Fuzzy n3
New York | Ends Dec 30

Noura

From 27 critic and 60 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

About the show

Playwrights Horizons' new drama about an Iraqi-American charts the intricate pathways of motherhood and marriage — and the fragile architecture of what we call home. Based on Ibsen's "A Doll's House." More…

Eight years ago, Noura and her family fled their home in Iraq. Today, she plans the perfect Christmas dinner to celebrate their new life in New York. But when the arrival of a visitor stirs up long-buried memories, she and her husband are forced to confront the cost of their choices, and retrace the past they left behind.



85
Theatre is Easy

“An enchanting and poetic new play about Iraqi refugees...The smart and stimulating dilemmas...kept my mind racing long after the play ended...Tropes and themes in Raffo’s play clearly echo Ibsen’s masterpiece. The comparison takes nothing away from Raffo’s originality, but suggests the heritage of the theatre as a lens through which to view this intelligent new play....Raffo’s script is a hopeful and optimistic take that flits and floats like a holiday miracle.” Full Review

75
CurtainUp

"Raffo and the four other actors deftly navigate the complexities that shape how they see their lives and relationships with each other. However, with so many issues to unspool in such a short time, their interactions at times short change emotionally engaging dramatics for debate-like discussions...The chance to become acquainted with people most of us know little about, the strong performances and intriguing stagecraft make this play's payoff greater than its shortcomings." Full Review

75
Front Row Center

“It would be a cheap shot to say ‘Noura’ is just a contemporary version of ‘A Doll’s House’, with an Iraqi-refugee wash. But, it gets us in the ballpark. There are many intriguing parallels, but Raffo’s ‘Noura’ borrows judiciously and enriches profoundly. It has the immediacy of a news flash and the overlay of brutal, desperate flight...’Noura’ is philosophically intriguing but needs more in the emotional-impact department to satisfy.” Full Review

75
New York Stage Review

"'Noura' is no Ibsen retread; it’s very much Raffo’s own—an intriguing exploration of marriage, motherhood, heritage, and community that lingers long after its 90-minute conclusion...There’s a bit of a wall around 'Noura,' much like the title character herself. Raffo is a dynamic writer and performer, but she can be prone to speechifying." Full Review

75
Broad Street Review

“The play isn’t perfect — the plot occasionally takes predictable, soapy turns...Pacing remains breakneck, which doesn’t always allow the actors to realize a moment for its full effect. And although ‘Noura’ is essentially a realist drama, the staging includes several visual aspects that suggest spectacle for its own sake. In spite of its minor flaws, ‘Noura’ tells a story that deserves to be heard. Raffo shows how a contemporary writer can dialogue with a work of the past." Full Review

71
Front Mezz Junkies

"There’s a very powerful story hidden deep inside branches of the Christmas tree center stage in the fascinating and relevant new play...Numerous moments are lost or forgotten, and plot-lines squandered...'Noura' feels like a series of talking points about someone’s disturbing but disjointed journey from there to here, that never really gets inside us. It’s worth the wait though, in the end, for that last powerful unwrapping." Full Review

70
Theatermania

"Now receiving a darkly evocative production from director Joanna Settle, the occasionally too-wordy drama is likely to leave audiences with deeply unsettled feelings about everything...In both her writing and performance, Raffo harnesses the expressive power of the unsaid. Unfortunately, certain choices undermine that enthralling silence...A messier play than 'A Doll's House,' but in many ways, it's a more honest one. Full Review

70
The New York Times

"Compelling and ambitious but also, under Joanna Settle’s direction, a bit blurry. With so much going on inside the title character, much of it contradictory, the audience may feel, along with her family, flummoxed by her whipsawing...Settle’s production is long on mood, short on clarity. Yet many moments are perfectly clear and stirringly powerful..It’s good that the best parts of 'Noura' aren’t easy. But a central performance as deep as Raffo’s can eventually become inaccessible." Full Review

70
Times Square Chronicles

"Brilliantly shows how individuals have escaped their homelands and immigrated to America for opportunity...In the end the plot points were searing, but the play gets lost in its own lack of identity. Settle’s direction is a kaleidoscope of colors, but she loses her battle in understanding Noura or to even have sympathy for her...The cast all gives stellar performances and I think Raffo is a better actress than playwright, except we need to have sympathy for Noura and in the end we have lost ... Full Review

70
Gotham Playgoer

"There are many important issues raised — the difficulties faced by immigrants, conflicting feelings about honoring a past that is forever gone while adjusting to a new life, dealing with nightmare memories of war, finding a balance between community and individualism, and facing the corrosive effects of tribalism, both in Iraq and in the U.S. Some of these are better worked into the fabric of the play than others. I am sorry that the author felt the need to add some melodrama to the mix." Full Review

65
Theatre's Leiter Side

"A sensitive but only passably successful work…Raffo's dialogue is sometimes straightforward and natural, sometimes elusively vague and pseudo-poetic. While there are moments of insight and human warmth, too many others feel contrived and artificial…Raffo leads a company of excellent actors…But 'Noura''s significance resides mainly in its presentation of well-trodden but powerful tropes…embedded within a world that, for all its initial unfamiliarity, turns out to be pretty familiar after all." Full Review

65
Time Out New York

"The first half-hour of Raffo’s family drama 'Noura' is lovely...Raffo is at her best when she’s in this preparatory phase... When the actual plot kicks in, 'Noura' becomes both predictable and, whenever Raffo gives herself a speech, strangely overwritten...Raffo has taken inspiration from Ibsen’s 'A Doll’s House,' itself indebted to the 19th century's 'well-made play' clichés. Raffo gets caught up in that machinery, and those heavy old gears grind even her very fine characterizations into du... Full Review

65
CitiTour

"Raffo, who also turns in a powerful performance as Noura, has a lot she wants to tell us: about the experience of being an Iraqi refugee in America; handling the challenges of forging one's personal and political identity; finding the balance between family - especially motherhood - and individual fulfillment, and, above all, satisfying the almost impossible need to both hold on and let go of the past." Full Review

65
Theater Pizzazz

"Director Joanna Settle, who has teamed with Raffo before, clearly understands the play and its heroine, but she can’t quite put it over the top. Inspired by Ibsen’s 'A Doll’s House' but possessing a personality very much its own, 'Noura' deals with important personal themes for its main character and the playwright. These issues are largely internal, making them challenging to dramatize, and Raffo only partly meets the challenge." Full Review

60
Lighting & Sound America

“’Noura’ has a timely and fascinating subject in the psychological and spiritual challenges of Iraqi refugees making new lives in America, but...Raffo overeggs the Christmas pudding larding her plot with so many revelations that her drama teeters on the edge of collapse...One shocker follows another at regular intervals...There's a lot going on in ‘Noura’, but to muted effect. Too bad -- there's a gripping story here, waiting to be told.” Full Review

60
Talkin' Broadway

"When we leave, we reflect that what we've just seen registers more as mood than drama. It's been given a loving production...There are some real issues raised, and some good speeches...Raffo's unvarying delivery aside, the actors are fine...'Noura' provides welcome disclosure into unfamiliar perspectives, but it's a long, static hour and a half...Provocative topics, but in 'Noura,' they come through only fitfully." Full Review

60
Show Showdown

“I expected to like ‘Noura’...I knew it was about a Christian Iraqi family living in the US, which I found intriguing, and that it delves into assimilation and loss, individualism versus community, and lies and secrets, topics that are endlessly delve-able. In addition, it riffs on ‘A Doll's House’...As the play unfolded, I found I had questions...’What is this play about, anyway?’ ‘And why should I care?’...There may be more to it than I perceived." Full Review

45
TheaterScene.net

“The contemporary immigrant experience is explored in the heartfelt, didactic and inert family drama, ‘Noura’...Raffo’s characters, themes and situations tenuously recall Ibsen but without his monumental command of drama. Most woeful is the clunky surprise ending. Non-realistic asides and a stylized presentation compound the play’s defects...Without a defined plot, it plays out as a limp multi-character study...'Noura’s’ nobility just isn’t matched by its stilted writing." Full Review

90
TheatreBloom

for a previous production "Raffo has brought Ibsen’s work to new life...Her script bounces back and forth like a game of tennis between humor and strained arguments...Raffo does a beautiful job of weaving in nods to Ibsen’s work...It is moments like these that will delight fans of the original source material...This play will absolutely without a doubt make you feel uncomfortable. However, that is no reason to shy away from it. The story is worth seeing and in many ways needed to be seen." Full Review

85
The Washington Post

for a previous production "Raffo’s restless, unpredictable riff on Henrik Ibsen’s 'A Doll’s House' and modern Iraq, of all things, shapes up as this festival’s best bet...Settle’s grand, simple staging at the Lansburgh Theatre and Raffo’s impassioned central performance command attention...The finish is torrential, and the portrait of a woman torn between cultures and family members is nearly searing...The slow crescendo and deep repercussions of 'Noura' make it the festival’s most ambitious and substantial premiere." Full Review

80
Talkin' Broadway

for a previous production "Provides a window into a world that is unfamiliar to most audiences...The two women's impassioned performances anchor the production, while Brumberg has a sweet natural presence. Andrew Lieberman's scenic design adds to the dreamlike feeling of the production...Masha Tsimring's lighting design and Obadiah Eaves' sound design add to the sense of unease that underlies the characters' search for a safe place to live." Full Review

80
Theatermania

for a previous production "Raffo is brilliant in the title role and brings a great deal of subtle charm to the part of the intelligent, somewhat rebellious Noura...Settle keeps the humor of the play as present as its intellectual content...Raffo's story incisively mines complicated relationships between men and women, cultures, and personal beliefs. The heart of 'A Doll's House' is cleverly and closely woven into 'Noura,' resulting in an excellent play about immigration, assimilation, and identity." Full Review

75
BroadwayWorld

for a previous production "While Raffo proves adept at weaving all of these complex elements of identity into her story...the script does have one or two weaknesses. At only ninety minutes, it takes a bit too long to get going dramatically although the wait is, to some extent, worth the payoff...Strong direction by Joanna Settle, a mostly strong cast, and wonderful production elements allow the audience to get the most out of the theatergoing experience." Full Review

70
DC Metro Theater Arts

for a previous production "A magnificent production. The acting is first-rate, the technical aspects flawless, the whole experience complex and full of deep meaning...Yet for me, some aspects of it were unsatisfying...As Noura's secrets begin to be revealed, the plot begins to seem forced and less credible...The end, when it comes, is abrupt and doesn’t seem realistic...As much as I tried to, I could not believe in her tragic past or her broken heart. But don’t take my word for it. Enjoy the play and decide for yourse... Full Review

65
DC Theatre Scene

for a previous production "What is so frustrating is that every part of the play works, but fully assembled, it is at war with itself...Notwithstanding Joanna Settle’s canny direction, and fine performances by the cast, it does not hang together. The characters are authentic, the dialogue is authentic, the stories are authentic, but there is no through line, and the play’s dénouement seems like just another left turn in the narrative, rather than a satisfying catharsis." Full Review


68
Confusing, Cliched, Bad writing

See it if you really want to see something about Iraqi refugees and their identity crisis after living the US for sometime

Don't see it if you want to see good directing and writing. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Also I was excited about the show, the topic is interesting and relevant. I... Read more Read less

66
Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Good acting, Speechifying

See it if u want to see a modern A Doll's House, where many issues are raised about immigration, motherhood & marital obligations... with few answers.

Don't see it if you expect a true Ibsen redux [This is a pale adaptation/inspiration]; you don't have the stomach for heavy-handed diatribes & speeches.

65
Confusing, Cold

See it if you like disposable drama.

Don't see it if you're expecting parallels with Ibsen's "A Doll's House" as intimated.

Also When I looked at the remarkable set before the show began, I was struc... Read more Read less

93
Ambitious, Intense, Riveting

See it if You want to witness brilliant acting and painstakingly real truths about the experience of some Iraqi immigrants.

Don't see it if You desire a strong plot arc and a clear through-line.

100
During previews
Absorbing, Enchanting, Exquisite, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you like thoughtful, complex dramas, that have as much to teach about social issues as it does about the human heart

Don't see it if if you have a short attention span: the big pay-offs come late in the drama, though there are some great surprises throughout the play ...

95
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you like to explore experiences and feelings (traditions, struggles, joys, memories) of Iraqi (and other) migrant families in the US.

Don't see it if you are not interested in Middle Eastern culture or the experience and thoughts of new migrants in the US.

Also I was totally absorbed by this play and really loved it! One of the pl... Read more Read less

91
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you care about the lives of immigrant families, especially those of different backgrounds, particularly Muslim/Iraqi families.

Don't see it if you read the National Enquirer for information and live in la-la land.

91
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Enlightening

See it if You’d like to see (what feels like) an accurate depiction of an Iraqi immigrant familie’s struggle to assimilate into American life.

Don't see it if You don’t like character driven plays that depend largely on their excellent acting and well written dialogue.

Also Even though there is not a lot of action in this play, I found it rive... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if you want to see a really intelligent take on complicated theme. You appreciate a cool new spin on A Doll's House.

Don't see it if You don't like talk and taking the time for a multifaceted look at a familiar issue. ... you want clear, cut and dried solutions.

Also One of the most intelligent pieces of theater I've seen in a while. I ... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Great acting, Relevant and contemporary, Complex and layered, Intelligent, thoughtful writing

See it if Named for the protagonist of Ibsen’s Doll House, Noura champions a woman’s right of self-determination in today’s male dominated society.

Don't see it if You do not believe a recent immigrant’s experience can be relevant for those who have been here longer.

Also Like Doll’s House, Noura is set during the Christmas season, the husba... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Relevant

See it if You desire to see thought provoking plays with themes of immigration and family values

Don't see it if You dislike plays which are somewhat depressing

89
During previews
Inconsistent, Informative, Affecting, Beautifully played, Generous

See it if you'd like to spend an evening with a group of flawed, lovable human beings struggling to articulate themselves after they've lost a culture

Don't see it if you demand total consistency in a play's characters: these are at least as contradictory as you'll find in real life.

Also I saw a workshop production of “Noura” a few years ago, liked it then ... Read more Read less

88
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Resonant

See it if a very intense story about family, motherhood, cultural identity, heritage and the immigrant experience

Don't see it if this play is very emotionally intense. it also deals very frankly with the intersections of tradition, morality and expediency of real life.

87
During previews
Absorbing, Intense, Must see, Don't miss this author & please forgive the numerous monologues

See it if You enjoy contemporary & serious explorations of culture, migration, gender expectations

Don't see it if You want something light or if you are uninterested in multi-cultural themes

Also I absolutely loved this play and the mess of contradictory emotions ex... Read more Read less

85
During previews
Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like interesting, intelligent theatre

Don't see it if are expecting a light evening

Also When I watch theatre I am usually "in the moment". I don't think ahead... Read more Read less

84
During previews
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if About a family struggle into life in America. The pain of the past and present of losing your Country and part of yourself.

Don't see it if Not alot of action, not a musical.

Also Plus - A women struggle with the pass that is always just behind her o... Read more Read less

83
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound, Relevant

See it if You are interested in the life of exiles trying to assimilate into the American lifestyle. Iraqi Christians and Muslims generational drama

Don't see it if You have trouble with accents. You have no compassion for immigrants who hang on to traditions , fitting them into a new lifestyle.

Also This is a realistic story that spans multiple generations and religion... Read more Read less

83
During previews
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if Assimilated Iraqi refugees question cost of exile when adult orphan arrives to celebrate their naturalisation. Actor/playwright on mission.

Don't see it if Heavy-handed metaphor of orphan w/o parents and Noura (Nora from Ibsen) losing country and self: "I don't know how to hang on and let go."

82
During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if . A family drama with conflicts of religion, traditions and how our past shapes our future

Don't see it if You do not enjoy thought provoking dramas

82
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you are interested in current events and immigrant stories.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in something heavy and verbose.

82
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you're interested in an immigrant family's tumultuous struggles and triumphs in starting a new life in America.

Don't see it if you're not open-minded and want to listen/learn about an immigrant's story.

Also I really liked this play. This story is universal to everyone (not jus... Read more Read less

81
During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you care about the plight of those who immigrate to this country, not because they want to leave home, but because they must.

Don't see it if you are not interesting in issues of immigration and prefer a musical comedy.

Also And about the splintering of family ties.... Read more Read less

81
During previews
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Great set

See it if You like plays that address contemporary issues in a thoughtful way.

Don't see it if You cannot forgive some inexplicable changes in certain characters’ behavior.

80
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy dramatic plays about family and also have a compassion and interest in immigrant stories.

Don't see it if You can't empathize with the plights of immigrants and want something fun and easy.

Also This is a complex and beautiful play that really left me with an impac... Read more Read less

79
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Profound

See it if A powerful look at Iraqi immigrants. Intense. Terrific acting.

Don't see it if You are unsympathetic to the plight of newcomers to America.


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Cast & Creatives (12)