Mary Page Marlowe
Closed 1h 30m
Mary Page Marlowe
78

Mary Page Marlowe NYC Reviews and Tickets

78%
(198 Reviews)
Positive
86%
Mixed
12%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great writing

About the Show

Second Stage presents Tracy Letts's drama, which offers a haunting portrait of a complex woman, and demonstrates how a series of forgotten moments can add up to one memorable life. Starring Tatiana Maslany.

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Member Reviews (198)

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95
Clever, Thought-provoking, Epic, Funny, Masterful

See it if Non-linear puzzle play w/great acting. We see scenes in-between major events in Mary Page's life. Her character growth occurs off-stage.

Don't see it if You don't want to spend time after the play figuring out what happened. You don't like multiple actresses playing the same character. Read more

79
Great writing, Slow, Great acting, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if you want to see Letts' "patchwork" of non-sequential vignettes in the life of an Everywoman (or a Nobody?), played skillfully by 6 actresses

Don't see it if you'll be frustrated that such a well-written, well-acted & well-directed play still somehow feels dull, detached & uninspired. Read more

Critic Reviews (38)

The New York Times
July 12th, 2018

"Gripping...Some of those moments flirt with inconsequence or facile symbolism...Another confidently expressive staging by Neugebauer, makes it coolly legible...On-the-nose moments...sometimes left me feeling that 'Mary Page Marlowe,' however gorgeously acted, might not be hiding much of anything in the switchbacks of its distorted chronology. But with patience, and some unscrambling to restore the story’s natural order in your head, you may find a few powerful American themes arising."
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Time Out New York
July 12th, 2018

"Fascinating...While the play’s wide scope keeps the audience at a bird’s-eye remove, its components are vivid close-up snapshots. Director Lila Neugebauer keeps Mary Page in hard, revealing focus even as the character sometimes smudges herself in denial or passivity. 'Mary Page Marlowe' combines moments of crisis into a longer view of time. It approaches life—this one life—with something that feels like wisdom."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
July 12th, 2018

"Intermittently compelling, ultimately vanilla...It’s not hard to pick out the big themes in Letts’s play, which is part of what can make it feel surfacey despite its attempt to go deeper...It’s a tricky dance Letts is doing, as the man who’s literally pulling the levers and stipulating the roles in Mary Page’s life, while she grapples with her flickering consciousness of the fact that she’s allowed men to do just that. I wish I could have seen the character rebel against the playwright a little more."
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The Hollywood Reporter
July 12th, 2018

"It's a testament to the sensitivity of Lila Neugebauer's production of 'Mary Page Marlowe,' and the subtle connective thread binding the half-dozen actresses playing the title character at various ages, that the silences are when Tracy Letts' drama achieves its sharpest poignancy...The unimpeachably naturalistic dialogue reveals major and minor shadings throughout, but it's in the brief wordless moments of overlap during scene changes that the play's quiet force creeps up on you."
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Entertainment Weekly
July 12th, 2018

"Director Lila Neuberger deftly threads these stories and women (woman?) together...I almost wish the Mary Pages could speak to one another through space and time...Maybe they could have helped each other cope, or issued warnings, that would have made the story a bit less formulaic. Nevertheless it’s interesting watching Mary Page Marlowe unfold all the parts of herself that made her who she is — laying all her cards out on the proverbial table."
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Variety
July 12th, 2018

"Director Lila Neugebauer, who brilliantly grasped the big theatrical gestures in 'The Wolves' at Lincoln Center, is just as scrupulous about defining small but definitive moments...The episodic structure is as integral to the play as its content. It’s up to us to fill in the blanks, because this is how life is lived, in little fits and starts that we later recall and either re-live in our minds or decide to forget."
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The Wall Street Journal
July 19th, 2018

“I called it ‘the most purely beautiful play that Mr. Letts has given us’ in my review of the Chicago premiere, and now...it looks—if possible—even more impressive...The plausibility of this production is also owing in large part to the six actors who play Mr. Letts’s small-town everywoman, all of whom look and sound as true to life as a sequence of snapshots by a master photographer. No less worthy of praise is the equally masterly staging of Lila Neugebauer."
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The Observer
July 12th, 2018

