In Lincoln Center's world premiere, an ambitious Jamaican woman is determined to live a grand life. More…
Her adventures take her across oceans and eras, from a battlefield of the Crimean War to a contemporary nursing home, and many times and places in between. "Marys Seacole" is an exploration of what it means to be a woman who is paid to care.
"These six Marys come together to weave a wild tapestry that shatters the normal ideas of story-telling...As Mary, Bernstine sparkles...The movement is fluid, and once we get over the first transition we are in lockstep...This extraordinary cast, brilliantly directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, delivers the goods that Drury created. It is a majestic piece of work that takes no prisoners. Pay attention or get left behind. This is the style of the play and the lasting echo that follows you out the d... Full Review
"Breathless and radiant new play...Directed with head-spinning velocity and shape-shifting flair by Lileana Blain-Cruz...Individually, there’s nothing strikingly original in most of these scenes...Seen collectively, though, they become a dazzling hall of mirrors...Ms. Drury gloriously confirms her status as a playwright for whom the long view is disturbingly, divertingly and endlessly kaleidoscopic." Full Review
"A powerful and arguably long-overdue tribute...Contemporary and historical scenes bleed together, staging a rich continuum in just 90 minutes...Drury tempers her perspicacity with surefire wit that will keep you laughing as the light bulb goes off in your brain...Director Lileana Blain-Cruz delivers well-choreographed pandemonium that sacrifices nothing in terms of clarity...One hell of a play." Full Review
"Drury bends, suspends, and ultimately shatters conventions of time and space altogether, in order to tease out threads of inheritance systematically overlooked by the churn of western history. Somehow the play is also a total hoot. This is a spectacular feat, accomplished with a sharp sort of expressionism by director Lileana Blain-Cruz." Full Review
"Both Marys were born in Jamaica, and are played in grand style by Quincy Tyler Bernstine, giving the performance of this winter season in New York City...Bernstine manages the time lapses seamlessly, and is immeasurably aided by Lileana Blain-Cruz’s direction, which is both over-the-top and precisely what a big saga like 'Marys Seacole' requires...The ensuing spectacle of two titanic actors ripping into each other makes riveting theater." Full Review
"In Ms. Drury’s extensively fictionalized, magically realistic play, Mary becomes a symbol of the spirit of caregiving who is reincarnated time and again. The pluralized title is indicative of her varied versions...Drury dramatizes the successive phases of Mary Seacole’s life with pith and vigor, aided by the equally resourceful staging of Lileana Blain-Cruz...Blain-Cruz makes all the rough places plain, and the result is an exciting, involving show that catches you up from the first scene on... Full Review
"Lileana Blain-Cruz’s tight, controlled production immediately gives us that little thrill of delight that comes from the incongruous...The six women of 'Marys Seacole' are all delivering fierce, finely calibrated performances...'Marys Seacole' is in many ways an act of remembrance for the unremembered. It’s a fierce, complex eulogy and, like 'Fairview,' an exhortation to see both past and present better." Full Review
"'Marys Seacole'...will alternately shock you, bewilder you, infuriate you, amaze you...and leave you with a huge helping of food for thought...This is a playwright of fierce passion and determination. She knows how to grab an audience’s attention and keep it...Scenes are enacted by a superb ensemble of six actresses, including others playing multiple roles...Under Lileana Blain-Cruz’s sensational direction, the action builds to a crescendo at which the centuries and characters blur." Full Review
"I cannot be sure I understood it all. I am, however, resolute in my admiration of this incredibly inventive narrative...Lileana Blain-Cruz has impressively directed this challenging and thought provoking work. Individual moments are never less than interesting and occasionally are mind blowing. Quincy Tyler Bernstine is a colossal Mary...Highly recommended." Full Review
"In this challenging, disorienting, and powerful collage of a drama, Drury seems to be using this one remarkable woman’s biography to try to say something larger – about race and gender; about what it takes, and what it takes out of you, to be a caregiver...What is the playwright trying to say? There are plenty of clues – maybe too many...Such lack of tidiness in plot and point might inspire some audience confusion or impatience. But it worked for me." Full Review
"It's inspiring to watch a woman whose self-confidence is almost unnerving - even when her hauteur can admittedly be off-putting - and whose dedication is to the greater good is never in doubt. It also helps immeasurably that she (they?) are portrayed by the always-spectacular Quincy Tyler Bernstine in a commanding performance that anchors this 100-minute fantasia." Full Review
"The playwright attempts to pack a lot into this intermissionless work's 90 minutes. Too much so, in fact, leaving the audience struggling to connect the confusing narrative dots. Mary Seacole's arresting story is too often left in the lurch, and the link between her and her modern-day successors isn't as emotionally resonant as clearly intended...The performances by the six-woman ensemble...could not be bettered, with Bernstine outstanding in the central role." Full Review
"With its nonlinear structure, mashing up of situations, strong Jamaican accents, and several themes, the play is challenging to follow as it becomes increasingly expressionistic in style. The conclusion is scarcely coherent and demands clarification...Although the playwright does not fully control and articulate the themes of her ambitious, sprawling play, 'Marys Seacole' remains a thoughtful consideration of the women who serve others more than themselves." Full Review
"The 90-minute piece tends to be more stylized than dramatically effective, but Drury convincingly makes her point about the short shrift Mary Seacole has been handed by history, as well of the lack of appreciation for those who carry on her legacy." Full Review
"Provocative, yet confusing work...It needs to be acknowledged that Drury’s calling attention to the determined Seacole is commendable, as is her admiration for the invaluable benefits of widespread medical care...Actually, it’s Drury’s zeal that gets the better of her as her 90-minute play runs its anfractuous course...Drury has too much she’s compelled to say. She loses control of sorting her ideas so that audience members can follow them." Full Review
See it if Astonishingly powerful examination of gender, race, and ethnicity. Compassionate and angry, tragic and funny. Unforgettable.
