Members say: Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Relevant

About the show

Is blood thicker than politics? VIDCAPT presents the New York premiere of this timely dramedy about Val, a recently widowed nurse, who visits her WWII veteran father.

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Val is torn apart by a dark secret and tries desperately to balance her instinctively outgoing nature with her family's reticence and vastly different politics. Don, her brother, battles his increasingly debilitating illness and tries to keep her at a distance. Jerry, her father, struggles to care for his children while grappling with his imminent retirement. Meanwhile June, a black woman under Val's care, attempts to find a way to live in a country that respects little about her. A cross between Eugene O'Neill and 'All in the Family,' 'Shades' will resonate with anyone who's ever sparred with the people they love.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Front Row Center

"'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

Talkin' Broadway

"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

Theatre is Easy

"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

DC Metro Theater Arts

"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

Broadway Blog

"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

Eye on the Arts

"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: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Great acting, Relevant, Slow, Well-meaning, Sluggish

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.

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you can deal with some of the realities of war the government doesn't want to admit to.

Don't see it if if you are not emotionally stable when it comes to war

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking

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.

Absorbing, Intense, Relevant, Need some levity and action

See it if enjoying discussions re: the problems facing veterans and families from all eras. It might be cathartic for some.

Don't see it if you need hilarity or action.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Disappointing, Klunky, stiff

See it if You have no clue about what veterans go through

Don't see it if You want more than a textbook look at a veteran's situation.

Depressing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

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.

Also Father was particularly well acted and poignant. Would have been more ... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Gets off to a slow start; the rest is better paced

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.

Disappointing, Slow, Dated, Dull dialogue

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.

Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you're interested in a play dealing with the impact war has on those who serve and the people who love them.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a heavy drama.

Disappointing, Insipid, Bad writing, Bad acting, Bad direction

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

Redundant, excruciating, ugly sets well chewed literally and figuratively

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.

Also The play was described as political and topical. I found it neither. O... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound

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.

Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Slow, Dated

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

Also As typical lately, MANY reviews of 100 have dragged the rating of this... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Predictable, Slow, Unfocused, Stiff

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.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if appreciate heavy dramas related on the topic of war and how it impacts soldiers and their family. great acting

Don't see it if want something light and easy. its a bit long and heavy

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound, Resonant

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.

Slow, Heavy, Raw

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.

Disappointing, Slow, Pedantic

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.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Cliched, Slow

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.

Absorbing, Intense, Profound, War makes everyone a casualty

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.

Also I'm still thinking about this play days later, and I think it will sta... Read more Read less

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you want a good snooze. There were some moments with good acting.

Don't see it if flat story with no real point. People left after intermission. A workshop play that needs a lot more work.

Disappointing, Slow, Dated

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.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Impactful

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

Also More a set of positioned arguments than a tightly centered drama, this... Read more Read less

Banal, Excruciating, Cliched, Dated, Obnoxious

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.

Relevant, Excruciating, Cliched, Slow, Dated

See it if Are looking for a story dealing with w.w. 2 & Vietnam vets struggles with life after the war

Don't see it if Don't like depressing plays about veterans health issues.

Cast & Creatives (11)