Already closed | 1h 40m | East Village

Illyria

From 129 member reviews
Members say: Slow, Great acting, Disappointing, Intelligent, Absorbing

About the show

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.


Member Reviews (129)

MEMBERS SAY:

Slow, Great acting, Disappointing, Intelligent, Absorbing
71
Avg Score

76
Absorbing, Dated, Slow, Ambitious, Indulgent

See it if You enjoy history plays without emphasis on history, but more slice of life approach.

Don't see it if You get easily bored as it runs 2 hrs without intermission,

65
Disappointing, Insipid, Slow, Historic, Annoyingly naturalistic

See it if interested in the history of Joe Papp/NY Shakespeare Festival, filled with real life folks, history, & solid naturalistic acting. Big cast!

Don't see it if interested in the craft of playwriting or visionary writing & directing. Little energy, projection, or forward development. Fraud theater.

80
Intelligent, Clever, Slow, Great acting

See it if you love the public theater

Don't see it if you need an intermission or don't know anything about the public theater or Shakespeare in the Park

65
Slow, Disappointing, Slow and small slice of papp's mission

See it if You can deal with a way too long too slow slice of Joe Papp's theatrical journey focused on his New York Shakespeare Festival.

Don't see it if You want to get greater insight into Joseph Papp and all his accomplishments.

Also Slow, slow, slow and too long. Show ran almost 2 hours and we get it b... Read more Read less

30
Slow

See it if you just have to see all the Public shows

Don't see it if you like engaging shows

74
Disappointing, Intelligent

See it if you're interested in early history of an important theater; it's a "conversation" between insiders, often interesting

Don't see it if you're annoyed by excessive mumbling; also, missed opportunity to say more about Robert Moses

74
Clever, Slow, Relevant, Indulgent, Great acting

See it if You’re interested in theatre history, NYC history, or theatre that talks about theatre. Or if you’re a Fran Kranz fan.

Don't see it if You want something fast paced or loud or if you’re particularly hard of hearing. Know that it’s somewhat dated since it’s historical.

80
Resonant, Relevant, Great acting

See it if You like nyc history, conversational plays.

Don't see it if Action.

60
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Slow, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You like plays, specifically with a historical relevance to NYC theatre.

Don't see it if You are looking for a lot of action or excitement. The show is slow and tends to be confusing at times.

70
Great acting, Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Relevant

See it if you are interested in the history of theatre in NYC especially through Joe Papp. The parallels from NYC's changing cityscape relates to now.

Don't see it if You are looking for a profound extremely memorable performance. The show itself is so-so.

93
Absorbing, Masterful, Profound, Intelligent, Clever

See it if You are interested in conversational theatre, love the history of the Public Theatre and want to see a play that requires deep thought.

Don't see it if You get bored easy, You don’t want to know about Joseph Papp’s early struggles. You can’t listen attentively.

72
Slow, Different, Intriguing

See it if You'll watch unlikeable people who made a great thing happen. You're up for hypernaturalism - low-key, low-drama conversational scenes.

Don't see it if You want a straight biopic, or a conventional structure with an arc and a conclusion.

79
Intelligent, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if You like Richard Nelson's plays. You feel that you are eavesdropping on a conversation. You also will learn a little about Joe Papp.

Don't see it if You like a lot of action. This is quiet, interesting conversation play.

40
Slow, Excruciating, Disappointing

See it if you’re okay with really slow-moving plots.

Don't see it if you don’t like slow-moving, long plots.

94
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Refreshing

See it if You like: a strong director/writer, ensemble shows, slice of life scenes, casual plays, realistic acting, meta theatre, The Public, Joe Papp

Don't see it if You demand high intensity energetic entertainment from beginning to end. You are impatient. You don't like listening.

65
Relevant, Slow, Fluffy

See it if You'd like a historical piece on the founding of Shakespeare in the Park

Don't see it if You enjoy the tension of dramatic moments

75
Absorbing, Relevant, Quirky, Naturalistic, Realism

See it if You are interested in how theater is made. Also, if you know something about the Public already, or are interested in learning about it.

Don't see it if You like any spectacle. Natural realism at its finest. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea.

70
Indulgent, Slow, Resonant, Historically interesting

See it if You love the public theater and you want to learn more about its history and founding. You love Nelson and how he writes and stages

Don't see it if Want fast paced. Don't care about the public. Don't like shaekespeare. Want Nelson's best work. Are hard of hearing.

90
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Intelligent, Profound

See it if Great acting performance. The acting is amazing and the story line is interesting

Don't see it if You get bored easily and want to see a musical

78
Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if It gives a true understanding of Shakespeare in the Park’s evolution.’

Don't see it if You have no interest in this subject and find it boring, do no buy tickets.

80
Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if ...you are interested in the history of theater in NYC and have enjoyed Nelson's other plays like the Apple Family Chronicles.

Don't see it if ...you don't like dialogue-heavy shows

Also I thought that this was another triumph for Richard Nelson. The discus... Read more Read less

55
Slow, Quirky, Insipid, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if You are able to get free tickets to the show, as the acting is pretty good and it's worth checking out due to nonexistent price tag.

Don't see it if You need a lot of action and a fast-moving story line.

93
Absorbing, Enchanting, Refreshing, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if You love New York theater history and have seen lots of plays at Shakespeare in the Park

Don't see it if You have no interest in the history of The Public Theater

Also I loved this play. The acting was excellent and the story was moving. ... Read more Read less

60
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if You appreciate the Public Theater and want to know its origins.

Don't see it if You don't know about Public Theater and don't want to see a version of Friends where people sit and talk but aren't as entertaining.

53
Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated, Insipid, Slow

See it if You go see everything

Don't see it if You have any kind of hearing issue. Or if you have a short attention span. I have really loved Shakespeare in the park but this gave me very

Also I have really loved Shakespeare in the park but this gave me very litt... Read more Read less


October 30th, 2017
"If you don’t know much about the real Joseph Papp, you may wonder what the heck’s going on and why you should be interested. If you do know a lot about Papp and his associates, you may be a bit exasperated by the liberties Mr. Nelson has taken...But 'Illyria' also affords distinctive if fleeting...
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October 30th, 2017
"The play may be unpleasant, but at least it isn’t puffery...Dull drama...It’s dramatically inert, though the characters talk about important issues like civic space and the corrosive power of government ideologues...Nelson wants his work to be naturalistic and unfussy, but winds up with enforced...
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October 30th, 2017
"Actors in 'Illyria' are doing delicate, absorbing work conjuring very real people. The play is quite literally understated...I might even call it navel-gazing — but perhaps that’s all right when you have, admittedly, a very interesting navel...Almost feels more like documentary or museum recreat...
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October 30th, 2017
"More frustrating than edifying, more obscure than enlightening...I sat in the third row and still couldn't make out much of the dialogue...The dialogue is so low-key and matter-of-fact that it fails to engage our attention...Subject matter so potentially fascinating makes it all the more frustra...
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