Manhattan Theatre Club presents a new solo show from Tony winner Sarah Jones, inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the commercial sex industry. More…
Set in the not-too-distant future and presented as a historical lecture, 'Sell/Buy/Date' explores the sexual exploitation of women in our current age. Through her multicultural characterizations, Jones offers an array of diverse perspectives on a fascinating and incendiary subject, all while preserving the full humanity and humor of voices seldom heard in the theater.
"Her performances go beyond convincing mimicry to get at something every genuine theater artist strives to achieve: profound empathy...Director Carolyn Cantor has smartly opted for simplicity, allowing the production to speed along at a breezy 85 minutes while Jones does what she does best...Beyond policy considerations, Sarah Jones is making a special kind of theatrical magic in 'Sell/Buy/Date' by taking a difficult issue and putting multiple human faces on it." Full Review
"Each one of her many multicultural portrayals is brilliantly detailed in mannerisms, accent, and body language, while also being very real and moving in content...But these characterizations are just the tip of the iceberg in regard to where the true artistry lies is this dazzling new work. Her power and genius is based more on what this assortment of characters are saying...Teaching us through storytelling...Enlightening and engaging us while being entertained." Full Review
"A brilliant discourse on commercial sex practices that puts everything into an intelligent, amusing, politically profound context...This is anything but dry. Jones’ lecturer is constantly funny. The jokes are like condiments: broadly spread...She’s a welcome beacon of wisdom at a time when idiocy is our chief political commodity. If you ask me, she could not have strolled in with her perspectives soon enough. Let’s crown her with laurels." Full Review
"Jones' ability to seamlessly transform from one character to another is mind-blowing, and that she has won Obie and Tony Awards for her prowess will surprise no one who sees this production. It’s tight, nuanced, and brilliantly-written...It’s complex stuff and Jones has done a masterful job of uncovering its many layers. Indeed, while she makes no effort to hide her perspective, 'Sell/Buy/Date' is presented with a light enough touch to encourage open and freewheeling discussion." Full Review
"When it comes to the multiple-character solo show format, the lady simply has no peer. Her ability to slip into a variety of personae is beyond compare...If 'Sell/Buy/Date' is going to have an extended life, Jones might want to take another look at the piece's structure...Under Carolyn Cantor's light-handed direction, however, Jones deftly walks a tightrope, hitting her comic targets with unfailing accuracy and never slipping into exploitation." Full Review
"Jones seems to slip into the soul of another person with the casual ease that most of us use to slide into a pair of flip-flops...Although the play’s subject matter is ostensibly dark, there is a lot of unexpected humor...Indeed, if 'Sell/Buy/Date' has a flaw, it is perhaps that the show is almost too entertaining, too slight, for the harsh subject underlying it...I do wish that she had delved a little deeper, and allowed the darkness of the details to come through with more grit." Full Review
"Anyone who saw the performer's equally jaw-dropping 2006 turn, 'Bridge & Tunnel,' will know her ability to vocally and physically transform...Here, she does not disappoint, blending virtuosic mimicry with a sly feminist message that if erotic power relations do not evolve, it could be the death of us. Directed with maximum style and clarity by Carolyn Cantor, 'Sell/Buy/Date' shows the protean Jones staging a one-woman orgy of provocative ideas." Full Review
"Though solo performer Sarah Jones is rightfully celebrated for her exacting skills that quickly morph herself into a seemingly limitless collection of characters of diverse ages, ethnicities, nationalities and personalities, she doesn't seem to get proper credit as a playwright...'Sell/Buy/Date' has a thin plot that connects ninety minutes worth of vividly realized character monologues. While each can stand on its own, they gather strength together as an exploration of the play's subject." Full Review
"Even as the show expands, darkening the content and making the subjects more pitiable, Jones never entirely loses that cutting humor...Each character that Jones inhabits gives her a hook on which to hang some damning fact about contemporary sexual mores...If the show does get a bit preachy at the end, it helps to remember that Jones is a political activist...The theater community has previously awarded her with a Tony, and now, as always, our sincere admiration and undivided attention." Full Review
"Writer-performer Sarah Jones is a human chameleon. In her new solo piece she summons a melting pot of characters in the blink of an eye, along with a shift in voice, posture and attitude. Jones is so spellbinding that you you almost — but not quite — don’t notice that the futuristic story about the commercial sex trade — buyers and sellers — adds up to less than the sum of her vivid characters. Carolyn Cantor’s sleek direction is a plus, a weak subplot isn’t." Full Review
"Most of the characters are vividly created and some of the points they make are thought-provoking. The lecture is punctuated by several interruptions during which the professor attempts to resolve a problem that is delaying her appointment as head of a new department. I thought this subplot undercut rather than enhanced the main idea...While is was a great pleasure to see Sarah Jones again, I was slightly disappointed by the material." Full Review
"A poignant and surprisingly amusing exploration of the sex work industry...For all its strengths in blending the personal and the political, the one-act piece might have been slightly more effective without a rather forced subplot...There are a few other weak spots in the show that director Carolyn Cantor, who does a mostly excellent job with the proceedings, simply fails to cover up. But by the show’s end, you’ll definitely be convinced how seriously invested Jones is in her subject." Full Review
"In another one-woman show coup, the indomitable Sarah Jones brings her cadre of characters to life in a creative, clever new show 'Sell/Buy/Date'...Ms. Jones' characters all have accents, mannerisms, and voices that she flawlessly and seamlessly blends in and out of...Ms. Jones has a unique voice and that voice delivers a potent message via all her shows." Full Review
"Each character is pitch-perfect in dialect, attitude, physicality-everything that makes a character more human and more relatable, Jones gets right...The show is pretty fast and often very funny about a very serious topic. I maybe would've had more darkness and more pain to more sharply contrast...I like a good deep painful theatrical catharsis. I probably left 'Sell/Buy/Date' without that huge catharsis, but that doesn't mean I didn't have a huge, incredibly good time." Full Review
"It’s a rococo frame, to be sure, and a bit rickety as well. Some of the writing in these sections comes off as bald reportage...At other times, she goes for jokey commentary...The characters are constantly being hammered into an argument rather than being allowed their full independent interest...But if there is some opportunism in the setup, Jones eventually makes it pay off...When the jokes and the argument merge into something much less easily classified." Full Review
"Jones delivers characters who are vividly rendered and wittily written, making many insightful points about the complex subject matter in the process. And she displays an amazing ability to morph from one to the next...Still, despite all of Jones' linguistic and performing aplomb, the elaborate narrative structure proves needlessly distracting...There are so many powerful and real stories on display in 'Sell/Buy/Date'...that the fictional construct seems superfluous." Full Review
"Jones is a remarkable performer and sharp observer. And she's come up with an amusing futuristic spin on the sex industry's growth and reach into themes of gender dynamics, personal identity and feminism. That said, her characters do slip into stereotypical territory, and the piece, even at just 85 minutes, feels overly long...My quibbles notwithstanding, director Carolyn Cantor has staged this multi-voiced monologue fluidly." Full Review
"Of all the stage artists whose chosen medium is the one-person play, Jones stands alone as a uniquely gifted interpreter of the endless swath of diversity, color, and craziness we call humanity...But 'Sell/Buy/Date' as a piece of writing is considerably less captivating...The sheer number of figures Jones portrays prevents her from delving too deeply into any of them, which gives the show a choppy quality that doesn't help it say much of anything that hasn't already been said." Full Review
"Jones dazzled Broadway audiences 10 years ago with 'Bridge & Tunnel'...In her new solo work, her remarkable impersonation skill, using gestures and expressions as well as her voice, is just as prodigious, even if her subject, the sex industry, is somewhat limiting...The show goes down easy, which isn't necessarily a good thing...The stories offer few revelations, and generally sound like things we've heard before. What holds us is Jones' stunning facility in turning herself into everyone else." Full Review
"It's a real treat to watch Jones bring her disparate characters to life with sharp-edged artistry and a generous spirit that almost saves them from coming across as caricatures. But the message they're supposed to be delivering isn't as successful. And a melodramatic subplot about the professor's pending promotion and her uneasy relationship with her mother merely distracts from the main subject…It felt wrong to be laughing in the presence of the larger subject matter." Full Review
See it if You care about women's issues, humanity & our rights as citizens of this world. A socially & politically current play that resonates deep.
Don't see it if You are a red state lunatic that has fear in your heart. This play is raw, real and too complex emotionally for your intellect level.
See it if -you want to see high-quality one-person acting - you want to challenge your mind on "how our society changing and where it's all leading us
Don't see it if - you are "fresh of the boat" because a lot of jokes are local and you probably not gonna get them - you trying to avoid sex topics
See it if Sarah Jones is a genius! This play, her acting, the staging....are all top notch. And the subject matter is brave and relevant.
Don't see it if You don't like one person shows.
See it if you can at least tolerate one person shows. Masterful. Like a pool pro running the table. Show is moving soon. Just go.
Don't see it if you prefer a traditional cast and dialogue experience. Perhaps five minutes too long. One predictable punch line.
See it if You are interested in issues like sexism. You enjoy seeing a fine performer assume various identities--changing gender, age, and race.
Don't see it if You only like shows with plots.
See it if you want to see a thoughtful, well acted show with a riveting performance by Sarah Jones.
Don't see it if you don't want to see an intelligent, thought provoking one woman show.
See it if You want to see a tour de force solo show that will make you laugh AND think. You will never see better acting and writing.
Don't see it if You are dead or under the age of consent. Nothing raunchy here, but the topics are mature.
See it if You want a glimpse into one possible future regarding attitudes about sex as industry and trafficking. Want to see a stellar performance.
Don't see it if You don't like one person shows. If you are prudish about discussion of sex.
See it if You enjoy a one person show. You like to think and be entertained at the same time. You want to see something wonderful.
Don't see it if You want a musical. You need several actors to stay focused.
See it if you like relevant, SUPER smart writing and acting; if you enjoy one-woman shows that grapple with serious topics with both humor & gravitas
Don't see it if there's no reason not to see this. I loved it. Sarah Jones is incredible at transforming into characters literally before your eyes.
See it if you want to see a remarkable perfomance by the chameleoun Sarah Jones who creates a dizzying and memorable array of characters .
Don't see it if you don't enjoy one woman shows with a feminist theme.
See it if you like fabulous solo performances; edgy but tender feminist statements. if you are a woman or know one.
Don't see it if you don't like politicized (albeit brilliantly done) theater. This is not a saccharine musical.
See it if To see incredible acting in a fascinating one woman show. It was really astounding how convincingly she portrayed so many characters.
Don't see it if You don't like one person shows.
See it if This is less educational and preachy, and more entertaining, funny and interesting than one would expect.
Don't see it if You hate one-person shows or only like a deeply earnest treatment of serious subjects
See it if Sarah Jones is masterful in her portrayal of her grab bag of characters. Funny, touching and thought-provoking
Don't see it if "Plot" is a thin framework to allow for the delivery of all the characters seen in the evening
See it if You appreciate a solo performance by a writer/activist/performer...the characters are touching, clever and amazingly varied.
Don't see it if you do not want to think.....the sex worker industry is at once exciting, complicated & controversial. Jones' is a master impressionist.
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