don't mind a play that goes NO WHERE, with characters that are unmotivated and boring
See it if arts advocacy/preservationist leanings, Pappism, leisurely storytelling, leaning forward to hear, are your thing
Don't see it if almost inaudible, almost Chekovian, dinner/casting table centered drama, are not your thing
See it if An interesting hostorical piece. Sensitive performances. Insider tidbits about the late ‘50s in NY theater.
Don't see it if All talk no action. Very slow. Get the assisted listening devices. They mumble. Very inside baseball.
See it if you are interested in the history of theater, particularly in the Shakespeare in the Park back story and Joseph Pabb.
Don't see it if you are hard of hearing (sound is challenging) or if you bore easily (it is a bit slow).
See it if like a conversational piece about a theoretical beginning to Shakespeare in the Park, real characters hypothetical conversations
Don't see it if if you are looking for drama.
See it if Mr. Nelson's conversational plays; historical (1958) story based on Public's early founders when it started with NY Shakespeare Festival
Don't see it if want something as moving as Mr. Nelson's other conversational plays - thought the 2nd scene was his most traditional & moving; slow at end
See it if Wonderful production for anyone interested in theater history. Well written and produced.Nelson wrote and directed a winner!
Don't see it if Do not see if you only enjoy musicals or light dramas.
See it if you need a nap. The seat was comfortable and the theater was dark, and I felt myself dozing off. Also see if you enjoy all-white casting. :/
Don't see it if you need to wash your hair, you want to be entertained or inspired, you'll miss the two hours of your life you'll never get back, etc.
See it if You want to be in the rooms where it happened . ..with Joe Papp through the growing pains of the Public Theater
Don't see it if You don't feel like listening , they call it conversational
See it if You are interested in Joe Papp and the history of the Public Theater. Watching this play made me want to learn more about him.
Don't see it if You need some dramatic action. It is very slow and drags on at times, especially the last scene.
See it if you're interested in history/role of theater in NYC, or NYC and U.S. politics of the 1950s. Evokes NORMAL HEART (albeit far less intense).
Don't see it if you're not up for dialogue-driven play about founding of the Public Theatre, its battles vs. Robert Moses & HUAC, & Papp as force of nature.
See it if You have at least a passing interest in the history of The Public Theater and Joe Papp. You enjoy the day to day struggles of real life.
Don't see it if You need sturm und drang in your theater. You are embarrassed to ask for the assisted hearing devices some may require.
See it if Self pat on the back for the Public Theater's founders. How they created it with an undramatic amount of struggle
Don't see it if No real plot, more a reenactment of history.
Also Free ticket from online lottery.
See it if You have deep interest in Joe Papp & co, Shakespeare in the Park, or Richard Nelson's playwriting style.
Don't see it if You're expecting a lifelong biographical play. This takes place in a single summer. Or if you don't like quiet, talky, self-contained plays.