Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company presents a revival of Naomi Wallace's drama about enduring a quarantine in plague-ravaged 17th-century London. More…
A wealthy couple is preparing to flee their home when a mysterious sailor and a young girl sneak into their boarded-up house. Now, quarantined together for 28 days, the only thing these strangers fear more than the plague is each other. Definitions of morality are up for grabs and survival takes many forms in this fiercely intense and darkly comic play.
"Ably directed by Caitlin McLeod in an exceptionally rendered production...The script’s incredible word-craft lures us with grotesque, highly imagistic descriptions. Each of the characters speaks poetic descriptions and all of the actors master this poetry and song with rhythmic cadences that grip the audience and make us focus on the beauty of the language...What a heavenly, brilliant production of a great play." Full Review
"Director Caitlin McLeod scales down the sensations of an epic play to the intimacy of the black box of the Sheen Center beautifully...The approach of making eye contact with the audience, especially executed by Bonner and cast member Remy Zaken, connects and communicates the text directly in a palpable and powerful way...'One Flea Spare' is truly a masterpiece. Every element of the production exhibits unspoiled harmony." Full Review
"'One Flea Spare' is immediately brought to life in a space that, though bare and understated, nevertheless creates the perfect atmosphere in which the play's scenes can unfold...In fact, while the cast and the staging and the direction of the show undoubtedly create a well-crafted experience, it is the writing that stays with you after the show ends. The characters speak with a somber poetry that recognizes beauty and horror, darkness and light as by the same token." Full Review
"This is a very spare production...but one that is made incredibly compelling through exceptional performances and tight, complex writing...By stripping away all the distractions, the performances create an intimacy with the audience that is electric. Dialogue is the major star of this production, but excellent actors can elevate even the most thoughtfully written words to otherworldly places...This is a story the will stick with the viewer long after experiencing it." Full Review
"The script surges with both beautifully poetic monologues and starkly blunt observations about death. Director Caitlin McLeod creates gripping scenes, smartly playing with levels of physicality in order to emphasize the games of power that the characters engage in together...The cast tends to make piercing, declaratory choices for important moments. However, they also find clever smaller moments to imbue their somewhat archetypal characters with humanity." Full Review
"Playwright Naomi Wallace is here intriguing and poetic. Historical description is trenchant. 'One Flea Spare' contains deep sensuality, volatile sex (not actually seen) and palpable seduction, all heightened by the nearness of death...Background stories are rich, relationships fascinating, characters well drawn. A horrible end works well...Except for the affected Gordon Joseph Weiss who acts as if he’s the only one onstage, the company is strong and cohesive." Full Review
"Two relentless hours of powerful, if markedly cerebral, dialogue, with a number of narrative surprises...McLeod has staged the play with a great deal of dance-like movement that complements the musicality of Wallace’s text and depicts the play’s eroticism and violence vividly but with a certain delicacy. Despite occasional lapses in dialect, the five actors handle the lyrical qualities of the playwright’s lines and speeches effectively and function throughout as a balanced ensemble." Full Review
"Wallace’s four main characters are savagely portrayed by the actors...It’s a challenging play for the director, the actors, and especially the audience...There’s no proverbial 'hero' in 'One Flea Spare.' However, if one of the missions of theater is to provoke, 'One Flea Spare' goes above and beyond. The story takes place in 1665, but the themes are eerily relevant 351 years later." Full Review
"This 20th anniversary NYC revival of 'One Flea Spare' is a handsome mounting indeed...Ms. Wallace’s tale is nimbly staged and directed by Caitlin McLeod...This tight ensemble delivers a challenging two hour discourse on class, manners, survival, compassion, and love in times of plague, both within and without. The play is well worth the time to examine from another perspective whatever plagues us in these times." Full Review
"Wallace's cerebral, muscular language can make the story hard to follow at times. But the words have a lyrical quality that one can enjoy even while being confused. The language is a kind of music to one's ears. Under director McCleod's astute direction, the characters rise, repose and kneel, creating variety in their movement, so that the proceedings never feel static for too long...The performers, and the playwright's lyrical language, are worth the price of admission." Full Review
"Zaken maintains a remarkable, if manic, charm throughout. She is the flashpoint for much of the action and we rely on her Puckish energy to keep things moving...This was a tedious evening in the dark. It’s not so much that anything’s wrong as that it’s preternaturally grim. When the lights came down and up at the end of the first act my thought was: 'Thank you, Jesus! It’s over.' But it wasn’t." Full Review
See it if If one of the missions of theater is to provoke, the play goes above and beyond. The themes are still relevant over three centuries later.
Don't see it if It's a challenging play for the audience. You may have guessed by the setting that there's little chance for a happy ending.
See it if you like apocalyptic settings. Not a date show. Clever Act I, but predictable Act II. Earlier curtain mid week would have been convenient.
Don't see it if Accents technically fine but distracting. Theater in the round seating is much too ambitious given audience demand for show, thus abandoned.
See it if you appreciate original altho' traditional writing, where the action is in the words, performed in an intimate square by very talented actor
Don't see it if you are bored by limited action on stage or wordy plays set in historical times. Or stagings in the square and facing actors backs at times
See it if for masterful acting with beautifully written dialogue that heightens the human condition and power plays between classes and age.
Don't see it if If you don't want to see a deep, dark, devastating play.
See it if The plague was not dark and twisted enough. The perversion which results from one's environment cannot be so easily and pleasantly avoided.
Don't see it if English accents aren't your thing.
See it if enjoy great acting and a show staged in a square. All seats are close to the stage.
Don't see it if don't like shows set hundreds of years ago. (takes place in 17th century England).
See it if You crave a true theatrical experience. Fine acting, dramatic yet humorous in depicting the foibles of humans facing real fears. Serious fun
Don't see it if Don't bring your children. The plague and power/sexual politics were inappropriate for the 10-year-old seated next to me. Strong stuff
See it if You're interested in people of different worlds being stuck together, complete with mayhem, death, and the black plague!
Don't see it if You prefer something more Broadway-esque to theatre in the round.
See it if you're a fan of Naomi Wallace (first revival in 20 years of this play), inventive staging and great acting.
Don't see it if you don't like intimate theater spaces and are squeamish about bodily functions!
See it if you want a dark show with major "period" comedic highlights, or a morose, surprising story, with a great set, staging, and beautiful script.
Don't see it if you have a hard time understanding English accents, you are not interested in stories from this time period, you want something more upbeat
See it if you're comfie with quirky but poignant tale & passionate acting, modest set, intimate space--in round, among tiny audience (24 when I went).
Don't see it if you need fleshed-out set and traditional stage & staging, an upbeat & contemporary story, passive experience, ample distance from action.
See it if You enjoy fantastic, almost poetic dialogue between interesting and peculiar characters, based in a historical setting. An excellent cast!
Don't see it if You do not enjoy strong story-lines and distinctive characters.
See it if the 20th anniversary revival of this award-winning play is directed with care, intelligence and inventiveness. Wallace's writing provokes
Don't see it if if you are not interested in ambitious, provocative theatre
See it if You want to see a play that draws its considerable power from the time it sprung from-both the 1600s and the 1990s.
Don't see it if If you need your theatrical evening to fully declare itself in under 90 minutes and to avoid lyrical flights.
See it if You want to see a play with great acting, some historical references, and enjoy a period type of piece.
Don't see it if You want to be strictly entertained. This requires some thought and insight to "get it."
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