Mies Julie
79

Mies Julie NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(96 Reviews)
Positive
88%
Mixed
11%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Intense, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

About the Show

Classic Stage presents this fierce adaptation of Strindberg’s "Miss Julie," which resets the classic play to a farmhouse in the Karoo of South Africa on the evening of the annual Freedom Day celebration.

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Member Reviews (96)

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85
Disturbing, Erotic, Haunting, Intense, Great acting

See it if Muscular resentful black servant seduced by bored white farm daughter. Violent sexuality, class conflict, & ancestors who haunt the land.

Don't see it if You don't want to be confronted by intensely sexual and violent scenes, and a hopeless no-win situation. Difficult accents.

79
Ambitious, Powerful, Intense, Slow

See it if to see Strindberg's 19th C Swedish play on class & power reset in 21st C South Africa, where colonialism & race clash to an erotic crescendo

Don't see it if you're a Strindberg purist; you're embarrassed by frank & sometimes violent sexual situations; you're uncomfortable w/theatre-in-the-round. Read more

Critic Reviews (23)

The New York Times
February 10th, 2019

"The toxic love that develops between Julie (Elise Kibler) and the black servant John is strangled almost from its inception by societal sins past. That perspective is heightened by the performance of Kibler, who looks defenselessly young and unformed...Julie’s passivity shifts the emphasis from the play’s title character to John and his mother, Christine. They are both excellent...The sense of a world in which everyone is terminally rootless comes across with haunting acuteness."
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Time Out New York
February 11th, 2019

"South African playwright Yaël Farber cleverly uses the template of Strindberg’s 1888 play 'Miss Julie' to explore clashes of class, gender, race and ownership in her homeland...Ali's raw, in-the-round staging...is meant to jar. It leaves nothing to the imagination...Kibler isn't as strong as her costars—her accent is as fickle as her character's emotions—but Julie’s fate is still haunting, as is Farber's insight into what continues to ail their country."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
February 11th, 2019

"Kibler and Udom’s piercing performances make 'Mies Julie' resonate, but director Shariffa Ali never quite drives the heady electricity and malicious, unresolvable hurt of the story home...The strength of this 'Mies Julie' lies in Kibler and Udom’s chemistry and in their ability to keep finding the contradictions in the characters. Strindberg’s plays were always more human and complex than his analyses of his own writing."
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The Wall Street Journal
February 14th, 2019

"Directed by Shariffa Ali with stingingly harsh vigor and acted with like impact...While Ms. Ali’s staging is strong enough to give pleasure in its own right, I’m not sure why Classic Stage has opted to produce a modern commentary on a 19th-century classic that so few of its viewers will know save by reputation...The audience would have been better served had the producers stuck to Strindberg."
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Theatermania
February 10th, 2019

"Udon and Kibler make thrilling stage partners, pushing uncomfortable physical and emotional boundaries to their breaking points under Ali's bold direction. The tragic ending may be as preordained as that in 'The Dance of Death,' but rather than watching in woeful resignation, 'Mies Julie' makes you want to reach onto the stage (like the legendary Vinie Burrows in her ghostly cameo) and change the social architecture that's signed its characters' fates."
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BroadwayWorld
February 13th, 2019

“A tense and sizzling production...The setting is moved to the Karoo of South Africa on the 18th Anniversary of Freedom Day...Passions and social politics meet nose to nose...Their rough, but consensual, sexual encounter, staged with striking realism by fight and intimacy directors Alicia Rodis and Claire Warden, carries the same symbolism that the source's author conveyed less graphically in the 19th Century, though with the added layer brought on by the pair's racial divide."
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Lighting & Sound America
February 11th, 2019

"Benefits from a director with a vivid, gripping vision and a cast willing to burrow deep into dark psychological corners; together, they make a compelling case for plays that often come across as creaky fulminations by a great writer...If Ali's taut direction never slackens across the seventy-five-minute running time, her production also benefits from the steamy pairing of Kibler and James Udom...The best argument in some time for the continuing relevance of his plays."
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New York Stage Review
February 10th, 2019

"Farber has found a smart way to spin on 'Miss Julie'...Making the bold transition, she is able not only to stress the sexual politics of the explosive play but introduce a more profound political perspective...Director Ali’s actors are superb...When a playwright decides to fiddle with well-loved plays, it’s often a problem, but here’s a rare example of a truly authoritative spin."
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New York Stage Review
February 10th, 2019

"In Farber’s adaptation of Strindberg’s work, the place and time of the drama has been transposed from 1880s Sweden to 2012 South Africa and its dynamic changed into a symbolic power struggle between white and black people within the nation’s post-apartheid society...Purists will not be pleased by Farber’s significant retooling of a classic, yet there’s no denying how effectively the director, Shariffa Ali, cranks up the psychosexual heat...It succeeds as a forceful drama in its own right."
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TheaterScene.net
February 12th, 2019

"I did not catch 'Mies Julie' when it played at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn in 2012, which is probably just as well: the passions it traffics in are so raw, so violent, that they would be hard to take twice. In the meantime, it should at least be seen once."
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Theater Pizzazz
February 10th, 2019