"What Letts is doing is technically neat. Hopscotching through decades, he’s controlling the flow of information...Neugebauer’s overly complicated production and structural limitations steadily diminish our investment in Mary...So much joy and tragedy should not make such dull viewing. And yet, when your hero is a passive cipher, it is...Letts is too skilled a writer for individual scenes and passages not to shine in isolation, but the whole leaves you unsatisfied."
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New York Daily News
July 12th, 2018

"A frustratingly non-impact and not particularly well-acted drama...The play nags from the get-go...The script drops references to puzzles and quilts – two decent metaphors for piecing together a whole from disparate parts. In the end, this accountant’s story reminds that not every balance sheet or life — or play — adds up."
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NY1
July 12th, 2018

“A compelling, if not entirely successful portrait of an unremarkable woman played by some very remarkable actresses...Each scene is beautifully written and almost self-contained...Structurally disjointed, Neugebauer’s sensitive and stream-lined direction provides welcome clarity…at least up to the final scene. That last scene is a head-scratcher and left me wondering what Letts was getting at with the play...A work that demands your attention and, ultimately, self-reflection.”
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Theatermania
July 12th, 2018

"Engrossing, if needlessly grandiose...Neugebauer impressively binds the six Mary Pages together in spiritual unity, with mannerisms and attitudes carrying through the performances...While Neugebauer finds some beautiful opportunities for the different Mary Pages to cross paths during the scene transitions, these echoes in time don't feel especially resonant ...Good enough for a summer evening at the theater, but not as extraordinary as it could be."
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BroadwayWorld
July 21st, 2018

"Though fitting the pieces of the puzzle together can be fun, the lack of any kind of through-line makes the experience more clinical than emotional. Under Lila Neugebauer's direction, the play is very well-acted and the choice to not have any connecting mannerisms among the six actors playing the title role seems to bring home the point that people can evolve into drastically new versions of themselves."
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Lighting & Sound America
July 13th, 2018

“A real oddity...An epic miniature...There are so many scrambled puzzle pieces that, combined, form only a partial portrait of a woman who describes herself as ‘unexceptional’ -- a judgment the script does little to challenge...Information is delivered so jaggedly that it doesn't compel. The evening's principal pleasures come from a gifted cast, most of whom appear in only a scene or two...Neugebauer, handles everyone with assurance.”
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Talkin' Broadway
July 12th, 2018

"As a fully realized theatrical work, at least as it is being presented here, it is frustratingly thin and psychologically shallow, offering far more style than substance...It's not necessarily gimmicky for Letts to have his central character played by multiple actresses...Yet neither the others performing the role nor director Lila Neugebauer have been able to find that common thread...The production, while efficient, is rarely satisfying and often confusing."
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New York Stage Review
July 12th, 2018

"Intriguing, yes. Ambitious, yes. But coherent? Unfortunately, not. The multiple Marys flash by so quickly that we absorb very little..If the chronicle doesn’t quite come together, it’s not for lack of direction. Neugebauerkeeps things moving at Letts’ rapid pace...Letts seems to be attempting to write an 'Osage County'-sized yarn on a single pad of yellow paper...We expect the playwright’s intriguing notion would be better served if he gave the story and his many Marys more space to breathe."
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New York Stage Review
July 12th, 2018

"Remarkable...There’s something powerful—and truthful—about seeing Mary Page grow and change into all of these different women before our very eyes...Director Lila Neugebauer knows how to handle episodic storytelling, and her work here is no exception; her subtle, purposeful transitions give Letts’ decade-jumping story precisely the connective tissue it needs."
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TheaterScene.net
July 17th, 2018

"Part of what makes those minutes feel so long is that the different periods are arbitrarily jumbled up, seemingly willy-nilly, instead of occurring chronologically. Not only we but the playwright and director Lila Neugebauer have to rely a lot on scene designer Jellinek and costumer Voyce to help us know where we are when. Letts himself tries to help the situation with period references, such as when Mary Page is in college, referring to the film 'Charade,' which starred Audrey Hepburn."
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Theater Pizzazz
July 12th, 2018

