Martyna Majok's ('Ironbound') new drama, about the lives of two generations of immigrant women that collide in a basement apartment, comes to Lincoln Center. More…
When the choices they’ve made about their security, dignity, and desires come back to haunt them, they must ask: what cannot – and should not – be left behind?
"The most honest dramatization of the immigrant experience to come along this century... On top of delivering an authentic story of women moving thousands of miles from home in order to provide for their families, Majok and director Danya Taymor make us feel the consequences of that difficult decision...Reeder gives one of the most soul-shaking performances of the season as Renia...A fascinating look into immigrant life in America, and a crucial reflection of our values." Full Review
"Gripping and extraordinary...The brilliance of Majok's drama is in its bold and ambitious sprawl, traversing time and place to plunge the depths of immigrant experience...Taymor's brilliantly staged production manages to visualize the play's epic emotional and physical journeys on an affectingly intimate scale...The all-woman cast is universally electric, delivering sharp, fiercely drawn performances and making indelible marks on their roles." Full Review
"Majok's perceptive and poignant drama...An exceptional ensemble...A sensitive but scarcely sentimental look at a number of women who strive for a fresh existence in America...Some rapid shifts in time may prove confusing, there is no denying the vivid nature of the appealing characters whom Majok creates...'Queens' displays Majok's fine sensibilities with wordplay and her excellence at creating everyday characters who are heartbreakingly alive." Full Review
"It's not exactly the American immigrant dream romanticized in history, but in the most culturally diverse spot on the planet in Majok's understatedly strong drama, it's the opened-eyed reality...Majok's preciseness in writing different forms of their imperfect grammar and pronunciation provides a poetic mosaic of sound...While it's a lengthy play with no linear plot, director Danya Taymor's ensemble is excellent, as the evening provides an intriguing profile." Full Review
"Majok finds poetry and pain, and expresses the triumphs and injustices of women who are so often invisible in our country...Majok imbues these women with warmth, dynamism, and the tantalizing sensation of something possible...They are also quite funny. The political undertones never overshadow the human beings...The talented cast runs with the characters...If there is a weakness in the play, it comes from the Inna storyline...Feel more a plot device than fully developed arc." Full Review
"Majok's script is rife with cut-to-the-core lines...Captures the women's sense of otherness, of some shame and some fear...Seven actors give us ten characters. Each is pitch perfect...Lots to like, even love here. But, still there are the nearly inevitable second act problems...The payoff is intentionally ambiguous. While intriguing, it is not satisfying...It has power and passion and laughter and pathos." Full Review
"The performances are sensitive and specific...Sharpness is what this play could have used a bit more of. With jumps in time and place, performers in multiple parts and story lines, the action gets confusing—and the end comes, and then comes again, and then again...Brilliant performances. I left a little disappointed in the structure and soundness of the play, but absolutely blown away by the stories and the acting." Full Review
"Majok is unsentimental in her portrayal of these characters, who are not always likeable. But she helps us understand them, these ambitious, intelligent, often witty people...Yet that understanding only goes so far. Many of the choices by the playwright and director Danya Taymor as the play unfolds make the audience work harder than we should at figuring out who is who and what is going on...Still, 'queens' is an admirable production." Full Review
"The jumping back and forth between years and places is occasionally confusing...As a collection of character studies, the play succeeds, but as a coherent narrative, it needs work...Danya Taymor has not been entirely successful in keeping the audience aware of when each scene takes place. Despite its flaws, the play offers a welcome glimpse at a group that has too often been overlooked." Full Review
"Thrilling writing. But as the play further complicates its story in the second and third acts, it loses control of its effects. We are offered too much information for the frame to contain, even if it’s vital...It can do little more than check the boxes on its trenchant to-do list. This puts excess pressure on the production to provide coherence, but Taymor’s direction opts for suggestiveness rather than clarity...For all that, 'queens' is still a notable work, or maybe several." Full Review
"The play jumps forward and backward in time and place...making it difficult for the audience...New characters appear causing more confusion about who is interacting with whom and when these exchanges occur in the history of this basement refuge...The cast is quite good...Taymor and her production team have done little to bring clarity and focus to the play...The potential for this material was clearly apparent, if only Ms. Majok could get some good advice." Full Review
"A complicated tragedy, layered like a Russian nesting doll. The play doesn't entirely work: It's overwritten, characters can grandstand, and the text's humor struggles...Taymor loads the play with significant pauses-even melodrama. Some performances have real grace...But for the most part, they are still ladies-in-waiting; a round of edits and a greater sense of life onstage would be needed for them to become the queens they deserve to be." Full Review
"Over the course of nearly three hours, this epic unfolds. Depending on your individual perspective, 'queens' will provoke multiple feelings. Empathy...Sadness...Disgust...Add in marvel too, as you grasp the sheer determination and inner strength of these women as they navigate their complicated lives. Danya Taymor directed this piece in a superlative staging. Each actress is astonishingly real...This specific production of 'queens' is not to be missed." Full Review
See it if You are interested in the struggle of immigrants and the undocumented. See if if you want to understand the diversity of Queens County.
Don't see it if You lack empathy or are intolerant.
See it if you like challenging drama about important issues done in a heartfelt, approachable style.While it was sometimes hard to follow,brilliant.
Don't see it if you are looking for lightweight, comedy.This is a piece of work that makes you think.Acting & directing are superb.Very special & important.
See it if You can get tickets to the rest of the sold out run. This is a show that gets the subject of immigration right and says something powerful.
Don't see it if You can't make it through a 2 hour and 45 min show.
See it if stories of immigrants, particularly Eastern European, interests you.
Don't see it if you do not want to be on the edge of your seat for 2 hours and 45 minutes, and go through emotional turmoils with the characters.
See it if you are interested in a refreshing take on the immigration experience in NYC. Finally a play about the issue from women's perspective
Don't see it if you are looking for light entertainment
See it if An epic, in-the-now tale that interweaves women’s immigration stories (played by an excellent cast) would interest you.
Don't see it if You don’t like overlong, all-female dramas that fictionalize topics of current national interest.
See it if you enjoy well-written plays that deconstruct the American dream and immigrant sacrifices. Play offers several perspectives and experiences.
Don't see it if 3 hrs w/ 2 intermissions is too long for you or don't like all female cast. The play jumps around which sometimes leaves you wanting more.
See it if you want to understand the contemporary problem facing immigrants who have little money and are trying to make a life in NYC.
Don't see it if you're not willing to try to unravel the different stories each woman is telling (the stories are not black and white)
See it if Great performances and a sophisticated take on the immigrant experience allow you to appreciate a production that just doesn't cohere.
Don't see it if You need fully realized characters and plot lines. You loved Cost of Living (as I did) and crave something equally good.
See it if A drama about immigrant women struggling to survive, sometimes in conflict, and losing touch with families.
Don't see it if You don’t have the patience for a slow, overly long play with a confusing timeline.
See it if movingly shows how female immigrants struggle to remain human & how attaining American dream may involve losing soul: connection 2 home ctry
Don't see it if play overstuffed, overlong @ 2 hrs. 40 minutes; plot lines are confusing; simplified version would have been much more effective
See it if you love stories about multiple generations of immigrant women that all take place in one building
Don't see it if you're a stickler for consistency and also character development
See it if you want to experience the human face of immigrants' plight & appreciate the emotional costs of dislocation and marginalization
Don't see it if you're impatient with slow pace, at times confusing timeline, or long plays (2:45, including 2 intermissions)
See it if You appreciate immigrants' stories -- here mothers and daughters over 16 years living together in a basement in Queens. Heart-rending.
Don't see it if You go to theater for amusement. These immigrants' burdens seem unrelenting. The comings and goings can be confusing.
See it if You enjoy Majok's work. Interesting interconnected stories with great depth and beautiful through-lines.
Don't see it if You don't like 3hr long plays. This might have changed since I saw it in previews. It needs about 40min worth of cuts.
See it if you want to hear a long discussion with immigrant women in Queens, NY.
Don't see it if you dislike accents, women yelling for long periods of time and the immigrant experience of the past 20 years is not your thing.
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