Already closed | 2h 35m | Midtown W

Peace for Mary Frances

From 114 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Slow, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

About the show

Lois Smith stars in the New Group's new wrenching and caustically funny portrait of an American family in crisis. More…

Mary Frances has lived a good life; she's ninety years old and ready to die. Born to refugees fleeing the Armenian genocide, her last wish is to die peacefully at home surrounded by her family. Her dream collides with reality as three generations of explosive women flood her small New England home to battle for their family’s legacy. Mary Frances must navigate the volatile relationships of the children she raised -- or die trying. Lois Smith stars as a tenacious survivor, struggling to break the bonds that tie her to this life. 

Member Reviews (114)


Great acting, Slow, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Absorbing
Avg Score

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Powerful, Emotional

See it if Powerful, raw, real exploration of the end-of-life of a 90-yr old woman & the complicated, sad & messy dynamics of her caretaking children.

Don't see it if Saw 1st preview; needs trimming. If you have experienced aging parent/hospice issues, you will find it real & very emotional to watch.

Also This play packs an emotional wallop to anyone who has been through thi... Read more Read less

During previews
Depressing, long, Slow, Ok

See it if you want to see a play about fighting siblings assigned to watch their mother's home hospice & all their dirty laundry aired out to us.

Don't see it if you don't want to see the ugliness of a family waiting for a parent to die, & all the jealousies & hate coming out among them over her care.

During previews
Great acting, Ambitious, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see some terrific acting in a vivid presentation of end-of-life issues. And Lois Smith is wonderful, as always.

Don't see it if you're looking for a believable depiction with sympathetic characters. Too long, too many confrontational scenes.

During previews
Great acting, Relevant, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if See great acting that everyone can probably relate too. And from a first-time playwright which makes one feel in on a great career ahead.

Don't see it if Tough to take as it makes one think of one's own mortality and family dynamics. Skip it if looking for something light.

During previews
Great acting, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if Go for the acting, go because a good play makes us see into ourselves. The play deals with tough issues with no easy answers.

Don't see it if You prefer a comedy. This is not a comedy.

During previews
Great acting, Disappointing, Slow, Resonant

See it if You like family drama about death and dying in a dysfunctional setting

Don't see it if you can’t sit for 3hrs of depressing drama

During previews
Banal, Cliched, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if the only reason anyone should consider seeing this play is Lois Smith, a national treasure who is disserved by the play.

Don't see it if the characters don't feel real & there's no reason to care about them; the play is way too long; the multiple conflicts are artificial;

Also the staging by the usually reliable Lila N is busy and confused. The p... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Needs editing, Absorbing, Relevant, Relatable

See it if for Lois Smith's great performance or for a dramatization of matters of end of life, the elderly and family.

Don't see it if hospice care and end of life issues are not your cup of tea for entertainment.

During previews
Peace of creep

See it if Lois Smith fan. Fan of anyone in show. Fan of multi level sets or Signature Center venue.

Don't see it if You simply cannot watch a woman die for three hours. Not a fun weekend event. Morbid, creepy, distasteful and highly depressing.

Also Drink castor oil. Same effect and much cheaper. Smith is again great, ... Read more Read less

During previews
Disappointing, Great acting, Depressing, Intelligent

See it if Good acting in play about relevant issue. Grand daughters both particularly good

Don't see it if Do not want to be totally depressed. Dealing with End of life of mother in a particularly disfunctional family

During previews
Cliched, Disappointing, Slow

See it if Don't . An over-long dysfunctional family drama ... with all the adult children waiting for the matriarch (well-played by Lois Smith) to die

Don't see it if 2.5 hours of bickering, mostly over money and/or who will provide in-home care for (the supposedly near-death) Mary. Peace at last.

During previews
Disappointing, Cliched, Slow

See it if you are a huge Lois Smith fan or if you want to see how good actors can take a bad play and make it almost watchable.

Don't see it if you're expecting a play as good as "Marjorie Prime" or "John"

Also This cast is so amazing I was ready to LOVE this play. Unfortunately n... Read more Read less

During previews
Inert, Overlong, Boring

See it if the theme of taking care of a dying old loved one speaks to you enough that you're willing to sit for 3 hours to see it unravel in real time

Don't see it if you've seen family dramas around this topic before, are bored with repetitive plays, or have a short attention span.

Also I'm all for taking a chance on new playwrights. But for the love of go... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Too long

See it if for Lois Smith, whom the New York Times accurately described as "reliably magnificent", and good performances by several other cast members.

Don't see it if you don't want to spend almost three hours watching family members gnaw on the same old grievances over and over, like a dog with a bone.

Also I went into this with very low expectations, based on reviews on this ... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Relevant

See it if I liked it a great deal since each of us knows a family member or someone who has been in an end of life situation.

Don't see it if you cannot deal with end of life issues, a dysfunctional family setting, hospice care or terminal illness.

During previews
Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Raw

See it if You love great naturalistic acting in a good ensemble. Intense, raw,family drama with real humor. Lois Smith threw in some lol zingers!

Don't see it if You don't care for powerful family drama around a 90yo woman who decides to die at home sans pain.. If you want light entertainment.

During previews
Absorbing, Intense, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if If you've been present during someone's final days or expect to be soon, this play contains virtually every wrenching moment you'll have.

Don't see it if You don't want to live thru the experience of a family's pain and conflict during the mother's final days. It's a tough one.

During previews
Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Intense, Profound

See it if You are interested in end of life issues and want to see a family that is probably more dysfunctional than the one you grew up in.

Don't see it if You don't want to confront end of life issues. It is a very intense show with a lot of yelling. But there is also a lot of laughter.

During previews
Clever, Great writing, Great staging, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like family dramas with several characters' lives intertwining

Don't see it if you get fidgety if a show is too long (could definitely have cut it)

During previews
Banal, Disappointing

See it if u want long repetitive, depressing and painful

Don't see it if u read above reasons + poor staging and not knowing how to transfer a story that is truth to a staged drama

Also Lois Smith wonderful so is Johanna Day

During previews
Ambitious, Cliched, Disappointing, Dizzying, Too much yelling

See it if Where to begin? If you're into watching disintegrating dsyfunctional families rally around a dying matriarch with lots of fighting, enjoy!

Don't see it if If you're not into tedious, too-long dramas that feature obnoxious characters and an unsatisfying endings.

During previews
Disappointing, Redundant

See it if you must see everything Ms. Lois Smith does (and who would question you on that?) or end of life family dramas are your genre

Don't see it if you do not fall into either of the two categories above

Also I am a geriatric psychologist and I love messy family dramas so I thou... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You're sensitive to/familiar with family drama surrounding hospice. To stay engaged for the long run-time, you need to care about the topic.

Don't see it if If you aren't in a place to invest in this topic emotionally. This isn't light entertainment, but it feels very real.

Also Actors are legends and such a joy to watch, even though this play stil... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Slow, Emotional

See it if You enjoy family dramas. This is a great cast; so many wonderful moments between characters.

Don't see it if If you're going through family drama, this show may be triggering for you. Some scenes could use revision, as pacing could get little slow.

During previews
Cliched, Excruciating, Insipid, Slow, Disappointing

See it if you want to watch a mother die while her adult children show their true colors. A slow death for Mary Frances and the audience.

Don't see it if you love good theater which this absolutely wasn't. Hate to pan it so badly but it deserves it!!

May 23rd, 2018
“Alice and Fanny’s continuing enactment of a lifelong rivalry for Frances’s love is, in theory, perfectly believable...But they do it so bizarrely and relentlessly throughout the overlong play that you wonder what Thorne wants to show us....Every scene that seemed well-observed on the page felt d...
read more
May 24th, 2018
"I never imagined I would spend a whole night hoping Lois Smith would die, but such is the unexpected effect. Smith is not to blame : At 87, the great stage actor is in peak form, and gives a detailed, convincing performance...The situation is rife with potential tension, but first-time playwrigh...
read more
May 23rd, 2018
“Proves so lifeless that you find yourself in the uncomfortable position of wishing its main character would get on with it. It's a shame, because a formidable ensemble of talented actors has been assembled...But their efforts are not enough to lift the turgid dramatics of this work by newcomer T...
read more
May 25th, 2018
“A new play with sensitive writing, informed acting, wise and naturalistic staging...A profound work by a fresh talent...So beautifully written that it is impossible to believe it’s the playwright’s first play...What saves 'Mary Frances' from becoming maudlin is the superb ensemble work, headed b...
read more

Related content