'Sojourners' and 'Her Portmanteau' comprise a two-part theatrical event running in rep at New York Theatre Workshop. They're part of 'The Ufot Cycle,' a nine-play saga chronicling the matriarch of a Nigerian family.Read more Show less
See it if Nigerian students at college in Texas cope with freedom, responsibility, and abandonment. Realistic characters and life choices.
Don't see it if You are looking for a light uplifting story with a happy ending. This play and its companion highlight the characters' sacrifices. Read more
See it if like good set story about adapting to new homeland and culture.
Don't see it if want characters that are more developed and a storyline that is better told.
See it if We have seen parts 1 & 2 Both are very good but part 2 gets a 2nd nod. 6 very versatile actors.
Don't see it if I question the age factor for the Mom in 1 and then the Mom 36 years later in 2. . NOTE some glossary re: Nigerian language might work.
See it if you like plays that make you think. This doesn't spoon feed you.You have to see behind the words into the people.Kept me totally involved.
Don't see it if you like smoothly staged plays.The turntable is noisy and distracting.A split set would have served the piece better.But see it anyhow.GOOD!
See it if You are interested in how newly arrived immigrants assimilate into our culture. Includes intro to food, education, relationships.
Don't see it if You have no interest in the Nigerian culture or immigrants who move into totally new environments and the challenges that they face. Read more
See it if interesting story about a Nigerian family in Texas; new perspective on immigrant experiences; frequently humorous; Ms. Ogbuagu's performance
Don't see it if some characters developed in long-winded monologues and they become annoying caricatures; Act 2 much better and moves at a better pace Read more
See it if you enjoy pieces that are politically charged dealing with immigration, assimilation and religion
Don't see it if if you don't like to be challenged by thought provoking drama
See it if you like family stories about immigrants and struggling to find one's place. The performances were very fine.
Don't see it if you need lots of action, you're impatient with a character driven slow building story or you have no interest in Nigerian immigrants.
"The two plays, which opened in a pair of stunningly acted productions, offer a moving and powerful corrective to the notion that what immigrants leave behind is always awful, and that what they find is always worth the trip...Ogbuagu is excruciatingly good...'Her Portmanteau' is a far more conventional work than 'Sojourners'...If 'Sojourners,' which feels more modern, never quite reaches that lovely peak of melodrama, it is both funnier and more excitingly staged."
“The best thing about the pair of clumsy family dramas is the extraordinarily graceful performer they both revolve around...Ogbuagu manages, again and again, to make these two muddled plays occasionally cohere…There is promise here. The playwright has a delicate ear for dialogue…But such poignant moments battle with unwieldy monologues and theatrical clichés...Director Ed Iskandar undercuts what's best about Udofia's writing and reveals its structural flaws."
“A playwright with a lot on her mind and a seriously compelling storytelling gift…Udofia isn’t yet fully in command of the dramatic tools available to her, and there’s little poetry in her characters. But they’re fully fleshed out people it’s easy to connect with in Ed Sylvanus Iskandar’s precisely calibrated staging. I’ll remember this writer’s name and the people she’s introduced me to.”
“Udofia offers no easy answers, but her firm grasp of family dynamics will give audiences much to consider…Ogbuagu delivers a performance to remember: Her portrayal of Abasiama is as noble as ever as she struggles to carry the weight of the world on her own…Iskandar has led this six-person cast to finely crafted performances: The sojourners of the first cast have settled into their roles more comfortably, with choices pruned back to better resemble real life.”
“Once again, the play beguiles...Under the direction of Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, all four of these mixed-up characters retain their claim on our interest and affection…Chinasa Ogbuagu's makes the most of her character's sly humor...The glory of 'Sojourners' is that its characters are so fresh, their dilemmas so unique to them...'Sojourners' is a constantly surprising work, with carefully shaded characters.”
“While the characters and situations are utterly believable, the play is poorly structured: scenes repeat again and again almost exactly as before. The characters are the same at the end as they were when we meet them, with little or no catharsis. To a great extent, at two hours and thirty minutes, the play is vastly overwritten. It doesn't help that much of the dialogue is in the Nigerian language of Ibibio and untranslated for the audience, most of whom are unlikely to know it.”
"On its own, 'Sojourners' might not shine as brightly as it does as part of a multi-part saga. 'Her Portmanteau' adds dimension and insight that would not be there otherwise. Coupled with Jiyoun Chang’s excellent lighting and projection effects, as well as Jeremy S. Bloom’s terrific sound design, a fascinating atmosphere is created that allows us to crawl inside the story and feel what it might be like to be a new component of the American Experience."
"If your time and theatrical budget can accommodate just one, see 'Sojourners'...Though the performances overall are excellent, it's Chinasa Ogbuagu who's 'Sojourners' most riveting presence. Her metamorphosis into the next play's character is reason enough sign on for the whole package...'Sojourners' is too talky and long-winded but director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar has offset these flaws with his dramatic staging."