"Do we direct the course our own life or does life merely happen to us? That's the major existential question faced by the title character of Mary Page Marlowe, Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts' fascinating and slightly frustrating Chinese puzzle of a play, getting a spiffy New York premiere. And perhaps to no one's surprise, Letts never gives the audience a definitive answer -nor does he provide one for Mary, whom we see at 11 different moments of her life."
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CurtainUp
July 13th, 2018

“'Mary Page Marlowe' doesn't have the fire and fury of 'August Osage County.' But any theatergoer who appreciates fine acting and willing to tackle a challengingly structured play won't want to miss seeing it...Both an intriguing and frustrating play...Ultimately Letts's reliance on a casting and story-telling structure...does leave one wondering if he didn't think Mary Page's story was indeed too insignificant and banal to deserve a fuller 'August Osage County' treatment."
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Front Row Center
July 13th, 2018

"Each scene in this play (and the scenes are not chronological) brings with it one or two little pilot lights that stay with you. They do not, however, connect to one another. Nor do they ever accumulate into a fire. They never have the chance. We are pulled from one time and space to another, and just as something begins to simmer, the scene ends and the next begins."
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Front Mezz Junkies
July 23rd, 2018

"The end result is neither totally satisfying, nor is it disappointing...The Mary Pages, each find moments of quiet engagement between the different stages...It’s a patchwork piece and as directed with an achingly delicate sense of quietness by the wonderful Neugebauer, the separate square pieces of engagements with this very big cast and its central figure comes together like a finely crafted memory quilt."
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T
July 26th, 2018

"An engaging non-linear cascade of kaleidoscopic vignettes from the title character’s life...There is dysfunction in each of these vignettes; however, it is what underlies the dysfunction – the trauma involved in the vicissitudes of life – that energizes Tracy Letts’s script and makes Mary Page an 'Everywoman'...Under Lila Neugebauer’s exquisite direction, the actors playing Mary Page each give intriguing performances."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
July 19th, 2018

"These biographical elements, presented out-of-sequence…put the onus on the audience to fill in the blanks relating one to the other. As Letts' careful stagecraft and convincingly natural dialogue, gracefully abetted…by sensitive direction…gradually pull things into focus, the connection between the scenes and the varying time periods becomes clearer. We thereby witness how a personality evolves over time, never standing in one place, but also never abandoning what it once was."
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Gotham Playgoer
July 12th, 2018

"Alas, something essential seems to have been lost en route from Chicago, because this production, directed by Lila Neugebauer, left me wondering what the fuss was about...Unfortunately, dividing her character’s scenes among six actors does not make her life story six times as interesting. Nor do the six actors create a convincing unity, at least not for me...At times I thought I was watching a piece commissioned to provide as many roles as possible for the members of a repertory company."
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The Wrap
July 12th, 2018

"It doesn’t say much for Letts’ dramaturgy that he needs a psychiatrist to reveal his title character’s psychology...Neugebauer’s direction makes little attempt to link the various actresses playing Marlowe, most of whom resort to broad effects to quickly establish their big moment in the character’s life story. In this cast of 18, none of the other actors are double cast. That’s a production luxury in modern theater that here serves only to emphasize the general lack of dramatic cohesion."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
August 1st, 2018

"While it is very interesting to have Mary Page played by six actresses, they are so very different in looks that the effect is sometimes jarring. It is also difficult to see...why she couldn’t have more control of her life. But on the other hand Letts is stressing that life can take unexpected sharp turns against which one is helpless. Neugebauer makes it relatively easy to follow the mixture of timelines, which makes the play provocative and intriguing."
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Cultural Weekly
July 27th, 2018

“I found this intimate series of snapshots quietly moving...Letts can be a bit too on the nose. Scenes reinforcing the theme of the randomness and collage-like nature of Mary Page’s life pop up a mite too often. But the majority of the vignettes provide piercingly realistic moments in a woman’s life...A complicated script...Yet we are always certain who is who and where we are in Mary’s story. This is due to Lila Neugebauer’s economic and fluid direction."
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Village Voice
July 13th, 2018

“Lovely, wrenching...Laid out not chronologically but rather like brilliantly designed puzzle pieces, which often pierce us as we assemble them...Under Neugebauer’s rigorous, compassionate direction, the different women cast as Mary Page reveal how she comes to accommodate loss and dismay...Letts has given us, once again, a portrait of humanity that is simultaneously scathing and forgiving — and utterly unpatronizing."
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Stage Left
July 16th, 2018

“A fascinating, fragmented portrait of one ordinary woman’s journey through life, embodied by six actors in eleven time-hopping scenes. The tension of what happens to us versus what we control haunts the text as Mary Page traverses decades, surfing waves of feminism amidst the shifting roles of women from mid-century America to the present. Letts, director Neugebauer, and an ensemble cast of 18 create a mosaic that is compelling, if ultimately mysterious.”
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Daily Beast
July 12th, 2018

"Beautifully written but strangely staged...The quality of Letts’ writing comes in the zeroing in on specifics to reveal the greater contours of Mary Page’s character. The frustration watching the play is in the bittiness and static feel of the staging..How did Mary Page really get from there to there, you wonder at some moments. Letts very deliberately isn’t telling. Rather than a flaw, it is a mark of the brilliance of his writing—and its clever demand on our own watching imaginations."
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Financial Times (UK)
July 13th, 2018

“Neugebauer’s staging has a cool, unhurried rhythm that avoids overwrought displays of emotion...Tone remains remarkably consistent throughout the uniformly excellent portrayals of the heroine...The problem is that Letts ultimately reveals too much about his heroine, offering overly reductive explanations for her neuroses. And by the end of the play, which concludes on a mawkish note, there is little mystery left.”
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T
July 12th, 2018

"The best play I’ve ever seen about the life and times of a woman written by a man...Letts and director Lila Neugebauer...do a beautiful job moving from scene to scene; even though events happen out of order, Mary Page is in a constant state of progression...The six amazing women who play Mary Page flow into one another seamlessly, helping make her one person with many distinct aspects."
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NewNowNext.com
July 18th, 2018

“Letts's new play, directed by Neugebauer at Second Stage is a worthy addition to his credits...The chronology is carefully jumbled so that the pieces of Mary’s life come together in offbeat ways...For the most part, Letts’s writing is crisp and far from boring...The set seems too bland, but it has to cover a lot of bases with quick changes. The production itself, though, is an intriguing experiment in time and punishment.”
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Newsday
July 12th, 2018

"Intricately constructed and intriguing...the play is structured in a series of scrambled scenes that come at you in random order, though clearly Letts has carefully arranged them for maximum impact...Under the careful direction of Lila Neugebauer, the six actresses playing Mary Page make the character whole with their impeccable performances...This one left me wanting more — more details, more answers. The abrupt ending, especially, felt tacked on and unsatisfying."
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T
July 12th, 2018

“Pivotal life moments are considered throughout this somewhat absorbing piece. The scenes that are excellent are moving studies of this woman and her evolution. Other scenes are less successful, such as the one between young Mary Page and her mother Roberta...The tone felt oddly out of place...Starts meandering about halfway through and then abruptly concludes in a very unsatisfying finish...An interesting life study which feels unevenly observed.”
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Show Showdown
July 12th, 2018

“I imagine that developing the show was a fascinating experience for the actors...Unfortunately, the process doesn't translate into anything wonderful or distinct for the audience...The entire show comes across as monotone. It's as though...the only way to get six women to meld was to eliminate their personalities and individual quirks...The combination of multi-casting, monotone, and non-chronology keeps the audience at arm's length...Feels like a terribly missed opportunity.”
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The Clyde Fitch Report
July 12th, 2018

“The story is an expertly selected set of key points in this woman’s life...It’s a kind and cruel and glorious ride...Neugebauer elegantly choreographs movement in, around and through the scenes of this tone poem of a play. This is deeply feminist, personal storytelling, with an imperfect, fascinating character who doesn’t yield her story to anyone else. On the page, the play is haunting. On stage, from direction to design to each of the polished actors, it offers a harrowing but human world.”
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Film Festival Traveler
July 16th, 2018

“Letts’s decision to present rearranged scenes from a life feels uncomfortably contrived as a way to give significance to something that is anything but. Unsurprisingly, each scene is intelligently written, concise and pointed...Despite Letts’s bravura writing of individual moments, it adds up to little as we are no further along to understanding or sympathizing with this woman..Director Lila Neugebauer’s sensitive staging helps, to a point."
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