Office Hour
Closed 1h 30m
Office Hour
74

Office Hour NYC Reviews and Tickets

74%
(124 Reviews)
Positive
71%
Mixed
27%
Negative
2%
Members say
Intense, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

About the Show

Playwright Julia Cho ('The Language Archive') returns to the Public with the New York premiere of this taut drama about a teacher and student desperate to change the narrative of who they are and how their story ends.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (124)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
79
Intense, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Powerful, Relevant

See it if you seek a tense, eloquent, well-acted take on the timely topic of school shooting that also explores compassion, loneliness & misjudgment.

Don't see it if you expect any concrete conclusions to a complex topic. [The show asks more questions than it answers.]; you're uncomfortable with violence.

84
Absorbing, Edgy, Intense, Relevant, Riveting

See it if You enjoy highly relevant, topical thrillers, especially those that toy with both the audience’s and the characters’ perceptions of reality.

Don't see it if You can’t stand edge-of-your-seat, intense plays where you’re constantly waiting for a gun to go off.

Critic Reviews (25)

The New York Times
November 8th, 2017

“If you remove from the story the threat of violence and its fulfillment, there’s very little story left...Cho tries to finesse this structural problem by introducing a meta-theatrical game of three-card monte...It’s hard to pay attention either way, because so many of the vignettes end in varieties of violence..Technically, the production is extremely skillful — you might even say cunning — at producing that response...But the question remains: effective to what end?”
Read more

Time Out New York
November 8th, 2017

“'Office Hour' is physically difficult to sit through. Part of that reaction is a judgment on its quality...But you may also be experiencing something like a literal fight-or-flight response...Cho’s 'All in the Timing'–style conceit spirals into absurdity, and the audience laughs uncertainly...If this horror were in the service of penetrating insights about school shootings, it might be valuable, even necessary. But ’Office Hour’ doesn’t earn its ending; it has nothing to teach."
Read more

New York Magazine / Vulture
November 8th, 2017

“Has moments that feel vital, honest, and valuable. It’s also built around a scenario that I find deeply questionable, perhaps even irresponsible...At its most effective moments, 'Office Hour' is interested not only in the question of gun violence, but in the painful, isolating struggle faced by the children of immigrant parents in this country...The climax overwhelms the rest of the play to a destructive degree. It feels like a cruel trick on an audience who came willing to listen."
Read more

The Hollywood Reporter
November 8th, 2017

“The dialogue too often feels contrived and artificial, designed to make sociological points rather than convey three-dimensional characters...The playwright indulges too often in the sort of narrative fake-outs that are certainly shocking but eventually prove wearisome in their repetitiveness. ‘Office Hour’ is most incisive in its quieter, subtler moments...May not tell us anything we don't already know...But it certainly makes you feel like you've been in the presence of one.”
Read more

Variety
November 9th, 2017

"Sue Jean Kim gives a remarkably controlled performance...Cho is a confident writer, Gina is a gutsy character and Kim is a self-possessed performer...Cho’s smart, civilized dialogue occasionally seems tone deaf. Unless director Neel Keller is deliberately playing against the written text and reaching for the subtext."
Read more

Deadline
November 9th, 2017

"Couldn’t be more timely...Cho seems more interested in a conventional teacher-with-a-savior-complex melodrama than a serious exploration of the larger issue, and that’s where 'Office Hour' comes up short...Unfortunately, even as played by the very game Kim, Gina is, to put it kindly, a flibbertigibbet with boundary issues who could probably drive Bambi to violence. The inevitable Armageddon seems both tasteless and dramatically unearned."
Read more

Theatermania
November 8th, 2017

“Disappointingly, ‘Office Hour’ begins to resemble a therapy session...Everyone onstage has a good cry and we tear up a bit from sheer boredom. It feels like an easy way out...We are briefly jolted to attention by a sequence of rapid-fire scenes imagining all the horrible ways a shooting could happen...Then something incredible happens: We get used to it...Whether by design or not, our reaction to what should be a traumatizing scene is the most disturbing revelation of the play."
Read more

BroadwayWorld
November 9th, 2017

"A tense and extremely well thought out play...Both Kim and Lee are excellent. The playwright allows for gradual connections to be made between them...What is so gripping about the play and the production is the ever-present fear of horrific violence that permeates the space, even as sympathy grows for Dennis...Cho effectively calls for compassion and outreach from a society that commonly creates violent loners out of troubled children."
Read more

Lighting & Sound America
November 9th, 2017

"More suspenseful than any thriller, but Cho isn't after easy shocks; she wants us to think, long and hard, about why such terrible incidents happen...One of the playwright's smarter decisions is to make Gina of Asian heritage, as well, giving her some insight into him and saving 'Office Hour' from any white-savior narratives...A remarkable duet, performed with unyielding commitment as it builds to a furious emotional pitch."
Read more

Talkin' Broadway
November 8th, 2017

“’Office Hour,’ directed with simmering tension by Keller, has the power to unnerve and infuriate as it exposes a system that by design makes it seemingly impossible to thwart the next attack...Avoids heavy-handed polemics, focusing instead on character relationships...The performances are uniformly strong, and they transcend archetypes. Kim and Lee effectively negotiate the dangerous pas de deux between the compassionate teacher and agitated student."
Read more

TheaterScene.net
November 20th, 2017

“Not only is Julia Cho's ‘Office Hour’ rivetingly acted by Sue Jean Kim and Ki Hong Lee, it is one of the few plays in recent memory to tackle a major social problem and offer an explanation or answer to society's needs. Under Neel Keller's astute direction and the production team's superb physical production, ‘Office Hour’ is both an important play and a compelling event in the theater. You may not agree with Cho's conclusions but you will not be bored for a moment.”
Read more

Theater Pizzazz
November 8th, 2017

"Cho has written a relevant commentary on the new violence erupting in schools and colleges nationwide...These episodes contain lots of silence, more than pregnant pauses, that are off-putting and distracting which, in fact, director Neel Keller obviously didn’t count on...There is a predictability as the story moves along and also some surprises...A reminder of the on-going violence that plagues our society on a daily basis and the cost."
Read more

CurtainUp
November 8th, 2017

“Painfully relevant...’Office Hour’ effectively adds an as yet little explored racial component to the frightening range of dysfunctional people using powerful rifles to vent their frustrations...With both Sue Jean Kim and Ki Hong Lee giving affecting performances...Keller's taut direction, Akerlind's lighting, and Moor's soundscape give Gina's efforts and Dennis's responses a truly scary and dramatically provocative edge that takes it into psychological thriller territory.”
Read more

Front Row Center
November 9th, 2017

"Do we require this to make us sensitive to the mass shootings that are so prevalent today?...'Office Hour' isn’t opening our wound for examination so it can heal, but instead, creating a thicker, tougher callus. Is that necessary?...The performances are all solid...Neel Keller’s delicate direction allows his actors the space to bring these characters and their stories to life."
Read more

Stage Buddy
November 8th, 2017

“An intense and provocative drama...A meditation on gun violence and the perceived power of human connection...Much of ‘Office Hour’ is a two-hander filled with a tension that crackles in the air...Their performances are filled with pain and yearning for human connection...’Office Hour’ makes an interesting case for appealing to a person’s humanity and empathizing...But Cho also shows us that it’s not always easy and straightforward as that."
Read more

Front Mezz Junkies
November 23rd, 2017

“Performed by a most excellent cast...One of the problems with the structure is that a greater sense of Dennis’s disturbance is hard to pin down or deepen. The ideas about power, silence, and the act of making oneself unlikeable are thought-provoking, and definitely keep us sitting on the edge of our seats, but what does it truly add up to in the end? They feel like fragmented concepts rather than a portrait...As a piece of theatre, we hope for a deeper understanding.”
Read more

Exeunt Magazine
November 9th, 2017

"The deepest fears of these characters are physicalized and then wiped clean over and over, and then it happens to the audience. It’s bone-chilling, and, I guess, effective if that’s what it’s supposed to do. It’s also in very bad taste...The play is muddied from the start of the office hour...Dennis leaves the room unchanged...If nothing is different, why does this play exist? The only answer I can land on is the shock value of Cho’s refractions."
Read more

New York Theater
November 8th, 2017

“Cho doesn’t seem to be seriously exploring a terrifying national trend so much as capitalizing on it. She undermines her evident interest in alienation and connection, by creating interaction that too often doesn’t ring true...Had the play not been opening just a few days after yet another record-breaking mass shooting, it would be easier to appreciate Cho’s structurally inventive experiments, or the ethereal moments created by the design team.”
Read more

Theatre's Leiter Side
November 13th, 2017

“If we already know that what we're seeing is going to be subverted by the suggestion that its outcome is only potential, not actual, then the shock dissipates…Cho's writing is sharp enough to keep us listening and watching despite the play's trickiness but, even without the rewind stratagem, both Dennis and Gina become increasingly hard to accept as real people… Mass shootings will continue…whether we pay close attention or not. 'Office Hour' does little to advance the conversation.”
Read more

Gotham Playgoer
November 12th, 2017

"Basically a set of variations on gun violence for no good reason that I could find...The bulk of the play consists of Dennis’s visit to Gina’s office hour, seen it several versions, all of which end badly, with an escalating level of violence. If the playwright’s intention was to show how easily we become desensitized to repetitive violence, she did succeed at that. Unfortunately I thought the main effect of the play was to trivialize an important topic. The actors are fine."
Read more

The Wrap
November 8th, 2017

“Dramatic license should be revoked in Julia Cho’s new trolling-for-victims drama...Kim practically sweats maternal concern, making David Mamet’s professor in 'Oleanna' look like a model of propriety. Switch the sexes of Gina and Dennis and Cho would have a real debate on her hands...Neel Keller directs some extraordinary scenes of imaginary violence that build to one extended fantasy sequence, which falls flat."
Read more

Wolf Entertainment Guide
November 9th, 2017

"I have some quarrel with the way the playwright and director toy with the audience via a series of shocks. But, abetted by a razor-sharp cast, the play is hot stuff...The stakes, both in imagination and in reality, escalate as the play charges forward without intermission, and the whole problem of chilling violence that we see in the daily headlines is conceptually addressed...The playwright, director, and cast confront this head-on with such intensity that one is glued to the stage."
Read more

Village Voice
November 16th, 2017

“For all its focus on gunfire, it doesn’t really deal with school shootings and what makes someone a shooter. It’s more concerned with emotional comprehension and issues of creative expression...The net effect is a play in which two sets of concerns keep displacing each other...It says something for Keller’s production that it’s able to hew to a straight line artistically in the face of all the script’s divagations, and even greater praise goes to Sue Jean Kim."
Read more

T
November 19th, 2017

"Sue Jean Kim delivers a strong portrayal – one that is focused, and truthful...Cho’s cynicism appears to be aimed at the tyranny of political correctness...As directed by Neel Keller, scenes of imagined killing and suicide, merge with the banality of everyday conversation. Tense scenes are repeated, so that we see the potential for different outcomes. The reality feels miserable enough, but the fantasies are lurid, and deathly!"
Read more

W
November 12th, 2017

"As 'Office Hour' progresses, there are more resets that progressively build and become even more unsettling to watch and hear...As the gunshots multiply, it becomes a challenge to sit through. You can turn your head and try not to look, but the sound is all around you. And that’s the point...Cho is saying we all have a responsibility to look and even more, do our part to prevent these attacks from happening. Just how we're to do that, she doesn't say."
Read more

Watch This Next (3)

85
Excellent
111 Reviews
Ends Nov 13
NYC: Midtown W

Deirdre O’Connell lip-syncs to recordings of playwrights Lucas Hnath's mother.

Buy
84
Great
259 Reviews
Open run
Six
NYC: Midtown W

An exuberant, pop celebration of 21st century girl power featuring the wives of Henry VIII.

Buy
81
Great
115 Reviews
Ends Nov 14
NYC: Midtown W

The true story of Reality Winner told through text from the FBI transcript of her interrogation.

Buy