59E59 presents this brutal fable of awakening consciousness: a stark, fierce study of sex and knowledge set in a timeless and spartan rural community. More…
In a preindustrial rural world, poised on the cusp of transformation, a ploughman and his wife live a simple existence until they, along with the hated local miller, are drawn into a struggle of power and attraction. 'Knives in Hens' unpacks the subtle power of words and ideas to liberate, empower, and lift the mind and soul.
"A becomingly modest production...Simply a simple story that vibrates with ever-widening resonance and implications...It’s the linguistic aspect of 'Knives in Hens' that is so profoundly moving...Takacs and his movement director, Yasmine Lee, give expressive life to the physical relationships among these characters...The performances are precisely focused without being intensely emotional. Nonetheless, the sum effect of their talk and actions is deeply emotional." Full Review
“’Kerr, Taylor and Haqq pour out with furious intensity Harrower’s almost musical staccato dialogue...The tension between the actors is palpable. It may be winter in the story, but these three performers create intense heat...The characters forge intense connections with one another, but the Young Woman’s transformation is astonishing in the short period over which the story takes place.” Full Review
"Harrower’s characters may appear simplistic but they are complex and multi-layered because of their unconscious impulses and sensitivities revealed in their dreams...The director’s staging is impeccable and concise...The hauntingly lovely music during the movement sequences heightens the symbolism of the lovers’ dance...In some instances, clarity was sacrificed to convey the demographic of Pony and Young Woman." Full Review
"Compelling if occasionally opaque...Has the feel of an Appalachian folk tale that has been shaped through many generations of retelling...Spare and often lyrical in its exposition and dialogue, 'Knives in Hens' is open to varied interpretations...But director Paul Takacs keeps things anchored largely within the post-Eden analogy...The play truly belongs to Robyn Kerr, who beautifully captures the transformation of Young Woman from a state of child-like innocence to one of self-determination." Full Review
"The visuals are ripe and perfectly set for the telling of this multi-dimensional fable... Surprisingly though, with so much intensity and engagement from the talented cast, 'Knives in Hens' remains head bound, and doesn’t translate down into our heart and our emotional core...Although Harrower’s seminal work suggests an inner quest for knowledge and freedom from the norm, the play and this production is surprisingly unmoving." Full Review
“Scottish playwright David Harrower's poetic and metaphoric ‘Knives in Hens,’ produced in Edinburgh in 1995, is now first having its New York premiere. Best known in New York for the two-handers, ‘Blackbird,’ ‘A Slow Air’ and ‘Good with People,’ this play expands his cast to three but is a great deal vaguer about time and place. Unlike those plays, we aren't given much information about the characters or their lives in this challenging play which will infuriate some and fascinate others.” Full Review
“Takacs has crafted a production combining elements of theatricalism and naturalism, but the result is drearily sluggish, uninvolving, and not particularly enlightening. There's no way a viewing of this production would inspire thoughts of a 'modern classic'…Little in the production plumbs the potential depths of Harrower's play. The actors, dressed in garments of indeterminate vintage…muffle the poetic starkness of the language and fail to do more than communicate the basic narrative.” Full Review
“Ninety minutes of inarticulate characters struggling to express inchoate feelings in language stripped of any specificity…Instead of simulated sex, the production offers movement sequences, adding another level of off-putting stylization to a production already loaded with them. Nothing good can come of this and indeed, before long, a killing will occur -- although, since it is impossible to care about what happens, it unfolds to little effect.” Full Review
See it if uses beautiful choreography/precise script 2 tell story of Eve-like woman; packs power of Biblical story/infidelity-murder-tree of knowledge
Don't see it if some will find this quiet tone poem to be insufferably slow and pretentious; I found woman's description of finding God in nature inspiring
See it if you appreciate a pared down stage with 3 excellent actors performing a many- layered, somewhat inscrutable script.
Don't see it if it is not for everyone...you need patience and concentration to appreciate this show.
See it if you like a well-acted show in an intimate setting and you are comfortable with ambiguity.
Don't see it if you are not comfortable with a show in which the meaning is open to interpretation.
See it if You want to see a haunting play about a woman’s self discovery. The mysticism in the play is enhanced by the intimate stage and setting.
Don't see it if You don’t like dark plays or fables.
See it if you like plays that involve relationships among people you probably never come across in your daily life; you like serious plays
Don't see it if you want to see something that's fun; you don't like plays that you might find tedious
See it if You like to be challenged. If you enjoy stripped down, bare, visceral stimuli. If you can analyze art from varying perspectives.
Don't see it if You are looking for cheap slapstick humor. If you are only entertained by over the top productions.
See it if You like unconventional theatre, you enjoy really artful movement work, you want to see a show that is exciting and refreshingly dramatic
Don't see it if You like linear, straight-laced theatre, you are sensitive to some dark topics
See it if you appreciate experiments in theatrical imagination, you like creations of worlds where people speak and behave in non-realistic ways
Don't see it if you are impatient with attempt to create a mytho-poetic rural past or incantatory language that no human ever spoke
See it if you want an intense and visceral show with beautiful choreography representing making love, a morality play about awakening senses; rawness
Don't see it if you want an easy to understand and view play about nonsense or a musical; this show is fierce.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies