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Illyria

From 36 critic and 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.



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

30
Slow, Boring, Disappointing

See it if You wanna waste your time and money, & feel like sleeping in a theater.

Don't see it if You wanna watch a good/entertaining show.

55
Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow, Intense, Overrated

See it if You're into the Shakespeare in the park scene and don't mind self grandizing.

Don't see it if You easily fall asleep at show moving shows. I wasn't the only one who caught a couple of z's during the performance

51
Ambitious, Indulgent, Quirky, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You love the Public Theater and want to go back in time and hang out with its founder(s)

Don't see it if you are expecting an exciting show-down between Joseph Papp and Robert Moses

35
Insipid, Disappointing, Confusing, Banal, Slow

See it if You want to see a show about Stuart Vaughan (sp?)

Don't see it if You're a Joe Papp fan. Here he's so ordinary that he's boring! I'm certain the real Joe Papp would hate this production & script. Blaah!

91
During previews
Riveting, Just like being there, A crucial turning point in the city's history, A master class in how to write dialogue

See it if You love theater and/or love New York City.

Don't see it if You saw Richard Nelson's plays about the Apple family or the Gabriels and didn't like them.

Also I am a huge Nelson fan, and Illyria didn't disappoint. I love the feel... Read more Read less

85
During previews
Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Resonant, Relevant

See it if Conversational Nelson play about young people making art and tackling new ways to deliver theater as reflected in history of Joe Papp/Public

Don't see it if You don’t want to feel like an observer watching sliceof life as friends interact and innovate to create public Theater in the Park & city

Also This is about Joe Papp and those who helped create NY Shakespeare Fest... Read more Read less

85
During previews
Absorbing, Intimate, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like feeling like a fly on the wall in the absolute best way. (If you liked the Apple Family plays or Gabriel plays, you'll like this.)

Don't see it if you can't handle an extremely intimate play that treats rather explosive subject matter very sensitively (this is no melodrama).

78
During previews
Absorbing, Great writing, Slow, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if You love Richard Nelson plays, where the dialogue is rich & naturalistic, with minimal plot and little action.

Don't see it if You’re expecting to learn a lot about the founding of The Public Theater. This is barely a glimpse into a singular moment in its history.

78
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Delightful, Must see, Masterful

See it if you're interested in the theater (and its history) OR a larger-than-life complex figure OR the struggle between doing good & doing well!

Don't see it if You have a shortish attention span or a smallish bladder. At or near max length for a no intermission talky play.

Also Probably worth paying a few $ extra to sit in the middle section of 3 ... Read more Read less

77
During previews
Great acting, Great writing, Hard to hear, Slow at times, Absorbing

See it if you are a fan of the Public / Delacorte and would like to learn a thing or two about the politics of art-making in the '50s.

Don't see it if you want something with action or broad theatricality; do not care about Joe Papp and NYC theater history.

Also The super-naturalism here makes the play extremely hard to hear - film... Read more Read less

75
During previews
Great acting, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if you are interested in theater history and the history of Joe Papp.

Don't see it if you don't like plays or theater history.

71
During previews
Disappointing, Slow, Ambitious, Intelligent, Confusing

See it if Nelson's 'hyper-realism' style of theater backfires here The "birth" of the Shakespeare Festival needs a lot more fire & a lot less verbage

Don't see it if Slow & confusing as to timeline & history Hard to believe this group of creative ego-driven heavyweights were this phlegmatic Poorly staged

70
During previews
Great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Disappointing, Inaudible

See it if you love Richard Nelson's realistic, undramatic style and the wonderfully truthful performances he gets from actors.

Don't see it if you like lots of drama and highly theatrical presentations and you expect to learn a lot about the founding of the NY Shakespeare Festival.

Also Unless you have the world's most acute hearing, be sure to get the hea... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Slow, Thought-provoking, Intimate

See it if you like any of the actors starring in it, the history of Public theatre, or insight on the people involved with the founding of it

Don't see it if you like fast-paced and dramatic historical plays

Also I got to sit in the very front row and when they brought out the food ... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Confusing, Slow, Lackluster, lacking drama

See it if you are interested in 1950's building boom and how Papp's Shakespeare in the park dealt with the park's rules & his friends abandoning ship.

Don't see it if you don't care for historical fact plays that don't dig deep enough into the facts & what they do tell you is not that interesting.

69
During previews
Educational, Subdued, Harmless, Middle of the road

See it if you liked Herzog’s Mary Jane—this play similarly takes what might be an extraordinary story but insists on the commonplace & mundane aspects

Don't see it if you don’t need any more reminders of the cronyism controlling the NYC art worlds; you expect Shakespeare in the Park-levels of fun

Also The most subdued show about showbiz ever made. The subject is the admi... Read more Read less

67
During previews
Intelligent, Dated, Slow, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you have enough knowledge about the Free Shakespeare in the Park history and the people that were associated with it, if you get free ticket

Don't see it if you don't like plays that are dialogues driven. And sometimes it's really hard to hear due to the way this theatre is set up.

66
During previews
Great acting, Slow, Hard to hear

See it if If you have some knowledge of Joe Papp and the origin of The Shakespeare festival. Are interested in great acting

Don't see it if You are looking for something lively and fast paced

65
During previews
A disappointment, Dull, Mismatch of style and content

See it if A quiet - in the Nelson style - reflection on the development of Papp's Shakespeare in the Park festival, but the appeal of the characters..

Don't see it if in no way measures up to the Apples or Gabriels. A serious lack of tension, particularly in the 3rd scene, causes boredom. Often inaudible.

65
During previews
Slow, Talky, Intimate, Barebones, Poor sightlines

See it if you like Nelson's everyday, realistic style. While not RN's best work, Ill is made mildly interesting via Papp & his cohorts. Unambitious.

Don't see it if you want depth. Many issues are raised, then dropped. Too much time is spent on food. Still, I liked that Papp was shown warts and all.

Also I didn't find Illyria fully satisfying, but low expectations made it t... Read more Read less

65
During previews
Unsatisfying, Disappointing, Slow, Intimate

See it if you want a glimpse of some of the famous names behind Shakespeare in the Park and you don't mind dialogue-heavy plays with little action.

Don't see it if you prefer intense, majestic, action-oriented productions. This is very minimalist.

Also The play has a very intimate feeling to it, as if you are ease droppin... Read more Read less

65
During previews
Indulgent, Slow, Disappointing

See it if the first 45 minutes gets a major rewrite during previews, you're interested in and knowledgeable about NYC theater history

Don't see it if you don't want to see an indulgent vanity project to celebrate Joe Papp and Public's 50th anniversary.

Also As an audience we want to care about these characters, but unfortunate... Read more Read less

64
During previews
Great acting, Slow, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if If you like long conversations, NY theater history and Shakespeare.

Don't see it if If you do not like conversational long running plays. The money bags against the poor starving artists.

64
During previews
Pretentious, Inaudible, Slow, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You have a great curiosity about the beginnings of the Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park. You are a huge Richard Nelson fan !

Don't see it if You prefer plays with action and drama in which all of the dialogue is both audible and understandable. Blocking is audience-friendly.

Also I was really looking forward to seeing this shows I thought the subjec... Read more Read less


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