Mankind
68

Mankind NYC Reviews and Tickets

68%
(209 Reviews)
Positive
59%
Mixed
26%
Negative
15%
Members say
Ambitious, Funny, Thought-provoking, Clever, Quirky

About the Show

Playwrights Horizons presents the world premiere of Robert O’Hara's ('Bootycandy') audacious comedy about a world without women.

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Member Reviews (209)

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72
Ambitious, Clever, Disappointing, Relevant, Slow

See it if you want to see the latest provocation from an important US playwright.

Don't see it if you hate when a high-concept play's high concept takes over & drives the vehicle off the road. Read more

71
Clever, Indulgent, Funny, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You like satire, speculative plays about the future, feminist leaning productions with all-male casts, brisk staging

Don't see it if You're not a fan of feminist messages, men behaving badly, religious & cultural satire, dystopian fantasy or unexplained situations

Critic Reviews (30)

The New York Times
January 8th, 2018

"The story keeps twisting even when you need it to stay put and shout. Another switcheroo arrives every few minutes, which quickly grows as tiresome and lets the satire deflate into mere sarcasm. It’s a problem of focus. Satire is about the sharpness of the darts but also of the targets. Here there are too many targets...This pinwheel of snark feels like a stunt, and there’s little that the cast can do, under the author’s distracted direction, to keep a feeling of agitated desperation at bay."
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Time Out New York
January 12th, 2018

“Even as 'Mankind' posits the radical adaptivity of male bodies, it suggests an equal adaptivity of patriarchal male rule as potentially disruptive energies are absorbed into a larger culture of surveillance, violence, control, and greed...Good material for satire, but O’Hara doesn’t seem sure how to shape it...Bravura moments are undermined by heavy-handed messaging and exposition. Like many an allegorical brainchild, the play seems like it was fun to conceive and harder to bring up right.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
January 8th, 2018

"Jason and Mark mostly alternate between bro-y detachment and screaming at each other, but in one of 'Mankind’s' strongest scenes, they start to open up about their pasts...O’Hara here succeeds in bolstering his sketch-like premise with a much needed dose of sincerity. It doesn’t last: We soon return to the world of cartoonishly drawn supporting characters, destructive male venality and idiocy, and mostly predictable digs at our messy moment’s sorry state of things."
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Variety
January 8th, 2018

"The offbeat premise is intriguing, but the writer fails to take it all the way, choosing a surreal treatment that is visually stunning but intellectually hollow...O’Hara, doubling as director, hasn’t quite decided how he wants us to feel about Jason’s dilemma...Despite being twisted, the Christian symbolism is clever...But it’s alarming to realize that, although the play seems to have come to an end, it’s only intermission and there’s another whole act to go."
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Theatermania
January 8th, 2018

"We wait for comic gold to materialize, but it never does as 'Mankind' plods along for a leaden two hours...Offers neither the wit nor bite of O'Hara's earlier plays...My mind remained thoroughly unblown by a play that is not nearly funny enough to compensate for all its plot deficiencies...O'Hara serves as his own director, resulting in a saggy presentation that betrays an almost religious reverence for the text...No characters ever rise above a broadly drawn sketch."
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BroadwayWorld
January 9th, 2018

“O’Hara’s wild gender politics satire...While the plot gets a little muddy in the second act...’Mandkind’ is so high-charged with imagination and audacity for its first half that the fumes of creative energy keep pushing it forward...Though the plot involves Feminism, ‘Mankind’ is more about the better side of men in their attempts to understand women; often looking foolish in the process, but still well-meaning.”
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Lighting & Sound America
January 9th, 2018

“A ponderous, largely laugh-free affair that begins on a mildly inventive revue-sketch note and quickly proceeds to box itself in, leading to a second act that roams far and wide in search of a salient comic point...O'Hara's satire is so vague and generalized as to be toothless...The production coasts on the considerable charisma of its leading men...A satire without much sting -- O'Hara gets so tangled up in the details of his dystopia that his outrage is rather badly muffled.”
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Talkin' Broadway
January 8th, 2018

"The play's very funny, very human opening is unfortunately quickly subsumed by a host of big ideas and controversial social issues...It all feels scattershot, and as a result, 'Mankind' is as frustrating as it is enervating...The second act is even loopier and more meandering than the first...Above all else, 'Mankind' lacks a self-reflective level of irony that might have made the play more successful as social satire...The play might have been more appropriately titled 'Mansplain.'"
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TheaterScene.net
January 9th, 2018

“Playwright O’Hara’s fertile premise might have made for a provocative, sober sci-fi take on gender roles, sexuality and parenthood. Instead, it’s broadly conceived and lame...O’Hara’s visually energetic direction does inject swift pacing to his cartoon-like vision and he has the cast appropriately in overdrive...Overblown, hollow and pointless, ‘Mankind’ is watchable but makes no impact.”
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Theater Pizzazz
January 8th, 2018

"It doesn’t give a clue as to what one needs to be cautious about...O’Hara’s direction of his own work is generally more elaborate than the material warrants. Religion and abortion are clearly targets of 'Mankind', but whether it hits them is another matter...Despite their shaky material, Mount, and especially Moreno, shine as Mark and Jason. While everything and everyone around them flounders, they remain grounded. They bring solidity to a play that hasn’t quite found its footing."
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CurtainUp
January 8th, 2018

"This new play allows its themes and comedic elements to collide so that everything spins out of control and loses the aimed for satiric balance...While the emotional impact of the basic premise is weakened by the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink thematics, O'Hara does once again display considerable directing skill...Despite its narrative flaws, 'Mankind' is praiseworthy for the fine performances, evocative design...All ensure that this is an interesting and never boring failure."
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Front Row Center
January 9th, 2018

“A satire...You could also say it’s a farce and a tragedy...The production is excellent – Robert O’Hara has directed his own work crisply and clearly and has assembled an excellent cast and crew...A biting, sarcastic look at the species and where we could be heading. It will make you laugh and it will make you squirm. And very likely you will find some fault with it. But you should see it.”
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Stage Buddy
January 8th, 2018

"'Mankind' is darkly comedic theatre. And though it’s quite apropos for its time, I was left a bit uncertain. I felt uneasy with a piece about a woman’s right to choose that seemed devoid of a woman’s perspective. Perhaps that’s just as it should be, perhaps not...Every idea posited by O’Hara has a compelling physical reality produced with startling technical precision...O’Hara understands his medium and allows us plenty of time for the journey; nothing is rushed."
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Front Mezz Junkies
January 13th, 2018

“Too idea-heavy and cloudy to see anything clearly. It is a progressively outrageous satire that blossoms into a convoluted mess of ‘hot topics’ easily lampooned out at us with no deeper analysis than the simplistic idea that men are dopey and foolish when it comes down to all of this. And that they eventually will take the easy route, just like O’Hara has in his direction and writing. At the end of this journey, we find ourselves even more lost and confused as before.”
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New York Theater
January 8th, 2018

"A fun comedy that turns berserk...O’Hara’s premise is promising, his inspiration laudable, and his stated intentions honorable....But, ultimately, 'Mankind' is muddled. If it does establish the tone of a satiric cautionary tale, it’s not always clear what it is satirizing or what it’s cautioning against...O’Hara just seems intent on being playful without thinking out his imagined world with enough care."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
January 8th, 2018

“Nonsensical plot developments and…humorless SNL sketch-like treatments…all acted in an equally diverse assortment of styles ranging from naturalistic to campy exaggeration…The plotting is wobbly, the humor banal, the exposition indistinct, the characters cartoonish, and the situations lacking even the most basic grounding in a reality strong enough to help us suspend our disbelief…O'Hara's got real talent…but 'Mankind' could have used some Planned Parenthood assistance of its own.”
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Times Square Chronicles
January 10th, 2018

“A farce meant for millennials and those who thrill at self indulgent rhetoric...The cast is excellent...O’Hara has a wicked sense of humor, but he fails to truly outline his world...The play leaves more questions than answers...O’Hara, who directs his own work needs another eye. Maybe then we could see all of what he is trying to say instead of it being so muddled...Meant to make feel uncomfortable, but I just found it too self-indulgent to care.”
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The Huffington Post
January 9th, 2018

“O’Hara seems to see his opus as a pro-woman screed. If it is, that aspect escaped me .What didn’t escape me is a numbing dullness to the production, the kind that often accompanies a playwright’s self-satisfaction at being deeply, darkly serious. This means unsolved complications for O’Hara, who clearly shouldn’t be directing his own work but is. For their part actors Moreno, Mount and the André De Shields...can do little to alleviate the script’s drawbacks, try though they mightily do."
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Gotham Playgoer
January 11th, 2018

“If only I had left O’Hara’s new play at intermission, I would have had a pleasant but abbreviated evening. Until that point, the satire had remained relatively sharp and focused...Unfortunately...the play resumed and ran steadily downhill...I wish his inventiveness were coupled with more discipline. The satire generates surprisingly few laughs and rapidly becomes tedious...O’Hara demonstrates why playwrights should not direct their own work...A frustrating evening of missed opportunities.”
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Daily Beast
January 9th, 2018

“The play is a mix of occasionally fascinating but overall discordant parts...Some of the audience laughed and found the various conceits and flouncing funny, and elsewhere others sat in silence...The play is an exercise in both absurdity and cultural challenge. Its problems are more basic than its premise: You just don’t quite believe in the characters...Ends up feeling like the most feverish kind of mansplaining.”
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Towleroad
January 9th, 2018

“Though it’s more often men who are out of the picture, single-sex societies are a familiar sci-fi trope...Doesn’t probe the consequences of its premise beyond these basic parameters...Elements that might lend it human drama are often lost in the shadows...O’Hara doesn’t seem much interested in the voices and bodies of actual women...The irony of men inventing feminism is also surprisingly underplayed...If the play didn’t raise so many interesting questions, it would feel less frustrating.”
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Financial Times (UK)
January 11th, 2018

"That pro-choice message is rather muddled here. If restrictions on abortion can really be blamed on male indifference, then surely such laws would disappear in a world where men got pregnant...Rather than dramatising actual women’s suffering, 'Mankind' thus ends up wallowing in impenetrable conceit. Despite its blundering stabs at satirical cleverness, the play also runs out of theatrical ideas more or less immediately."
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Off Off Online
January 10th, 2018

“A broad, futuristic satire of sexuality, feminism, religion...More than the playwright is able to manage smoothly...it has its moments...At the end of the first act the play goes off the rails...The play’s energy jumps a bit after intermission with a good sight gag, but it doesn’t recover enough and ultimately lurches its way to the finale. ’Mankind’, one hopes, is only a way station to a point when O’Hara manages to channel his energies and abilities to something more coherent."
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Diandra Reviews it All
January 10th, 2018

“O’Hara’s audacious, hilarious allegory envisions an uncannily familiar future...One of the most exciting, eccentric plays I have ever seen...Like the best 'Black Mirror' episode on feminism...The madness of this premise opens for surprising choices and explorations into religion, abortion, and mass hysteria...Incredibly wealthy with wisdom, social commentary, and conversational sparks. O’Hara has achieved what many creatives desire: a discussion.”
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The Wrap
January 8th, 2018

"An overlong exploration of toxic masculinity and a battle cry for women’s rights that suffers from an even more glaring shortcoming: an all-male cast...The polish of the production alas, also helps to underscore how undercooked the script sometimes is...It doesn’t help that O’Hara has opted to direct his own material...A different director might have helped this prodigiously talented writer to hone his material into a tighter, sharper edge."
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Village Voice
January 10th, 2018

“When the play’s thinking blurs and its dramatic focus skitters, its brash impudence will see you through...O’Hara’s anxiety or eagerness to get from one high point to the next, has left many matters fuzzy or unexplained...It’s hard to imagine that a dramaturg or a different director could have helped O’Hara find his way out of these foggy spells...’Mankind’ is bothersome in a good and potentially fruitful way, and that O’Hara’s continued audacity may well pay remarkable dividends.”
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Show Showdown
January 8th, 2018

“The play never attempts to wrestle with ways that a culture’s myriad ingrained hierarchies breed control, and thus institutionalized sexism. With some discussion of that in place, O'Hara might have produced a compelling play about women's subjugation. But because he never digs below the surface, 'Mankind' is simply an overlong, undercooked premise...Too thinly developed, inconsistently written, and clunkily directed to be genuinely offensive."
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Philadelphia Inquirer
January 11th, 2018

“Robert O’Hara takes up the feminist cudgel and beats to death the title of his new play, that misogynistic synonym for humanity...What begins as a potentially clever idea soon turns tedious...‘Mankind’s’ scattershot, kitchen-sink approach undermines whatever social indictment O’Hara had in mind...Morally vacant, humorless, and stretched to fill two hours by long quasi-liturgical rituals that require audience participation, ‘Mankind’ merely wink-winks at important issues."
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British Theatre Guide
January 9th, 2018

“A genuinely original theatrical work...’Mankind’ is very funny and watchable, although to benefit fully from such novel ideas and quick-fire delivery under the direction of the playwright, a second visit might reveal further jokes and hidden depths...However, the play does considerably more than amuse, asking viewers to think deeply about many of our values today. Under the microscope are topics that include religion, abortion, gender equality, and even politics and the media."
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The Modernist Beat
January 8th, 2018

"A gonzo nuts completely off-its-rocker laugh-out-loud tragedy, and I mean that as a compliment. It was near impossible to predict how the plot would unfold from scene to scene...The dark comedy dissects media culture, religion, and, most importantly, the permanence of patriarchy...O’Hara slyly builds a world where men continue to speak for women, even if they are not present...The ensemble of six men is uniformly excellent."
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