"The buildup to the play’s final shocking moments is an incredibly intense dance of death...Farber’s play is more about ideas than what takes place on that much-stronger-than-it-looks kitchen table...Ali is adept at handling this aspect of Farber’s script, taking full advantage of the scorched-earth naturalism...Ali struggles, though, with Farber’s spiritualism...Fortunately, the crew’s collective talents are put to much better use heightening Julie and John’s passionate exchanges."
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CurtainUp
February 10th, 2019

"This play that once passionately and obsessively tested the social and sexual barriers between the haves and the have nots has remarkably never surrendered the impact of its psycho-sexual dilemma...Farber's text is excellent and eminently reflective of its characters...Neither Kibler's neurotically obsessed Julie or Udom's misguidedly adventurous Jean are able to counter the feeling that their nocturnal tryst is hardly more than a game turned deadly."
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Front Row Center
February 12th, 2019

“Broken dreams, unrequited love, sadness, and tragedy. Chevannes’ performance makes it all worthwhile. Yaël Farber’s adaptation of the classic August Strindberg 'Miss Julie' is both an insightful character portrayal and unrelenting opponent of social mores concomitant to apartheid. It requires a strong cast to sustain 70 minutes of stress and heartache."
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Front Mezz Junkies
February 14th, 2019

"It’s a wise move, slapping down this battleground, not in Sweden, but in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, 2012, on the evening of the annual Freedom Day Celebrations. It’s a solid and thoughtful parallel universe that gives rise to the wild and pained alliance in conflict that is at the core, although the added complexities in their passionate power struggle shoots 'Mies Julie' off in a number of different directions, not always hitting their mark."
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T
February 10th, 2019

"Ali’s electrifying staging replaces Strindberg’s celebration of Midsummer’s Eve with the 'restitutions of body and soul' churned up by the Xhosa Freedom Day celebration...Issues of race, gender, power, privilege, and hope cascade across David L. Arsenault’s expansive set and are ultimately consummated on the kitchen farm table set center stage...A play to see: its themes counterpoint the struggles for true freedom that continue to beg for resolution."
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Broadway Blog
February 10th, 2019

"Regrettably, the intense performances of these actors (especially Udom) are marred by the occasional unintelligibility of their accents…'Mies Julie' evokes the sultry world of a Tennessee Williams play, with sweat, booze, boredom, and repression colliding in a cocktail of lust…Farber's 75-minute play…adds to Strindberg's focus on male-female power dynamics and class warfare, tensions tied to post-apartheid racial and historical land ownership issues."
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Times Square Chronicles
February 14th, 2019

“Farber’s version of ‘Mies Julie’ and McPherson’s take on ‘The Dance of Death,’ are running in rep...Farber’s ‘Mies Julie’ is less successful...Without ever being political 'Mies Julie' has become a rebellion of the present-day political situation in South Africa. Where before it was about class and the haves and have nots...Though this production says a lot and has masterful performances, it’s not what the original playwright had to say.”
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Stage Left
February 15th, 2019

“Farber, a celebrated South African playwright and director, translocates the play from 19th century Sweden to South Africa in 2012...This new setting inserts a jolting socio-political milieu into a familiar story, upping the stakes for a modern audience while maintaining the naturalistic edge that makes ‘Miss Julie’ a classic...Ali shapes a highly legible and truthful production with stunning performances...This one is worth seeing.”
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TheaterScene.com
February 12th, 2019

“Farber’s reworking of Strindberg’s ‘Miss Julie’ changes the setting and implications of the classic drama...Ali directs this piece with a knowing hand...There’s some fine—and sizzling--ensemble acting here...The production values underscore the play’s bleak atmosphere and mood...No question that ‘Mies Julie’ is meant for adult audiences. Farber’s reimagining of Strindberg’s 1888 drama about love—and social taboos--will raise the temperature of even the most seasoned theatergoer.”
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The Wrap
February 10th, 2019

"'Mies Julie' makes a strong case for Strindberg’s enduring relevance — despite a tragically uneven production under Shariffa Ali’s direction...One shortcoming of Farber’s 75-minute, intermissionless staging is that doesn’t allow either the cast or theatergoers a break to absorb the shifting power dynamics between the central couple...But her approach breathes new life into a story whose conflicts and power dynamics can seem anachronistic and even dated."
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I
February 10th, 2019

"Searingly and forcefully acted by her quartet of fearless actors, particularly her lustful pair of young star-crossed lovers. Although the play runs only 75-minutes, I was on the edge of my seat throughout was left breathless by the play’s combustible conclusion."
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T
February 14th, 2019

"In this brilliant and disturbing reimaging of Strindberg’s play, Farber sets the action in 21st century South Africa...Here, the violent romance between Mies Julie, and John reflect the country’s ongoing issues of race and class...Visually arresting, the actors are each incredible looking, and their chemistry is explosive...That director Shariffa Ali achieves both the political and psychological realities with equal force, creates this most effecting production."
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Stage and Cinema
February 10th, 2019

"Farber uses Strindberg’s framework to elegantly probe the psychological wounds of post-apartheid South Africa, and the characters don’t pull any punches in their attempts to get under each others’ skin...Adaptation is a tricky art, and the script does occasionally slip into overly obvious statements of its themes. However, for the most part, 'Mies Julie' is able to evoke and heighten the spirit of the original into a forbidding, startling night of theater."
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