Slave Play NYC Reviews and Tickets

77%
(161 Reviews)
Positive
79%
Mixed
11%
Negative
10%
Members say
Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing, Edgy, Thought-provoking

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. 

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Member Reviews (161)

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481 Reviews | 316 Followers
79
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intense, Raunchy, Riveting

See it if Compelling acting and situations. Unique play, deals with important issues about race in a surprising way.

Don't see it if Very explicit sexual situations, nudity, sexual and racial language. Could be awkward with the wrong friend/family member. Be aware of that. Read more

456 Reviews | 256 Followers
66
Ambitious, Clever, Overrated, Resonant, Jeremy o. harris: a playwright to watch

See it if you want to see the first work of a young up-and-coming playwright. This play is not entirely successful—two-thirds of it are good.

Don't see it if you don't mind plays with structural problems and tons of repetition. I don't think Robert O'Hara was the right choice to direct this play. Read more

394 Reviews | 202 Followers
78
Absorbing, Great acting, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Edgy

See it if Some standout performances. The story draws you in immediately. An emotional roller coaster.

Don't see it if I don’t get what the playwright meant to say with this play. If it’s what I think he meant, I disagree. Strongly.

392 Reviews | 72 Followers
69
Ambitious, Disappointing, Great acting, Edgy, Intense

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) Read more

402 Reviews | 86 Followers
85
Absorbing, Edgy, Raunchy, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you're looking for risk-taking theater and like edgy shows about race and sex. Some interesting twists and great acting performances.

Don't see it if you don't want to see sexually explicit material. There is a lot of simulated sex and some nudity. Some will hate it, some will love it.

372 Reviews | 43 Followers
80
Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Quirky

See it if like a quirky play with a very modern take - very breaking the fourth-wall kind of show

Don't see it if topic and staging can be uncomfortable to some - and play can be edited down somewhat

344 Reviews | 54 Followers
49
Uncomfortable to sit through withiout the aide of an intermission, Indulgent, Excruciating, Confusing

See it if you don't mind having your thoughts on race relations here in the United States of America poked at.

Don't see it if being provoked for an hour and fifty minutes without a reward for having taken the provocation is not your cup of tea. Read more

299 Reviews | 100 Followers
71
Ambitious, Confusing, Funny, Edgy, Intense

See it if You want to ponder the intricate nature of race and sexuality in a serious yet comic style

Don't see it if You take therapy seriously and aren't in the blame game

Critic Reviews (32)

The New York Times
December 9th, 2018

"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."
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Time Out New York
December 14th, 2018

"What is it, exactly? A satire? A sex comedy? An exploration of identity as performance, in the vein of Jean Genet? A topical political provocation? A sincere dissection of race in America? All of these things are true, but even together they don't do justice to what Harris has cooked up...’Slave Play’ is funny, probing, and, at times, disturbingly sexy. It snaps like a whip, and its aim is often outward...It asks a lot of its spectators, and has a lot to give in return.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
December 10th, 2018

"The piece understands the old-fashioned showmanship of a good twist...The pitch-perfect and vulnerable-as-hell performances by the play’s splendid octet of actors are what keep the sense of compassion in Harris’s work at the forefront. Not only does director Robert O’Hara embrace the fierce, fast comedy of the script; he’s also helping his ensemble to go to places that feel simultaneously raw and immensely rewarding."
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New Yorker
December 18th, 2018

“The play acts like a whittling knife, refining and clarifying as it cuts. The first act is broad and impressionistic, and each of the next two sections is more realistic and denser with psychic danger than the last...What ensues is not only a deft exploration of what happens when love and power collide but also an excavation of a newly common kind of political-academic talk...Harris shows how the language of critical theory and that of Freudian talk therapy have come to echo each other."
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The Hollywood Reporter
December 9th, 2018

"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 overextended."
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Theatermania
December 10th, 2018

"Robert O'Hara directs this cringe-inducing comedy with a frank, unrepentant honesty that keeps us shifting uncomfortably in our seats. Yet to shy away from the play is to miss out on one of the most thoughtful and challenging theatrical works on interracial relations, institutionalized racism, and their effects on people of color since Antoinette Nwandu's 'Pass Over'."
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BroadwayWorld
December 10th, 2018

"Extremely daring, highly original and undoubtedly thought-provoking satirical drama...What makes 'Slave Play' so intriguing is its focus on how these residual racial issues may affect the intimacy between committed partners in some interracial relationships...This reviewer will leave it to the better qualified to discuss Harris' success in exploring the multi-layered issues at hand, but will certainly praised 'Slave Play' as completely engaging and emotionally challenging theatre."
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Lighting & Sound America
December 21st, 2018

“’Slave Play’ is a good stab at a sociopolitical shocker, even when hampered by structural oddities, a taste for repetition, and a rather too-obvious need to ride the audience's nerves. It's an original, audacious, sexually explicit work...Boldly exploring the link between oppression and eroticism. Even when it irritates you can't say you've ever seen anything like it...‘Slave Play’ begins with shock-and-awe tactics, but ultimately, it nearly talks itself to death.”
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