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From 66 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Intense, Absorbing, Great staging

About the show

Irish Rep presents this new solo piece that tells the story of a man celebrating and remembering a great love affair. An elegy to life, love, and loss. More…

From the show:

Incantata is written by one of Ireland’s most revered writers, the New York based, Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Muldoon and interpreted for the stage by Stanley Townsend and Sam Yates.

Fresh from a fall 2019 run at Dublin’s famed Gate Theatre, Incantata premiered to wide acclaim at the 2018 Galway International Arts Festival.

Member Reviews (66)


Great acting, Ambitious, Intense, Absorbing, Great staging
Avg Score

Hard to understand, both literally and figuratively

See it if you like edgy, messy, daring, loud, esoteric experimental theater. Some people laughed often; some wept at end. Read poem before. Heavy!

Don't see it if you can't connect w poetry (sophisticated/pretentious?) Verses repeated. Slow, dull parts. Strg acting. Thought-provoking. Wasn't for me.

Masterful, Slow, Clever, Ambitious

See it if If you like and understand the poem. If you like poetry and a comfortable theater.

Don't see it if If you dont like dark plays, yelling ...paint at walls. Can be slow at times.

Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if It's Townsend's majestically lyrical performance that keeps one's attention during this tone poem dealing with a tragic, inconsolable loss

Don't see it if Muldoon's dense, structurally complex poetic drama keeps shifting tone & form leaving one off-center Has a brooding elegiac Irish melancholy

Quirky, Intense, Great acting, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if you know (have translated words and understand references) this poem and would enjoy an energetic performance, with good video and sound.

Don't see it if you cannot appreciate the laughter and pain of grief expressed in word and action. Blinding light, dark moments, hearing difficulties.

Disappointing, Interesting use of space, Intense, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you love Ireland, Irish poets or great passions. A highly dramatic performance of detailed love poems done in boxy set with lots of potatoes

Don't see it if moment to moment clarity is important to you. There are Irish phrases & places that are unlikely to be familiar to American audiences.

Great staging, Great acting, Clever

See it if Irish spud-splitting art stencilist videos the spirit of his lost love in elegy:"I saw you again tonight/A monument to the human heart"

Don't see it if Given the static nature of most monologues, this actor employs full use of the mainstage with live videotaping and handling inky properties.

Also Mrs. Vanderbilt/I'm gonna gitcha ,gitcha ,gitcha/It might be 8 or 12 d... Read more Read less

An hour too long, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if you like angry poetry in an accent that is difficult to understand with lots of paint thrown at wall.

Don't see it if you don't like angry poetry.

Also Reading the poetry in advance might help but I couldn't understand hal... Read more Read less

Great set, Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious, Above my pay grade,

See it if A truly committed actor. A poem repeated and repeated. Interesting rewind/reminder to help pull it together.

Don't see it if you find it unnerving to watch the actor create a costar with a chair, wrap, camera and hat. Chaotic, loud, flashing lights.

Great staging, Powerful, Riveting, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a mournful poem come to life. I had read the poem several times before the play which made his enactment more meaningful.

Don't see it if you're not a poetry fan and prefer more subdued (this performance isn't understated) theatrics.

Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You want to see a sad but beautiful elegy to a lost love. Heartfelt acting by Stanley Townsend.

Don't see it if You need more action and not interested in poetry.

Also It helps to be familiar with the poem by Paul Muldoon before you see t... Read more Read less

Profound, Intense, Intelligent, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a masterful performance of a poem you probably won't understand fully, particularly if you haven't read it in advance

Don't see it if You like your theater in a more traditional mode

Mourning the loss of a love, Terrific use of camera and projected images, Haunting -- images, words, memories, What an amazing voice (the actor and the poet), Acting tour de force!

See it if Love poety, art or amazing solo acting. Appreciate investigations of and ruminations on love and loss.

Don't see it if Need a linear story line. Dislike one person shows. Reject contemplation of mourning and loss.

Epic, Great writing, Great staging, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy poetry; staged readings, solo performances & all things Irish; are familiar with Paul Muldoon's writing.

Don't see it if you dislike poetry, solo performances, eulogies; are unfamiliar w/ & uninterested in Dublin, Irish myths, literature, history .

Also The staging was highly inventive & really good, I concur with the advi... Read more Read less

Intense, Great acting, Great staging, Profound

See it if Brilliant performance of Paul Muldoon's elegiac poem about love lost by Stanley Townsend. Fascinating set with video. Time expands/contracts

Don't see it if Intense and confusing, I wish I read the poem before I saw the show. But moving and powerful whether you are following or totally lost.

Masterful, great acting, Exquisite, if elusive, language, Intense, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if You’re up for a tour de force performance best seen after reading the poem or knowing Irish references; otherwise like a foreign film.

Don't see it if You're not up for careful active listening; this is not a passive experience, unusual attention must be paid, but the rewards are great.

Also Anger, frustration, regret, longing, let alone denial, depression and ... Read more Read less

Riveting, Tour-de-force, Intense, Abstruse

See it if you'd be interested in an original, bravado performance that is an enacted poem, not a play- cryptic, fascinating & strange

Don't see it if you dislike enigmatic, absurdist theater (i.e. Beckett, Pirandello); are looking for simple entertainment ( this one requires a lot of work)

Also Definitely not for everyone, definitely not a crowd-pleaser. Only one ... Read more Read less

Edgy, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging

See it if If a modern take of a poem appeals to you. The performer is very passionate. Staging is very colorful with modern music interwoven.

Don't see it if You do not like poetry or media pieces

Challenging, Slow, Great staging, Great acting, Confusing

See it if you are up to the challenge of dense, often obscure poetry balanced by an amazing performance and inventive staging. Read it before you go!

Don't see it if you don't like to have to work at enjoying a theatrical performance or if it distresses you to not understand what is being said.

Ambitious, Intense, Profound, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if a very moving elegy for a partner, an eloquent hymn to her & their relationship. Staging is surprising & effective, the acting amazing.

Don't see it if this is a dirge, a dramatization of a poem, not a play. There's a touch of humor, but not much. It's intellectually taxing.

Interesting design, Incredibly strong acting, Incantatory poesy, I can't understand what's going on

See it if Irish poetry as dramatic text intrigues plus a rare op to see wonderful actor Stanley Townsend, working with a talented director & designers

Don't see it if you want something longer than an hour, with a plot you can follow.

Prayerful, Unusual, Disturbing, Poetic, Great acting

See it if You like Paul Muldoon's poetry, are interested in a provocative and unusual visual, highly theatrical take on an epic poem.

Don't see it if You are seeking out a plot-driven, easy to follow, traditional evening at the theater.

Also Stanley Townsend gave a towering performance. I loved the repeated rec... Read more Read less

Repetitive, Short, Ambitious, Histrionic, Poetic

See it if you're deeply into Paul Muldoon's poetry. Otherwise, you're going to miss a lot in this multimedia oratory which favors bombast over beauty.

Don't see it if your local library carries a copy. You'd be better served reading Muldoon's posthumous love letter to printmaker Mary Farl Powers at home.

Also Memorable Quote: "I can hardly believe that, when we met, my idea of '... Read more Read less

Intense, Intelligent, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if an intense performance that is an enacted poem, not a play.

Don't see it if You like a linear plot or a traditional play. This is a dark dramatic poetry reading and requires attentive listening.

Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Solo performance of an Irish poem using props as characters. Excellent use of video unlike WWS.

Don't see it if You like multi characters and a linear plot. Its's poetry and requires attentive listening.

This production's tone felt different from my reading, Great acting though nothing like i expected!, A low simmering anger seem to blanket the staging of this masterpiece

See it if You like one person poetry performances within a story context.

Don't see it if You prefer more upbeat shows like musicals and comedies.

Also The staging of this poem felt unrecognizable to me. The driving emotio... Read more Read less

March 3rd, 2020
CRITIC’S PICK "An Elegy in Words, Video and Potatoes: A solo stage adaptation of Paul Muldoon’s poem considers whether making art can offer solace in the wake of grief."
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February 27th, 2020
"His work is richly allusive, yet accessible and filled with feeling…Sam Yates' production, first seen at the Galway International Arts Festival, is impossibly busy, a festival of distractions that further frustrates any attempt at direct communication between actor and audience."
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February 23rd, 2020
"'Incantata' is a passionate exploration of the complexities of a relationship between two artists. It is a vivid onstage testament to their art, lives, love and loss. And who can't relate to that?"
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February 27th, 2020
3/5 Stars. "Paul Muldoon's feverishly elegiac portrait of a man both crazed and inspired by grief, played by a ferociously committed Stanley Townsend"
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