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Natural Shocks

From 8 critic and 24 member reviews
Members say: Relevant, Disappointing, Slow, Cliched, Thought-provoking

About the show

The WP Theater presents this darkly comic solo show, in which an unnamed woman is forced into her basement when she finds herself in the path of a tornado. Obie Award winner Pascale Armand. More…

Trapped there, she spills over into confession, regret, long-held secrets, and giddy new love. But as the storm approaches, she becomes less and less sure where safety lies — and how best to defy the danger that awaits. "Natural Shocks" marks the New York return of Lauren Gunderson, the most produced female playwright in America today.



80
Front Row Center

"For all my admiration for what the play has done, what it is actually about and the attention that it has brought to this grave subject, this is a very serious and heavy topic that a full production of the play gives short shrift in order to hold on to the element of surprise at the very end. The strong message of the play does not build with any real suspense until the end when the true figurativeness of the tornado approaching is fully revealed." Full Review

70
TheaterScene.net

"Played by Pascale Armand, known for her Tony nominated Performance in 'Eclipsed,' Angela is the heroine of Lauren Gunderson's new one-woman play, 'Natural Shocks,' being given its world premiere by the Women's Project at the WP Theater. The play has previously been given over 100 staged readings in 45 states over a period of two months. As much as one wants to admire this tour de force for an accomplished actress, in its current form the play has several problems." Full Review

70
DC Metro Theater Arts

"Gunderson walks the very thin line between a statistical call to action and victim blaming, in our country’s dead-serious epidemics of domestic abuse and gun violence...Armand’s performance transitions from the chatty energy of a woman determined to find shelter, to her increasing fear and panic...Gunderson’s 'Natural Shocks' raises important points about the need to take action in times of crises." Full Review

65
Stage Left

“The play demonstrates an idea, the sad privacy of domestic violence and the horror of its public cost, but because of that big, late reveal, most of the time is spent weaving a somewhat plodding story of seeming non sequitur...Armand is engaging, but the format of the play becomes tedious...and ultimately reveals little about its subject matter beyond the sheer act of its dramatization...The writing is nonetheless taut and lively, and evinces great skill.” Full Review

45
Exeunt Magazine

“The character Armand is given to play doesn’t make any sense, because Gunderson is withholding everything significant about her and her story almost the entire time; it’s no wonder she sometimes seemed to lose her place. There are all kinds of ways to build suspense, to twist plots and lay clues for an audience to put together later. But there’s a line where impressive sleight of hand tips over into outright betrayal of the audience’s faith—and 'Natural Shocks' crosses it." Full Review

40
Lighting & Sound America

“Overall, the first half of ‘Natural Shocks’ doesn't provide enough detail for Angela to come across as a flesh-and-blood woman; instead, the script repeatedly harps on the same few points...The production design is the best thing about the evening...I won't reveal the outcome of ‘Natural Shocks’ except to note that it is thoroughly dispiriting, leaving one with the feeling of being lectured about a social problem for which there can be no real debate." Full Review

40
The New York Times

“An issue play that wants to be socially meaningful, with a would-be shocking ending...If its storytelling worked, ‘Natural Shocks’ would land potently on multiple levels. Yet this show, directed by May Adrales...contains vast stretches of tedium...And its construction is awfully rickety...The perverse narrative function of the menace stalking Angela is to swoop in like a deus ex machina, attempting in vain to rescue the play.” Full Review

35
The Wall Street Journal

"An all-too-predictable 70-minute monologue by a battered wife whose husband collects guns...An example of what I call the theater of concurrence, whose practitioners take for granted that their audiences agree with them about everything and thus assert instead of arguing In addition to shedding no light on the complex problem of gun violence, 'Natural Shocks' is soporifically undramatic...Few things are more tedious than a plotless, preachy one-person play." Full Review


80
Interesting quirky intense dark 1-woman performance, Great set-design / strong lighting & sound-effects, Clever set-up / predictable arc / shocking resolve, Important / relevant / thought-provoking / humorous

See it if you like supporting important theater companies (WPT produces works of women & trans artists). Very relevant, important subject-matter here.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy one-person​ 4th-wall breakage story-telling, or productions having anything to do w/physical, emotional abuse, or violence.

Also If you're looking for speed...... Read more Read less

74
Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You like a one-woman show and you are prepared for an intense hour.

Don't see it if You are looking for simple entertainment--this is definitely not that. There is humor, but not an ounce of fluff.

72
Edgy, Well acted, Solo performance, Unrealistic

See it if you care more about the acting than the content.

Don't see it if you do not like plays with only one performer. The dark central topic should have been tackled directly, not obtusely.

65
Intense, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if see more

Don't see it if see more

Also we caught the last performance and enough has been said about the work... Read more Read less

62
Banal, Disappointing, Cliched, Insipid, Dishonest

See it if you follow playwright Gunderson, like 1-person shows & are patient with ridiculous melodrama on a current topic, are ok with lying narrator

Don't see it if don't like 1-person shows & little action, perverse foreshadowing, hate lying characters in service to a social causes, strained situations

Also Exasperating evening, nothing turns out to be true, meant to hit the a... Read more Read less

61
Intelligent, Intense, Disappointing, Slow, Too talky

See it if you want to see a one woman show where she works very hard to entertain.

