"Under the accomplished direction of Lila Neugebauer, these works still have the power to engage, amuse and, above all, disturb…In every case, this first-rate creative team has done its job. That is to say, they’ve created unfamiliar worlds that somehow feel deeply, ineffably familiar — the sort of places that you visit as you’re falling asleep. And all the places you’ve ever lived, and all the people you’ve ever been, start to mingle and merge into one eerie, endlessly reflected entity." Full Review
"Two of the plays, the Albee and Kennedy entries, premiered in the 1960s, a time when 'downtown theatre' was defined by the kind of experimentation and symbolism that baffled as many as it inspired...This is one of those rare instances where an Edward Albee play can be considered the most accessible of a collection...'Drowning'...is a lethargically-paced play...'Funnyhouse of a Negro' at its time, was a rare instance of a black woman writing about black women." Full Review
"A trio of brilliant plays…In each work, Lila Neugebauer's direction is nothing short of extraordinary. With the impeccable performances of her cast, she combines the diverse tones, techniques, and themes into two humorous and frightening hours of theater...This electric production is a feast for the eyes as well as the brain. It's also further proof that Lila Neugebauer is one of the theater's most versatile and accomplished directors working today." Full Review
"Although wildly diverse, the three pieces that make up Signature Plays are all grappling with death...Albee, Fornés and Kennedy have been breaking rules since the late ’50s and early ’60s, and today’s most daring playwrights have absorbed their influences—but what a joy to hear this raw music straight from the source. Director Lila Neugebauer delivers each work with a custom-tailored design and approach to performance, treating them not as museum relics." Full Review
"A kind of sampler of the avant-garde from the last several decades...The results are distinctly mixed...'Funnyhouse of a Negro' more than lives up to its bizarre gothic atmosphere, making itself the only one of the three plays on display to feel thoroughly contemporary...If the first half of ‘Signature Plays’ offers less than one has any right to expect, the opportunity to see a first-class production of Kennedy's play is not to be missed." Full Review
"'Signature Plays,' a triple bill of one-acts, offers bizarre examinations of death, loneliness, and race...Not for the easygoing theatergoer who just wants to sit back and be entertained...The uneven evening concludes with Kennedy’s 'Funnyhouse of a Negro'...Too bad Neugebauer only gets the right tone for the witty 'Sandbox.' She lets 'Drowning' drown and 'Funnyhouse' is more like a haunted house." Full Review
“How well do these plays hold up? They’re at the very least fascinating as period pieces….Director Lila Neugebauer gives all three a competent production; she and her design team are especially effective in the stagecraft of Kennedy’s play. It’s harder for me to judge the acting, since the intent of these playwrights was to keep us from naturalism, and the director’s aim seems above all to respect their intent.” Full Review
"‘Signature Plays’ is best considered as a well-produced educational event; it offers a seminal play by one of America’s best-known playwrights and two plays, one barely known and the other widely respected (if rarely performed), by ethnically diverse female dramatists. I suspect it will be of interest chiefly to academics and theatre students; for the general theatregoer, not so much." Full Review
"The Sandbox,’ ‘Drowning,’ and ‘Funnyhouse of a Negro’ are all major pieces worthy of examination, and given thoughtful, well-considered mountings here under the direction of Lila Neugebauer, so they do not seem depressing per se. What you get instead is a potent, pungent look at how three different towering American theatre artists have approached the difficult subject of identity and conquered it on their own unique, highly theatrical terms." Full Review
“For someone like me who has a limited tolerance for absurdist theater, the results were not gratifying. Yesterday’s avant garde often seems quaint or just annoying today. Edward Albee’s ‘The Sandbox’ at least offered a bit of drollery and a chance to see three fine actors...The production values are first-rate with sets by Mimi Lien, costumes by Kaye Voyce and lighting by Mark Barton.” Full Review
"A wonderful evening of absurdist plays…The star of the evening is director Lila Neugebauer. Any lesser talent may fumble with the three plays’ absurdism, or lose sight of the distinctions between each play’s unique approaches to heighted language. Neugebauer excels in finding relatable ties to unfamiliar worlds...It is her acute dramaturgical eye that ties all three distinct plays together in a cohesive evening of theater." Full Review
"Directed by Lila Neugebauer, the 'Signature Plays' are beautifully (it's tempting to say ideally) cast...Each offers a distinctive slant on existential angst, finding humor as well as pathos in the characters' suffering...As studies in loneliness, alienation, and unease, the Signature Plays fit together nicely as a single evening...The themes and the zaniness that marked the mid-century avant-garde are so familiar now, on stage and off, that they're no longer viewed as absurd." Full Review
"In Lila Neugebauer's production 'Signature Plays,' the new triple bill of familiar works doesn't create the electric charge these beloved creations have had for me in the past...Neugebauer has done little to make the works register; her impulse to add wildness to the wild work already in hand tends to muffle the scripts rather than helping them speak out...The impulse to direct does not always rest content with what a poet's words can achieve. More's the pity." Full Review
"I thought they were amazing. All really crazy, off-kilter, not-entirely-completely-successful, but thoroughly mesmerizing and so worthwhile. Directed and designed with incredible imagination...It's hard to imagine these three landmark plays ever being performed together again in such a first-rate production, so I do highly recommend you get yourself over to the Signature Theatre." Full Review
"With its eerie music, strobe lights, and in-unison chanting, 'Funnyhouse of a Negro' is clearly a wacky show. If you peel back the layers however, it’s meant to show the symbolism between white power and black…The message here is an interesting one, but it would have been more easily understood if there had been a resolution to the conflict. The ending did not help. It is just a cliffhanger, and sadly the audience never really gets a clear cut answer on what actually happened." Full Review
See it if handsome stagings of slippery symbolic shorts. Atmospheric & precise, with meticulous attention to rhythm and composition.
Don't see it if these plays are oblique throwbacks with idiosyncratic architecture- sometimes inscrutable, always interesting.
See it if you missed out on the absurdist movement of the 1960-1970'x. It is fun to reflect back on.. What was this?
Don't see it if you need less thought provoking theater. One has to laugh and cry at the Albee 15 minute play It was the first time for us for the last play
See it if you like absurdist short plays or want to experience well-done, moody pieces that get you thinking.
Don't see it if you want a traditional play/story that is easily digested.
See it if you want to see experimental theater.
Don't see it if you don't like theater that remains obtuse from start to finish. The Sand Box by E. Albee was okay. The other 2 were really bizarre.
See it if you are a fan of any one of these playwrights and want to see their early, lesser shown work. Or if you enjoy the absurd
Don't see it if like to know what is going on or if you prefer traditional theatre.
See it if you relish a rare chance to see important playwrights' early, essential work, performed by talented actors, but in a muddled production.
Don't see it if you couldn't wait for what Neugebauer directed after making Wayside Motor Inn seem better than it is. She makes these seem worse, but worthy
See it if you want to see three gems by playwrights who made their mark in the theatre of the absurd. Some great performances, too.
Don't see it if you like light-weight fluff.
See it if You like very avant-garde theater that have no real story line or requires a wikipedia synopsis before viewing.
Don't see it if This was not my cup of tea. Having said that, the plays were brilliantly executed, the actors were top notch, and the staging was excellent.
See it if you enjoy avant garde theatre. I LOVED Albee's Sandbox. The rest was pretentious drivel.
Don't see it if you hate shows that are over the top.Just don't enjoy shows that are trying so hard to be cutting edge.The Albee is terrific.Skip the others
See it if you are interested in the history of the avant-gard in NY; these are important texts, which, while do feel dated, are still valuable.
Don't see it if the direction focused more on aesthetics rather than the actual material (looks beautiful but missed the point)
See it if you know these plays/playwrights well and want to think through them with this thoughtful and ambitious production
Don't see it if you have no prior investment in foundational voices of the 20th century experimental theatre
See it if you're willing to be challenged by expert staging of 3 brilliant examples of 60s avant-garde theatre, still powerful & relevant today.
Don't see it if you have no interest in examining the human condition, acceptance, memory and identity, explored in captivating, unconventional ways.
See it if you want an inexpensive night out to see three lesser known plays by known playwrights; you like good acting
Don't see it if you do not enjoy working very hard to follow the essence of the plays; you are looking for action, fast pacing; you want a feel good evening
See it if The Albee was the best: entertaining, interesting and funny. Second play was OK but so slow (on purpose). Last play was confusing & boring
Don't see it if Probably don't see it. If you do go consider leaving at intermission. The first two of the three plays were fine.
See it if you want to witness pieces of early experimental theater history. The Albee is witty, the others tiresome and pretentious.
Don't see it if you want to experience understandable concepts, characters or plot. you need patience and stamina to get through this program.
See it if you love experimental theater. All have fascinating moments w/strong staging and acting. Sandbox is punchy; Drowning slow; Funnyhouse weird!
Don't see it if you like traditional theater. This is highly challenging, unusual material. Not easy enjoyment. Not my thing, but memorable.
See it if you enjoy experimental theatre by well-known playwrights. If you are familiar with the plays and curious to see them done live.
Don't see it if You aren't into weird, surreal stuff. If you want easy-to-understand stories and characters.
See it if You're a theatre aficianado and want to see a great production of three rarely staged plays.
Don't see it if You dislike more abstract/experimental theatre pieces that tend to test your patience.
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