Don't see it if I sometimes had trouble understanding accents when speech was rapid and overlapping. (But ultimately, not a big problem.)
See it if You’re open to experimental theater, bold questions about racial roles in caregiving, and want something provocative, bold, and rewarding.
Don't see it if You’re looking for a straightforward narrative or aren’t open to work that is more about themes and ideas than traditional plot.
See it if you want to be immersed in an abstract, multigenerational portrait of resilient femininity in the face of horror, colonialism, and war
Don't see it if you think this sounds like a play about "women's issues."
See it if you relish innovation and like to be challenged. The performances are excellent and the ideas timeless. The theater is quite small.
Don't see it if you like conventional, linear plays.
See it if you enjoy complicated commentaries on relationships between immigrants and whites in America. With great acting and writing.
Don't see it if you are not interested in human stories that also have political connotations.
See it if you love Quincy Tyler Bernstine, she is one of NYC's best...you like being challenged in the theatre...you like boundary pushing play form
Don't see it if you're expecting something always logical and linear...you don't like to be challenged...you're not ready to bring yourself to the piece
See it if you love great acting by all, especially the brilliant, always spot on Bernstine; beautiful writing, directing and choreography.
Don't see it if you want a linear storyline - here time keeps changing though many attitudes do not; some saintly personas become unsaintly and vice versa.
See it if you like all-female casts and production teams, plays about motherhood, being a daughter, a caregiver, an immigrant and a historic figure
Don't see it if you don't like stylized plays, different directing/acting styles in one play, breaking of the fourth wall, plays that don't hold your hand
See it if Extraordinary, shatters the stage, time and space to think through global care work, invisible labor, and race. Killer staging and acting.
Don't see it if Went with a friend, who thought the entire play was too high-keyed & a constant state of screaming. She hated it. So your mileage may vary.
See it if you, like I, know nothing about the title character and are open to having a wild ride and learning something along the way.
Don't see it if you must have linear plot development in order to enjoy a play.
See it if A powerhouse performance by Quincy Tyler Bernstine in the lead, sharp direction by Lilieana Blain Cruz, brilliant new play by Drury
Don't see it if If nonlinear work is not for you
See it if You love historical fiction plays that make you want to learn more about the character(s) — especially if they’re relatively unknown.
Don't see it if You’re not interested in stories that focus on feminism and racism.
See it if You want to hear a tale of a courageous black woman from Jamaica. Her story is still being played out today, therefore the multiple Marys
Don't see it if You are not comfortable with the struggles of women of color. Also, have issues with accents.
See it if you enjoy original theater that speaks intelligently about relevant issues while being very entertaining.
Don't see it if you prefer traditional linear storytelling with no zany twists.
See it if You’re interested in the subject of “hidden figures.” Mary Seacole was lost to history but through this play & a UK movement is no longer
Don't see it if You desire linear storytelling because this is a hallucinatory time-traveling reverie.
See it if you enjoy explorations of race, story telling, support among women etc. told in a nonlinear and prism-like fashion.
Don't see it if need traditional theater with linear plot, character development, etc. Staging is often over the top and loud and frenetic.
See it if for a glimpse into little known American history, different take on women's issues & racism, non-linear but thematic narratives
Don't see it if Need linear storyline & actors playing same character or be guided through themes, don't like feminist plotlines or ingenious chaos on stage
See it if You're not afraid to work to keep up. This circling, timeshifting history is fascinating as you catch up and piece together its parts.
Don't see it if You want to be spoonfed, are uninterested in being disoriented, and don't care to see confident direction of difficult work.
See it if You want to see plays that push theatrical forms; thoughtful, deeply felt work; tired of conventional American dysfunctional family stories
Don't see it if you want something happy, comforting, and safe; have trouble with accents; uncomfortable with not knowing exactly what's going on
See it if if you're a fan of Jackie Sibblies Drury, you want to see a stellar Quincy Tyler Bernstine, if you enjoy plays that are nonlinear
Don't see it if if you like conventionally structured plays
See it if You are intrigued by Jamaican/British history and also want to explore modern Jamaican caretakers. You enjoy women's plays.
Don't see it if You want avoid all shows about race or shows that feature both strong and weak women. Also, violence in wars is front and center and loud.
See it if Current most talented ensemble cast in NYC expertly navigates scenes which range in time period and physical location
Don't see it if Like a series of fever dreams in a blender; requires audience will care enough to reflect upon all the scenes as a whole
See it if You want to see phenomenal actresses play multiple roles flawlessly. An intricate plot and a commentary on race and immigration.
Don't see it if You want a linear plot and want to understand everything that is happening. There is a great deal of time warping and melodrama.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies