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Incident at Vichy

Members say: Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing
78
Critics
70
30 reviews
Members
83
50 reviews
 

In celebration of the centennial of Arthur Miller’s birth, Signature revives Miller's 1964 play 'Incident at Vichy,' about a group of men detained in France during World War II.

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'Incident at Vichy' marks the return of the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright to Signature for the first time since his 1997-98 Residency. In Vichy, France at the height of World War II, nine men and a boy are rounded up under suspicious circumstances. As ominous reports of far-off camps and cattle cars packed with prisoners begin to circulate, the men battle over politics, philosophy and how to escape. Longtime Signature director Michael Wilson helms this haunting examination of the cold, bureaucratic efficiency of evil—and the shared humanity that might overcome it.

 

Cast & Creatives (24)



Reviews (80)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
70
Avg Score

65
The New York Times

"As the respectable if sometimes stolid revival reveals, the passing of the decades has perhaps inevitably dimmed the play’s power...What’s appealing about this rare chance to see 'Incident at Vichy' is the opportunity that it affords to hear Miller’s ethical insights and piercing intelligence resounding with such unbridled forthright eloquence. What’s less appealing? Well, all that resounding eloquence." Full Review

65
Theatermania

"While it occasionally feels like an essay repurposed as a drama this excellent cast breathes life into the author's extended musings…Unfortunately, there is precious little sense of impending doom in this play about men waiting to be taken to their deaths...Wilson's faithful, by-the-book staging, however impressive, does little to offset the feeling that we're watching an elaborately decorated college seminar." Full Review

70
BroadwayWorld

"A fine and sensitively-acted production...Audiences love stories of heroism and self-sacrifice, and Miller does offer some satisfaction on that end, but 'Incident at Vichy' is more about the survival instinct...It can be an uncomfortable play to watch, but it's the discomfort that makes it good theatre." Full Review

60
Time Out New York

"Directed somberly by Michael Wilson, 'Incident at Vichy' depicts 10 men who have been rounded up by the police on suspicion of being Jewish; their papers and their anatomy are to be checked...Earnest urgency often sounds like an essay or a lecture...The paradox of this highly discursive work is that the characters who say the least are in some ways the most effective...Dramaturgically stuffy though it may be, 'Incident at Vichy' gives an airing to still-timely concerns." Full Review

75
The Hollywood Reporter

"It deals with powerful themes of guilt and responsibility, tautly dramatized and well-defined. But the play is also talky and didactic, its themes expressed too baldly…Still, the brief work has a gripping cumulative power that builds to a surprising conclusion, which is at once uplifting and tragic. Director Michael Wilson's staging is highly effective, with sound and projection effects heightening the tension at key moments. The large ensemble is mostly excellent." Full Review

65
The Guardian (UK)

"The director Michael Wilson has assembled a very worthy revival of Arthur Miller’s very worthy 1964 play, 'Incident at Vichy' which is a pleasure and a problem….Incident at Vichy is an occasionally poignant play...The pessimistic philosophy is somehow too assured. The arguments presented are impossible to disagree with and less nuanced as the play would have us think." Full Review

70
The Huffington Post

"Arthur Miller has had a great week in New York, with a riveting production of 'A View from the Bridge' and an admirably effective production of 'Incident at Vichy'. 'Admirably effective' isn't quite so hats-in-the-air as 'riveting,' but then 'Vichy' isn't nearly the play that 'View' is...The play is well worth visiting...which is recommended as an opportunity to catch a sturdy production of one of Miller's mid-level plays." Full Review

60
New York Magazine / Vulture

"'Incident at Vichy' has too little characterization to support its encyclopedic philosophizing…It is even possible to imagine its being gripping, under the right circumstances. Unfortunately, the current production, directed by Michael Wilson, only reaches that level a few times...The performances are not what they need to be, either. What’s needed are actors who know how to suggest complete histories, even where Miller doesn’t provide much opportunity." Full Review

65
DC Theatre Scene

"'Incident at Vichy' is intelligent, well acted, and occasionally so relevant that it’s chilling... It’s stagey, with a too obvious structure, a problem that even such a first-rate director as Michael Wilson is unable to solve. Some of the debates don’t hold the urgency they had 50 years ago. But there are gasp-worthy moments that make Miller feel like a prophet." Full Review

70
Lighting & Sound America

"The climactic sequence of 'Incident at Vichy' can feel a little too much like a structured debate...Even if a few things about this production don't fully work, it remains a vivid account of the administration of savagery as practiced in a not-too-distant time." Full Review

35
New York Theatre Guide

"This cast shows no real sign of fear...So the cast has two jobs: to touch our hearts and feed our intellects. Because, however, they seem to have been guided into a no man’s land between these two fronts and told to stay put, they are hobbled. They succeed as neither endeavor. They end up stranded...As do we. A disappointment indeed." Full Review

