"'Shades' is more a textbook than a play. And any comparisons to Eugene O’Neill are delusional. If Dr. Caplan truly wants to make a mark in theater, and not just use it as a tool for expounding her psychological theories, she needs to study the art as well as the science. The dialog is extremely stilted, the first act is way too long, and the attempts at comedy fall flat...I will say that the cast gave it a valiant effort...I admit to being moved at the end, but it was a long row to hoe." Full Review
"Caplan has filled the play with multiple problems regarding the emotional and physical toll of war...The cast members, under Alex Keegan's direction, do well with roles that essentially serve to present the playwright's urgent message...Nevertheless, as a theatrical work, it could do with a more realistically human touch. Despite the heated issues it raises, 'Shades' needs less talking and more dramatic heat to fire up its audience." Full Review
"Playwright Paula J. Caplan has had an extensive career as an academic and one gets the sense that the testimonies that she offers here are based on primary research...Unfortunately, the play lacks action...'Shades' feels less like a play and more like a chance to pick the brains of veterans over a cup of coffee. Under the direction of Alex Keegan, some of the performances are quite successful." Full Review
"While the themes are ones that should never be forgotten, the heavy-handed script contains an overwhelming number of worst-case scenarios afflicting the four inter-related characters…As a result, 'Shades' plays more like a relentless socio-political diatribe on recent history than a focused work of theater, exhaustively presenting, en masse, information that has been known for decades…The cast is hindered by often stilted implausible dialogue.' Full Review
"The last 15 minutes of the show are rather heartbreaking and poignant. On the other hand, this story of a family reeling from the traumas of war is a sluggish exercise of enduring poor playwriting and, for the seasoned theatergoer, it is primarily a forced melodrama in need of some serious surgery…Forced, unrealistic dialogue runs rampant…The major problems with 'Shades' are the lack of nuance and subtly. The characters are clichéd and rarely believable." Full Review
"In a play of drawn-out reveals, none of it is withheld from its audience. We bear full witness to the conflict and confusion within each character, emphasized through vivid performances erupting in Cherry Lane’s Studio Theatre. Collins in particular has a mannered delivery, perhaps signaling her character’s hunger for immediacy in communication, calling to mind the military’s guidelines to transparent communication." Full Review
See it if you're invested in the struggles and values of veterans and the families left behind.
Don't see it if you need more dynamic plotting. This is a well-meaning production, but you can find many stronger plays about soldiers' troubles.
See it if If you want to see something highly dramatic and not afraid of a dark outcome. It makes you think. Makes you angry about power and lies.
Don't see it if If you want to leave the theater happy and light. This won't.
See it if Do not mind be pounded with tales of the horrors of War and the harm it does, coupled with do not trust your leaders.
Don't see it if You do not want to be depressed or.have seen/heard this before, done better.
See it if You want a smart, unique take on veterans & the disconnect w/people who weren't there. You like intense drama.
Don't see it if You don't want to hear war stories. You want a light comedy.
See it if you haven't gotten your fill of family dramas that tell you nothing new.
Don't see it if you need drama stronger than a cup of decaf. I found it bloviating and repetitive at times, and not really relevant.
See it if You are after a show that is constructed and performed in an unconventional way.
Don't see it if You want to see a show that's well written with acting that isn't stale and does not feel constructed for a specific purpose for some reason
See it if you like intergenerational drama you are interested in the dichotomy of pro and anti war sentiments set in late 1990's.
Don't see it if you want sets that make sense. you need something to look at. you like subtlety. you dont want plot points hammered at you.
See it if a heavy, powerful, and emotional play dealing with the soldiers’ mental state and the conflicts they face when they become civilians.
Don't see it if you like comedies.
See it if you don't mind being pounded with The Message; you are sympathetic to family tragedy and crying makes you feel good.
Don't see it if you are tired of wars and their well know effects on families and individuals; you want action; you hate sitting for over 2 hours
See it if you like shows about the ravages of war though this one tries to shine a light on too many aspects of it and doesn't do any of them justice.
Don't see it if you're looking for something fresh or new or hoping to learn something. No new ground here.
See it if You're looking for a family drama centered around the effects of war on families and soldiers. The older actor is especially great.
Don't see it if You're looking for a comedy or something light or a play with many characters and a big production budget. It's a small, but strong cast.
See it if you want a melodramatic exploration of war related issues. Various problems are discussed through a government questioning lens.
Don't see it if you don't like an intense and ponderous play. Political overtones may turn some viewers off. Not for a light evening's entertainment.
See it if you're a veteran who seeks affirmation of your view that the gov't doesn't care about its soldiers; you have the patience of Job.
Don't see it if you can't abide a sluggish, mildly interesting family drama that lacks any dramatic arch & turns into a screed about veteran's affairs.
See it if You want to understand more about PTSD or are a veteran who could identify w/the experiences told. 2 generations of vets dealing w/fall out~
Don't see it if Seemed more a treatise about PTSD than a play. Was extremely slow and hammered home the same points again & again &..Less talk & more drama.
See it if You're willing to have your heart and mind given an emotionally powerful experience.
Don't see it if You refuse to sit still for anything except light feel-good entertainment.
See it if You are interested in the effects of war on its soldiers and their families.
Don't see it if You are sensitive to shrill characters and/or plays with lots of talking and conflict but no real conversation.
See it if you're a veteran or know someone who is, in this evening of often raw argument dealing with family, health & political disillusionment.
Don't see it if You expect a fleshed out play rather than a series of positions however well performed, in this therapeutic discourse on family, vets & duty
See it if If you feel there is still more to say about how the country viewed Vietnam and you just can't let it go. It is sad that these people still
Don't see it if are so angry. You think we need to move on. We have more important things to worry about.
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