See it if A different and refreshing new style of storytelling with a slight dash of magical realism. Well acted and paced. Moving. Sad/hopeful.
Don't see it if You want linearity/realism and don't care about claustrophobic perspectives, though you know people who think like that in real life.
See it if You like magical realism or Wes Anderson's films. Quirky story w/ fascinating characters. I cared & was interested in their journeys.
Don't see it if You don't enjoy magical realism or the utilization of flashbacks or narration to tell a story.... I however, enjoyed all of these elements.
See it if you love Thorton Wilder and are willing to see Our Town-lite.
Don't see it if you are bumped by fantasy mixed with realism.
See it if You want your emotions stirred and you want to see brilliant performances.
Don't see it if Think-y shows aren't your thing.
See it if you enjoy the unusual, the nonlinear, a bit of magical realism, something not literal but mysterious, like Zachary Quinto
Don't see it if You only like realistic, chronological plays, can't abide with figures from different eras popping on stage together, don't like the ominous
See it if You want to see a well acted play with a unique form of storytelling. All the actors were excellent.
Don't see it if You don't like plays about families.
See it if If you want to be challenged. This is so good in so many ways. The staging was incredible. I wish there were more plays like this.
Don't see it if If you want to think. If you are looking for fluff this is not for you. In my ranking this is a rare 2!!!
See it if you want to see one of Mimi Lien's terrific set designs.
Don't see it if you have other plays on your must-see list. Everyone should just skip this one.
"Mr. Haidle’s flights of imagination mostly left me less than enraptured...The director, Anne Kauffman, has made a specialty of adventurous new writing...and the cast is first-rate...But the play’s characters are defined exclusively by their eccentricities and flights of odd lyricism; they have no believable emotional pulse...When you have a fetus quoting Michel Foucault, you are moving beyond absurdity and treading dangerously close to plain old pretentiousness."
"Welcome back to Haidle’s brand of whimsical literalism, where commonplace ideas and character types are tricked out in self-conscious structural gimmicks that serve mainly to gild the obvious... its evocation of Thornton Wilder’s 'Our Town' only points up, by contrast, the sententious cutesiness of a play that treats, for example, 'the world is round' as an insight."
"It’s as dark as you please, but so cute in its approach and so heavy-handed in its symbolism that it ends up belittling the very ideas it wants to advance...Anne Kauffman has directed without her customary verve...the theatrical energy almost never rises to the level necessary to support such a complicated agenda. Even when it starts to, it is usually shut down by another bit of annoying whimsy, or the realization that the philosophy underlying it is often no more profound than Dr. Phil."
"The strained interactions among these barely defined characters seem to go on forever...Telling instead of showing, the playwright spoon-feeds his themes as if he's afraid the audience will be too obtuse to catch on....For all their considerable efforts, the performers are hobbled by characters who feel less like flesh-and-blood figures than creative conceits. There's tragedy aplenty in 'Smokefall,' but it's doubtful you'll find your eyes tearing."
"It turns out the show is yet another domestic drama about the all-American nuclear family, this one trying hard to distinguish itself from other domestic dramas about the all-American nuclear family by stylistically swerving from realism to surrealism...No one says anything the least bit interesting, and whatever we know about these people we learn from Quinto, who is called Footnote and plays the narrator."
"Anne Kauffman, a solid pro, repeats directing chores and guides this capable enough new cast, but even so the play delivers a few flashes of whimsy and not much else...The show’s takeaways are pretty obvious. We lose people. Life comes full circle. To love is 'the greatest act of courage.' That may well be. But it’s hard to love this 'Smokefall.'"
"It often feels more like a college seminar on magical realism than a rigorous example of the genre...The actors are miraculously able to deliver this dense text in a way that doesn't sound like they're reciting from an essay on world literature...Unfortunately, director Anne Kauffman's production is equally lifeless...Likely to appeal only to undergraduate philosophy students (and those who wish they could be in college forever)."
"Haidle has given himself quite a tightrope to walk, blending domestic drama with wild flights of fancy and vaudeville-like routines, the farcical often occupying the same space as a pervasive melancholy. But darn it if he doesn't pull it off, shifting dramatic and emotional gears with the skill of a top race car driver, even as he conducts a conversation about the forces that shape our lives: chance, choice, genes, and destiny."