70
Broadway Blog

"It’s hard not to hear in the play’s preoccupations echoes of atrocities in the Middle East and Africa, international terrorism, mass deportations and migrations, racial and religious hatred, and many other continuing cruelties that show how little we’ve evolved...Still, everyone’s a theatrical construct, a mouthpiece for an idea or attitude...While this may not be its dream production, it nonetheless conveys those ideas efficiently and, for some, I’m sure, movingly." Full Review

60
The Wall Street Journal

"A creakily earnest one-act play...While waiting to learn their unsurprising fate, they make speeches, some of them craven, others noble, and all written in the well-known Miller manner….Miller undercuts their effect, such as it is, with a speciously uplifting denouement that fails to convince. Michael Wilson ratchets up the dramatic tension much higher than you’d think it could possibly go, and his ensemble cast is superior, especially Richard Thomas." Full Review

90
AM New York

"A superb, highly compelling revival…A great chunk of the dialogue resembles a long-winded treatise on psychology and ethics. Nevertheless, the play is suspenseful throughout…The excellent ensemble cast includes Richard Thomas as a genteel Viennese prince, Darren Pettie as an assertive psychiatrist and James Carpinello as a stressed-out, increasingly unstable army officer." Full Review

85
Talkin' Broadway

"A first-rate revival…It's efficient intelligent playwriting that Wilson and a roundly capable, unglittering cast have treated with palpable care and affection…Wilson's well-judged pacing and a suitably bleak physical production further help anchor this as the inevitable potboiler it needs to be. The performances are of one piece, and in firm keeping with the times as well as the mood...'Incident at Vichy' could scarcely feel more alive." Full Review

95
CurtainUp

"Michael Wilson's revival of 'Incident at Vichy' is a high-tension 90 minutes. Yet, the time spent with the group of men rounded up in Nazi occupied Vichy France in 1942 is also one of the most satisfying and relevant dramas currently in any New York Theater…While some of the seventeen actors have more significant roles than others, under Wilson's direction they form an extraordinarily effective ensemble...Don't miss it." Full Review

70
Newsday

"A thoughtful, straightforward, perhaps unavoidably heavyhanded production…How did sensitive Germans turn into Nazis? Is there a limit to what anyone can consider personal responsibility and still be considered a good man? Miller’s answer here may strain credibility, but he certainly asked the right questions." Full Review

65
The Wrap

"Miller is at his best with the back and forth on whether the Nazis have no table manners or provide the world’s best audiences for music. The dialogue is both funny and devastating and the cast effectively makes those speeches more than sound bites from Miller’s socialist playbook.…In the final moments of the play, the acting becomes extremely overwrought. Granted, it’s an overwrought situation, but the results on stage are mawkish." Full Review

75
NorthJersey.com

"The weakness of the play is that the characters emerge as mouthpieces for different ideas and attitudes rather than as rounded individuals…Miller's larger point of the malignant power of great evil, is not ambivalent, and it resonates strongly in this excellent production, directed by Michael Wilson with a strong, all-male cast of 17...'Vichy' might be more talk than drama, but the situation in which the characters find themselves provides its own, very potent, drama." Full Review

75
CitiTour

"While the play was a noted Broadway flop back in 1964, audiences at the Signature Theatre Center are more likely to give Michael Wilson’s well-acted production of Miller’s examination of the causes of the Holocaust hearty ovations rather than boos. Admittedly, like many Miller works, 'Vichy' has its shortcomings; it can feel overly philosophical, preachy and a touch schematic. But this 90-minute one-act also has enormous visceral power." Full Review

75
WNBC

"A striking element of this 'Vichy' revival, coolly directed by Michael Wilson, is that few of the men look stereotypically Jewish - aside from one, whom Miller identifies only as the 'Old Jew'...There’s something chilling merely in the variety of the casting...As soon as we understand there's a question being posed, the stage goes dark. That's silence, speaking louder than words." Full Review

60
Broadway & Me

"That's a lot of humanity to crowd into 90 minutes and so the actors playing the parts have to create full lives and to make potentially polemic dialog sound like natural speech...But, under the unsteady direction of Michael Wilson, the acting is more of a mixed bag." Full Review

75
TheaterScene.net

"An admirable staging of a flawed, but effective Arthur Miller play...The acting, though a tad uneven, is still on a high level. This cast generates a convincing ambiance of heightened reality, skillfully avoiding becoming walking/talking metaphors. Mr. Wilson has directed them as real, living, breathing people forced into an artificial theatrical situation." Full Review

90
Theater Pizzazz

"The 90 minute, no intermission, work is chilling in it’s dramatic intent as it grips the audience in tragic events that will never be forgotten. It is Miller’s way of marking society’s great horror by the Nazis by virtue of a sadistic nature – a frailty of the human race present in each of us. Michael Wilson brilliantly directs this large cast of 17 with an impressive hand." Full Review

70
Theatre is Easy

"A large, all-male cast plays out this incredibly tense drama...Under the steady direction of Michael Wilson, all of the detained men are made full and distinct characters, underscoring the irony that despite their individuality, all are condemned based on a single random criterion...Signature has provided us an opportunity to revisit this complex and poetic work, sandwiched between the Broadway 'greatest hits.' It’s a worthy addition to the centenary season of Miller." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
83
Avg Score

79
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you want to see a lesser known Arthur Miller work that has so much relevance today. Stellar ensemble. Nice pacing.

Don't see it if you don't like historical plays, esp with the Holocaust as a very palpable & forboding backdrop.

70
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Solid

See it if you like intelligent theater. The talky, insightful play is ultimately moving. The ending, w/the train rumble cutting thru you, devastates.

Don't see it if you want an updated response to the material. This is a solid, old-fashioned production. Strong acting, well-staged, but a bit plodding.

78
Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Dated

See it if want to see one of Miller's lesser performed plays; good direction and acting (considering we all know the outcome)

Don't see it if you find history plays about the Holocaust disturbing; you expect to see Miller's best writing

90
Sad, Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You love Arthur Miller or WW2-related drama.

Don't see it if You are not interested in dark, difficult subject matter.

87
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Chilling

See it if A riveting story set during WWII aoubt captives, captors, choices made. The array of characters opened so many questions about life & death

Don't see it if You cannot bear stories about the Nazis, do not want to hang on the dialogue, do not find Fascism past and present a serious threat.

86
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you don't understand why Arthur Miller is still an important playwright today. This play resonates with the rise of Trumpism in America.

Don't see it if you don't like to think at the theatre.

70
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if Intelligent play about human nature

Don't see it if Felt more like a debating society than a play

76
Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if You have heard of the play and want to see if staged and/or want to see the particular actors. It was interesting.

Don't see it if You want to see a fun cheerful play.

85
Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Must see, Great writing

See it if you think you've seen every Holocaust story there is to be told (this one is different) and you like intense and thought-provoking stories.

Don't see it if you're in the mood for something light and fluffy.

69
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Overrated, Great staging

See it if you want to learn about an important time in history that is still relevant today. It's well acted but slow, and the cast was way too big.

Don't see it if you want to enjoy yourself- this was not a fun play to watch.

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you like "historical" plays that are really well-acted, staged, and unfortunately relevant to politics today.

Don't see it if you don't like intellectual plays that will leave everyone applauding, but sad

92
Historically significant, timely, great ensemble acting

See it if You want to see a very timlely and relevant topic for today's headlines, a masterful performance by Richard Thomas and great ensemble acting

Don't see it if You don't like Arthur Miller.

80
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great writing

See it if intense discussions of several clashing world views. All relatable at the same time. Changing each other. Brilliantly written and acted.

Don't see it if you're looking for lighter fare.

78
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You like dramas with heavy subject matter and enjoy superb writing, strong performances & material that remains relevant in today's world.

Don't see it if You are looking for something light or comedic.

90
Absorbing, Intense, Masterful, Must see, Great writing

See it if You want to see a great drama by 1 of the great playwrights. You want to see history mixed w/philosophy. You want an intense drama

Don't see it if You don't like intense dramas. You prefer more contemporary plays. You don't like Arthur Miller. You prefer comedies.

100
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Great writing

See it if you enjoy serious drama from one of our country's master playwrights, Arthur Miller. Also, if you enjoy great ensemble acting.

Don't see it if you cannot understand intelligent theatre that resonates into our world today.

82
Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if are looking for a great drama that takes place right in front of you on stage. Also if you like historical dramas, mainly WWII & holocaust.

Don't see it if you are not in to real life drama or are sensitive to that time frame in history.

85
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you like to see a show that keeps you thinking about human nature

Don't see it if you get upset thinking about how bad mankind can be

75
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you want to see great actors speaking great dialog in a surprisingly timely piece about the best and worst of humanity.

Don't see it if you can't handle a little unevenness in the acting. You don't want to be given food for thought at the theater.

78
Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you want to see a lesser-known arthur miller, an examination of humans under pressure.

Don't see it if you want to see something light and frothy. This is a play about Nazism and people's' response to it.

77
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Well acted, Well written

See it if like ethical, historical plays. Although a WWII setting the issues are easily recognizable in our current state of global fear and prejudice

Don't see it if you want to relax and not think about the issues. The play asks that you pay attention and hear the ever history repeating issues.

77
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you wish to be reminded of the darker side of history. This can still be applied today

Don't see it if you want a light happy play

68
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Dated

See it if You want to see everything by Miller in his centennial year

Don't see it if You're put off by blatant moralizing

76
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Dated

See it if u want Miller's take on Nazi's in France 1942. First rate prod, tops acting, nice survey of types, good guys, bas guys. R Thomas is superb.

Don't see it if you don't want to see A. Miller falter. Play is skillful if a bit labored and a bit predictable. The drams happens in fits & starts.

75
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing

See it if If you enjoy Miller or history

Don't see it if If you don't like Miller, history and a bit of a downer.