New York | 1h 50m | Already closed


From 7 critic and 38 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Clever, Entertaining

About the show

Defibrillator presents the New York premiere of this award-winning British play. Four cultural icons collide in a New York hotel room in 1953 in an intimate, site-specific theatrical experience. More…

What if four icons of Ike's America - Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Joe DiMaggio, and Senator McCarthy - met in a New York hotel room in 1953? All four are tormented: the actress by her insecurity, the big hitter by his need for an heir, the scientist by his moral guilt over the bomb, and the politician by his paranoia. Directed by James Hillier, this site-specific production tells a story of what might have been in a meeting of four famous minds.

1h 50m | Already closed | Langham Place (Midtown E)

Theatre Reviews Limited

"What is significant is that these characters are tropes for four of America’s most important sectors: the Sciences, the Arts, Politics, and Sports...Mr. Johnson’s script is wonderfully complex and replete with layer upon layer of meaning...See 'Insignificance' as soon as possible...Do not miss out on this rare opportunity to see important theatre performed in the most intimate of spaces where 'actors and audiences alike breathe the same oxygen.'” Full Review

Manhattan Digest

"'Insignificance' might be the title of Terry Johnson’s beautifully nuanced play, but thanks to Director James Hillier’s careful direction and a flawless cast, the impact it leaves is quite substantial...[There are] many intelligent nuggets in Johnson’s brilliant script. His understanding of our common fears, desires, and disappointments is extraordinary...All four actors in this perfect piece are award worthy...The heady piece is perfect for a unique night on the town." Full Review


"Director James Hillier and his cast work with such unwavering confidence and control that you quickly forget where you are and find yourself completely absorbed by the material...You either go with this sort of thing or you don't, but if you do, you'll likely find yourself surprisingly engaged and even moved by the characters in 'Insignificance...Tremendous credit here goes to the performers, who give these famous figures an inner-life that far transcends the preciousness of the premise." Full Review


"Hillier has brought 'Insignificance' back to New York in a site-specific production, a choice that not only enhances the play's intimacy, but adds a nice dose of quiet tension...Though there are plot twists and coincidences that are a bit hard to believe, 'Insignificance' works well as a good story rather than as a significant play. The audience's familiarity with the characters ups the entertainment value. A fun change of pace, well-played and well-staged." Full Review

New York Daily News

"An overstuffed fantasia about fame, sex and power built around an imaginary meeting of the minds in a New York hotel room in the 1950s...The revival makes for an intimate, well-acted gathering for 60 audience members, but the concept isn’t especially illuminating. It also highlights the contrast: five-star hotel; two-and-a-half-star play — one that doesn’t always avoid caricature and overly familiar material about four 20th-century icons thrown together here." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"I can imagine this playing off in a traditional setting, but within this intimate environment the insistence on sticking with the original material and interpretation feels inappropriate...This production does feature some very strong performances...The enormous effort shown by the cast can’t compensate for the disjointed production...These characters feel lost in completely different plays. It’s as if the actors have each been directed to run full speed in opposing directions." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

'There may be a reason that Johnson's play, written in 1982, hasn't been seen in New York before now. I'm afraid that 'Insignificance' is an all-too-apt title; the play is all concept and no payoff...A case of a problematic play further hurt by a kind of stunt production. Some extraordinarily people have been made unconscionably dull." Full Review

Entertaining, Delightful, Riveting

See it if you love a great story told in an intimate setting, but hate audience precipitation.

Don't see it if you hate every you have ever seen in the theatre, and only like movies with explosions.

Clever, Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Like a very unique setting, small cast, great acting, unsuspecting scenario, atypical venue. I loved the whole setup of this play.

Don't see it if Like traditional theater, claustrophobic, cast walking back and forth in front of you,

Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Refreshing

See it if you want to see an original site specific play, if you like immersive theater and don't mind sacrificing content for location and great look

Don't see it if you want to see a classic Broadway production with stage changes. If long dialogues bore you. If you don't understand english that well.

Also I look for the immersive details in a story. Insignificance can get te... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Original, Masterful, Intelligent

See it if you are up for a theatrical experience unlike anything you've seen before. Incredibly imaginative while being completely realistic and true

Don't see it if you need excitement or feel uncomfortable in small audiences or need to be more than 3 feet away from the actors

Great writing, Refreshing, Resonant, Absorbing, Delightful

See it if Extremely entertaining

Don't see it if Youre not into plays

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Must see

See it if You want a very cool theatrical experience.

Don't see it if revisionist history isn't your thing.

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy an intelligent play performed in an interesting venue

Don't see it if you are so young that you don't remember anything about the McCarthy era, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio or Albert Einstein.

Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if you like site-specific, intimate house, dialogue driven theatre. Exceptional performances by all four in the cast.

Don't see it if you are expecting "immersive" theatre. this is absolutely NOT immersive on any level, although I have heard it called that.

Clever, Entertaining

See it if like a fun show. Interesting premise, well acted. Good chemistry between actors.

Don't see it if you don't like historical fantasy.

Entertaining, Quirky

See it if You like unusual settings. Being in a hotel room with the actors adds a lot to the ambiance and somehow helps you suspend reality.

Don't see it if You want a conventional plot.

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Original, Slow

See it if you want to see some great acting in an intimate space and a unique experience.

Don't see it if you don't like plays with historical figures or you have a hard time staying attentive to slightly slower paced shows

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy unique stagings, history, pop culture, baseball and absorbing, intimate theatrical performances.

Don't see it if You hate tight spaces, discussions of scientific theory, gum popping and barefoot geniuses.

Intimate, Slow, Great acting, Gimmicky, Absorbing

See it if you'd like to witness some strong acting up close; you're nostalgic for the 1950s; are a fan of Marilyn Monroe or Albert Einstein.

Don't see it if you're looking for something truly immersive. It's site-specific but doesn't need to be - yet would the play hold up without the hotel room?

Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you have an interest in history and want to see historical figures acted well.

Don't see it if you don't like site-specific shows. This show does not seem to need to be site-specific, but it is.

Clever, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if You want to see something off-beat (staged in a hotel room) that deals with quirky, intellectual themes.

Don't see it if You only want the conventional in theater.

Uneven, Ambitious, Cliched

See it if Fond of site-specific staging, enjoy name-dropping and self-satisfied references to pop culture

Don't see it if thought Copenhagen was too realistic, looking for a plot, annoyed when concept show relies on but misrepresents historical figures

Cliched, Great acting, Slow, Bad writing

See it if you are into 1950s history, don't get ahead of stories, into good acting

Don't see it if you can get a ticket to Sleep No More, Grand Paradise or If She Fell - better immersive shows.


See it if You want to sit in a hotel room with 50 strangers while hearing some atrocious dialogue. It's not immersive theater. It's just a weird venue

Don't see it if ...yeah. Don't see it.The actor playing DiMaggio was the one redeeming thing in the show. Bless him. He did what he could with that dialogue

Delightful, Great acting, Funny, Original, Must see

See it if You want to experience the actors right up close. This is an intimate affair

Don't see it if You don't like Marilyn Monroe or Einstein

Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if This is a great play that looks at fame through the eyes of 4 icons. The staging lifts the themes and makes for astonishing performances

Don't see it if Its a small playing space which might be difficult for some people.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Funny, Great acting

See it if You enjoy immersive theater. You enjoy focused interesting work

Don't see it if You don't enjoy being inside the play

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging

See it if so much fun to go to a five star hotel and be in such an intimate audience of only 50 people to see these actors up so close.

Don't see it if you don't like small spaces or luxury hotels

Great acting, Original, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Edgy

See it if You like being surprised. This show is unusual, intimate, site specific. Great acting, very cool concept.

Don't see it if You don't like theater in unconventional spaces.

Entertaining, Riveting, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound

See it if Great performances that draw you in from the very beginning. You'll feel like you're part of the show! Brilliantly written and performed!

Don't see it if There's no reason not to see this show... Treat yourself!

Absorbing, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Must see, Intelligent

See it if you want to have a great time with people like Albert Einstein in your face as he turns on the bedroom light.

Don't see it if you want to sit in the 20th row of a large theater where you are unable to see the expressions on the actors' faces.

Cast & Creatives (8)