Don't see it if you want to see a well produced and directed show where you can identify with and care about the actor.

Also I felt that the timing was off in this play. With different timing and... Read more Read less

55
Boring, Relevant, Banal, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you like 1 person shows about women's issues, philosophizing, a bit of humor and a person trying to cope with life's problems.

Don't see it if you favor 1 person plays that deal in depth with the character's problems, provide perceptive insights and maintain interest.

55
Relevant, Disappointing, Cliched, Great staging, Deceptive

See it if u want support the mission of WP (to promote women's theatre) even w/mediocre material about a woman riding out a literal & figurative storm

Don't see it if you want to avoid a miscast, contrived solo play [Armand's a good actress, but out of her element here]; you expect a potent #metoo play.

52
Indulgent, Cliched, Overrated

See it if You want to see an engaging performer tick all the hot topic boxes: diversity, domestic violence, guns, mass shootings, gay affair.

Don't see it if You want theatre that makes you think, questions preconceived beliefs rather than reinforcing what you already agree with.

30
Excruciating

See it if You have no interest in a play being believable. Nothing about this was authentic. The polite applause at the end was damning.

Don't see it if You value your time, and are not in need of a nap. The writing is abysmal, but better acting would have made it more acceptable.

8
Confusing, Excruciating, Slow

See it if you want to observe a Freudian therapy session of a highly delusional woman

Don't see it if you hope to care about and/or believe the only character.

Also I would like to be able to offer a set of "fixes", but this is a profo... Read more Read less

50
Disappointing, Cliched, Overrated

See it if You like looking at a great set design because that was the best thing about this play.

Don't see it if You don’t like one person shows.

Also To be fair I saw a PREVIEW and I went in knowing nothing. HOWEVER...Wh... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Great writing, Smart

See it if a compelling, brave, intimate solo performance appeals. Pace varies, but always w/ emotional payoff. Arnaud is commanding & someone to watch

Don't see it if can't muster focused attention or patience in snug venue—soft snoring in 2d row. This is a nonlinear, winding story w/ a slow burn @ 80 min.

75
During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Well acted, Cleverly constructed

See it if A strong solo performance running through all emotions & packing quite a punch. What may seem like rambling isn’t..

Don't see it if A play that unfolds slowly, bit by bit, & is a solo performance is not your taste.

75
During previews
Clever, Confusing, Cliched

See it if You want to see a one woman 75 minute show that is uneven but packs a punch at the end..I didn't see that coming ending...

Don't see it if You don't have the patience for a one woman show..

75
During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Interesting, Entertaining

See it if very well acted. Relevant themes explored on the 2nd half. Timed just right at 70 min.

Don't see it if you don't like one-person​ shows.

Also 1st half was interesting "to me" because I'm the kind who surfs Wikipe... Read more Read less

73
During previews
Interesting, Heavy, Rambling, Solid performance

See it if A solid one woman show with an impressive performance. A bit heavy and rambling at times. 1st preview so moments where that was apparent.

Don't see it if You can’t hang for a longer one person show. You prefer lighter fare.

72
During previews
Relevant, Slow, Well acted, Well written

See it if A well constructed one person play. Story takes some unexpected turns.

Don't see it if You dislike solo shows. Parts of it are a bit slow but it held my interest for the most part.

70
During previews
Relevant

See it if Well-acted, held interest, but the you'll most likely figure the "reveal" before it's revealed. Fortunately it's short.

Don't see it if you don't like one actor shows or are looking for something unique.

70
During previews
Important, Uneven, Padded, Affecting, Solo

See it if you’d like to see an uneven but ultimately powerful solo show that grapples with the issue of partner violence.

Don't see it if you don’t like solo shows: Until the gripping climax, this piece suffers from many of the problems most common to plays with a single actor.

Also I am glad I saw “Natural Shocks,” for its gripping final stretch & for... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Absorbing, Edgy, Relevant, Disappointing, Slow

See it if A figurative and literal storm forces a victim to seek refuge. A disarmingly light touch of a serious topic of violence against women.

Don't see it if This message comedy doesn't build suspensefully enough to the reveal. A reading was staged last spring with a more adept performer.

52
During previews
Painful writing & troubled performance, Not up to wpt standard

See it if You are so interested in tracking playwrights or women centered theater that you can suffer thru mediocre-poor writing

Don't see it if Just don't for Pascale Armand's sake. Wait to see her with better material. She is normally very affecting but she cannot rescue this script

Also I learned from the description on WPT's website that Gunderson is curr... Read more Read less

51
During previews
Timely, Disjointed, Heavy-handed

See it if you enjoy podcasts.

Don't see it if you're looking for a taut drama.

29
During previews
Maybe written for adolescent audience?

See it if You want to practice your eye-rolling. Couldn't help myself - rolled my eyes more than once over the simplistic, schmaltzy writing.

Don't see it if Where to begin?Dumbed down,unfunny monologue.Very superficial treatment of serious subject.Worst theatrical metaphor ever.Acting didn't help


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Cast & Creatives (4)