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New York | Ends Jan 13

Slave Play

From 4 critic and 60 member reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Great acting, Disappointing, Absorbing, Intense

About the show

In this provocative new play, Jeremy O. Harris rips apart history to shed new light on the nexus of race, gender, and sexuality in 21st century America.  More…

The old South lives on at the MacGregor Plantation—in the breeze, in the cotton fields...and in the crack of the whip. It’s an antebellum fever-dream, where fear and desire entwine in the looming shadow of the Master’s House. Jim trembles as Kaneisha handles melons in the cottage, Alana perspires in time with the plucking of Phillip’s fiddle in the boudoir, while Dustin cowers at the heel of Gary’s big, black boot in the barn. Nothing is as it seems, and yet everything is as it seems.

This play contains nudity, sexual content, simulated sexual violence, and racially violent language. Recommended for ages 17+.

The New York Times

"Willfully provocative, gaudily transgressive, and altogether staggering...Its urgency and sheer cultural heft, deployed like weapons in a furiously entertaining production...Harris manipulates white discomfort expertly...Until I encountered his potent brew of minstrelsy and melodrama I hadn’t known it was possible to cringe and laugh and blush at the same time...It asks a lot of its superior cast, whose portrayal of arousal and fury and shame feels terrifyingly real." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The show's second section is devoted to exploring the couples' dilemmas (which may feel familiar to anyone involved in a long marriage), as well as a hearty dialogue about identity, racial and otherwise, in today's America. Phillip claims he doesn't really feel 'black,' until the session triggers a painful memory. Gary beautifully expresses his sense of being the undervalued partner in a society where African-Americans are almost immediately considered second-class citizens." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"This wildly imaginative work asserts itself with a daringness rarely seen on our stages these days...'Slave Play' doesn't fully live up to its considerable thematic ambitions, suffering from stylistic overindulgence and repetition. But it definitely marks its...author as a talent to watch...Harris effectively taps the vein of today's white-hot, charged debates...But after the big reveal, the themes are hammered home in overly expository, heavy-handed fashion that feels laborious and overexte... Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Although 'Slave Play' studies an intriguing thesis, its development disappoints...Humor dissipates with the passage of time as everybody keeps yakking away. The product of a young, talented writer who obviously is in love with every word he commits to paper...It is to this promising writer’s credit that one ponders the quandaries lurking within his play even when its dramaturgy and staging remain far from satisfying." Full Review

Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Intense, Great writing

See it if You're ready to be entertainingly challenged by questions about race, sexuality, psychology, academia and how we internalize all the above

Don't see it if on stage simulation of kinky sexual play disturbs you or if you are easily offended by stories that challenge your thinking about race/sex.

Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Disappointing

See it if interracial relationships in therapy, effects on sex life; historical scenes about white plantation owners sex with slaves

Don't see it if nudity, sex scenes acted out with detail, verbose therapy sessions; very, very long (at least 125 intermission-less minutes)

Also actually found the historical sex scenes far more interesting than the... Read more Read less

Raunchy, Indulgent, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if I other than fine performances from the actors, I cannot think of a good reason to see this play.

Don't see it if You do not wish the see, and may be bothered by, onstage depictions of sexual mistreatment.

During previews
Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see

See it if You’re interested in challenging your own beliefs. You’re ready to talk about race. You like subversive comedies.

Don't see it if If the title triggers you. You can’t let go.

During previews
Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Masterful, Great writing

See it if You like plays that explore uncomfortable issues. You will be shook. You will be uncomfortable. You might even learn something about yourslf

Don't see it if You have a problem with sex, race, and confronting the intersection of those two.

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Relevant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if it’s been a while since, seated in the theatre, you've needed or wanted desperately to take in every word or idea. A daring thrill!

Don't see it if You aren’t willing to engage in an urgent conversation about race and power and sexuality.

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Disappointing, Black people really be out here just writing!

See it if You're interested in a deep unraveling of what it means to be attracted to white people or be desired by white people.

Don't see it if You're not ready to handle having a honest conversation with yourself about desire and what it means.

Also The thing about this play, is that for me, the first two acts are lite... Read more Read less

During previews
Disturbing, Sexual, Complex, Therapeutic, Racial

See it if you believe in theater as a place where a culture can put on display intractable problems, & begin to see how to make things better.

Don't see it if you're unwilling to look at how sex & race in the US today are products of a history of exploitation & how you play a part in that history.

Also My bias is for theater that puts a culture’s hardest problems on trial... Read more Read less

During previews
Resonantly relevant, Discomfit-tingly hilarious, Uncomfortably probing, Advisedly therapeutic, Entertainingly devastating

See it if provocation is the slaveship U sit comfortably in, find humor in antics of psycho therapy, want completely different theater experience, GO!

Don't see it if simulated sex, nudity, same/sex relationships, violence, "virus"es, seeing URself reflected in mirror, suggestions of racism, would offend U

During previews
Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Surprising

See it if You enjoy the wonder of surprise. This takes you places you don't expect to go, with well written characters extremely well played.

Don't see it if You would not enjoy satire of academia, are triggered by things sexual, or need everything to work perfectly.

During previews
Original, Provocative, Must-see theater

See it if you're into hearing a fresh and brilliant new American theatrical voice, enjoy being shaken and challenged on a journey you may not like

Don't see it if you don't like plays that are wordy at times, probably at least 30 minutes overlong and require your intellectual and emotional investment

Also It took me several days to process (yes, for those that saw the play, ... Read more Read less

During previews
Sexually and racially provocative

See it if you enjoy unforgettable theater that makes you explore difficult and uncomfortable social issues.

Don't see it if non-traditional theater is not your thing.

During previews
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Must see, Relevant, Great writing

See it if You enjoy plays that make you think, throw you off, leave you with a conversation with yourself

Don't see it if You cannot take highly sexual content are easily offended, and want a feel-good play

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if Absorbing and fascinating play about race and sex makes you think about issues

Don't see it if looking for clarity found ending unclear

During previews
Dizzying, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if interested in open, difficult, perhaps transformative discussions on race and sex; are willing to listen hard. Play has many layers to peel

Don't see it if you are traumatized by dominant-submissive sex: there is no sex onstage, but close to it. Also if you don't want to be forced to think

Also Super-smart, mind-blowing, multi-layered writing rarely seen in the th... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Hilarious, Sexy

See it if you want to see a fresh, provocative play by an up and coming playwright. It is funny, sexy and full of surprises.

Don't see it if you are offended by nudity and sexual situations.

During previews
Hilarious, thought-provoking look at black/white sexual relations

See it if Three black/white couples test the boundaries of sexual relations through the hilariously cracked lens of slavery. Clever and biting.

Don't see it if The couples (two straight -- one gay) romp through contemporary issues of white supremacy. Clever, funny, biting. Great cast. Amazing set.

Also A wonderful play. Some similarity to "An Octoroon," "Sugar in Our Woun... Read more Read less

During previews
Interesting, provocative, theatrical take on race relations impact on sexual relations in three couples.

See it if you want a challenging take on race/sex/gender relations.

Don't see it if you don't like high emotion and yelling.

During previews
Funny, Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Provocative

See it if you’re interested in bold writing and performances tackling the intersection of sex, race, oppression, and desire, even when you don’t agree

Don't see it if you are unwilling to sit through aggressively uncomfortable scenes, are squeamish about nudity/sex on-stage, or need everything to be PC

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Raunchy, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy seeing something different. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes funny, always interesting. It was an experience!

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with Mixed race couples, homosexuality, or watching sexual activities.

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Refreshing, Daring

See it if you want to see something completely different and new, a type of play like no other.

Don't see it if you expect a linear story and a simple plot. It will make you think and divide opinions.

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you are interested in the effects of slavery and slave mentality on contemporary relationships, bi-racial couples with resulting problems

Don't see it if nudity, sexually explicit content, rape, S&M might offend you; you are not interested in these presented realistically on stage

Also This is one of the most interesting plays I have seen in a long time. ... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Challenging, Explicit, Outrageous, Not for everyone

See it if You are open to new approaches dealing with the issues of color, sex and power in personal relationships.

Don't see it if There is profanity, explicit sex,gayness, ante-bellum sterotypes miscegenation and it's overall very edgy.

Also I must admit after 20 minutes watching an ante-bellum soft core pornog... Read more Read less

During previews
Funny, Clever, Raunchy, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if this play is at times hysterically funny, especially the mid section, which is a send-up of couples therapy and social science.

Don't see it if the play deals very explicitly with sexual scenes and racial themes.

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if It really does a great job of putting race & multicultural relationships, both physical and mental, on trial without being too preachy.

Don't see it if It is a very physical and palpable piece - I could see it making a certain type of person uncomfortable.

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In-house box office

Direct from the Box Office

Typical fees: $8 - $15 per ticket. Can usually choose your own seats. You can save on fees by buying at the physical box office.
In-house box office

Cast & Creatives (15)