Second Stage Theatre presents the New York premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts' drama about a devout man who has a crisis of faith. Starring Tony winner Reed Birney ('The Humans.') More…
Sometimes even the most devout can lose their faith. When Ken (Birney), a middle-aged man from Nebraska, suddenly realizes he's lost his sense of purpose, he goes on a wild adventure to find it. Along the way he encounters a world vastly different from his own, filled with chance meetings and romantic encounters that shake him to the core. Written by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts ('August: Osage County').
"If any actor can make you believe a character who says 'I’m spending time with my thoughts on the advice of my pastor' while staring at a half-naked woman on a bed, that actor is Reed Birney...It is hard to come up with anyone else who can imbue such honesty, decency and complex intelligence in the idea of an imperfect Everyman...A nuanced production by director David Cromer. But boy, does this play ever need both Birney and Cromer...Deep, this is not." Full Review
"It’s not nearly as good as Letts’ best-known work, but it’s not without interest, thanks in good measure to its lead actors. Birney gives one of his superbly real ordinary-guy portrayals as the searching Ken, while O’Toole is deeply sympathetic as a loyal, confused and increasingly angry abandoned wife...When he finally returns to Nebraska, many weeks later, Ken is a new, improved man, Letts would have us believe...The idea is provocative, even if it’s completely unpersuasive." Full Review
"Anchoring the familiar tale is a focused performance by Birney who has clearly mastered the art of portraying buttoned-up middle-class baby boomers roiled by inner torment. O’Toole similarly manages to offset her character’s dullness with flashes of brittle dignity while Mensah provides an archly vivacious counterpoint throughout the second half. But for all its humanity and wit, Letts’s play ends up feeling rather schematic under David Cromer’s polished direction." Full Review
"This show is brooding, slow, vacuous, empty, hopeless, and depressing. This is not all necessarily bad…Part blistering critique of religion and America, part human condition, Mr. Letts shows us what happens when a man questions long-held beliefs, as provincial and narrow as they might seem…Frankly, Mr. Letts' play doesn't really answer the question; it merely scratches the surface and explores the topic. If you are looking for definitive answers you won't find them here.” Full Review
"Letts' powerfully intriguing premise, the despair of which Birney embodies so movingly, gets vitiated as the action proceeds...He makes Ken’s crisis impressively stark, and his subsequent wanderings in search of meaning amusingly entertaining, but the two never add up. Viewed as a total picture, 'Man from Nebraska' turns out to be riddled with the wrong kind of questions-not the big ones a great playwright asks us, but the niggling little ones that we want to ask the playwright." Full Review
"Much of the dialog is very simple, rarely revealing, and filled with very long pauses. It almost feels like a Pinter play without the biting double meanings in the characters’ speech...The cast is quite good, led by the reliable Reed Birney...Director David Cromer creates a dark atmosphere that seems appropriate to Letts’ tone and episodic style. But the strong performances and the evocative direction only leave the audience wondering what was the point of the play they had just experienced." Full Review
"Letts condescends to his hero’s dilemma by making the representation of his religion into a complete dolt...The surprise isn’t that Ken has lost his religion; it’s that he’s not already embalmed...A nymphomaniac, a dullard preacher, an angry artist. You can’t blame the actors here for performing what’s on the page, although it might have helped if Cromer had directed them to look for some subtext. Reed manages to be much more empathetic. In a few scenes, he even dazzles." Full Review
"'Man from Nebraska' just goes in circles...It’s a double disappointment from Tracy Letts...Weirdly, Ken’s life-changing question of faith falls aside as he drinks, drops ecstacy and tries his hand at art. Letts raises a provocative idea but fails to follow through. And when a play turns this hollow even a fine ensemble doesn’t have a prayer." Full Review
See it if you like dramas about people facing a midlife crisis and how they cope, plays that blend drama and comedy, & topnotch acting by Reed Birney.
Don't see it if you can't relate to plays about a crisis of faith later in life, don't like plays that mix drama and comedy, can't relate to midwest values.
See it if you like to see great acting (Reed Birney) set against a minimalist background. An exploration into a person's belief system
Don't see it if you don't like talky plays where what isn't said is often as important was what is said.
See it if You like simple, compelling theater that turns on straightforward, unencumbered writing and solid acting.
Don't see it if You aren't interested in a rather boring relationship where one partner goes on a small journey of self-discovery with no great revelations.
See it if One man's terrifying crisis of faith--or really, crisis of life, explored through small, human moments. Bravura performance by Reed Birney.
Don't see it if You like plays with a lot of plot and high drama. Much of this story is left unsaid--not that it's boring, but it's subtle and realistic
See it if you've ever doubted or regretted any of your life choices on a personal or religious level. Or see a deep play about the human condition.
Don't see it if you aren't ready to think--and feel--without spoon feeding.
See it if you know anyone who has gone through a midlife crisis or crisis of faith. This play addresses these issues with an interesting perspective.
Don't see it if you prefer fast paced or lighthearted drama and don't want to think about personal conflicts.
See it if You are at 'a certain age'; the message will have the most meaning for you; see it if you enjoy thought provoking drama.
Don't see it if You are disturbed by themes of mid life crises, potential infedility.
See it if I found it deeply satisfying, could have watched for another hour or so. Great writing, direction, acting, staging. Also funny.
Don't see it if You think you might not be interested in a man having a crisis of faith.
See it if you're a fan of reed birney (the part seemed written for him), you enjoy slow heady works heavy on philosophy
Don't see it if you're looking for something flashy, quick paced. A lot of the play is in silence.
See it if You like well-written & well-acted plays and want to see what Tracy Letts can do beyond August: Osage County. Hang in beyond Act I, really.
Don't see it if Inventive staging annoys you or you're completely against any discussion of religion.
See it if you're interested in the examined life. Tracy Letts great play is about having the courage to change a life path and establish a new one.
Don't see it if if you prefer to be entertained, rather than think about the meaning of your ife
See it if If you can understand where people are coming from and what they are used to RUT man can't change. Very thought provoking show and you will
Don't see it if If you are deeply religious and can't understand good acting and not interested in people who can't break habits
See it if you enjoy thoughtful, meticulously developed, psychological explored characters on stage.
Don't see it if If you need a faster pace and something more for light-hearted or less demanding.
See it if You enjoy dramas that make you think about religion, relationships and your place in the world. Letts says alot with few words
Don't see it if Dont like shows with a slow pacing (like nebraska i suppose) and short bursts of scenes. Like snippets of a life
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