Closed 1h 40m
Sugar in Our Wounds
Midtown W
85

Sugar in Our Wounds NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(47 Reviews)
Positive
89%
Mixed
11%
Negative
0%
Members say
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing

About the Show

Manhattan Theatre Club presents this lyrical new play, Donja R. Love's exploration of queer love at a pivotal moment in black history.

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Member Reviews (47)

82
Mesmerizing poetic portrayal of lives of black slaves during civil war tho goes astray at end

See it if brilliantly evokes joy/terror slave commty thru rhythmic language/movement, giant "lynching" tree/see below, frank sex, fine perfs

Don't see it if white slave owner daughter racist cliche; 2nd half focus on improbable homosexual relatnship btwn slaves/see below Read more

80
Absorbing, Great acting, Sad, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see a well-acted play that turns the problematic/stereotypical slave narrative on its head and makes you consider alternatives.

Don't see it if you're liking for fun/escapism.

Critic Reviews (14)

June 19th, 2018

“Fantastically moving and not entirely persuasive...An old-fashioned weepie written in lush, poetic dialect...Its techniques are melodramatic. Its assault on the tear ducts is aggravated. And yet its message is unimpeachable...The script might have been stronger if it had wrestled with its conflicts and explored its desires more truthfully, less ahistorically...A hurts-so-good kind of play, which congratulates the audience for sympathizing with its hugely sympathetic lovers."
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June 20th, 2018

"The playwright has taken ethnographic pains to expertly capture the speaking patterns of his characters, and director Saheem Ali weaves together a world that feels like real life, even when the action branches into the supernatural. His ace collaborators include costumer Ayite, choreographer Moultrie and hair and makeup designer Cookie Jordan. Together with a uniformly wonderful cast, they movingly convey 'Sugar’'s central message: Love prevails even in a hopeless place."
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June 21st, 2018

"Regrettably, once he makes a big business of bringing the two lovers together, the playwright has little else to say about slavery, the South or the war...Knowing that the love story of Henry and James is part of a grand dramaturgical design gives it more weight. But experienced on its own, the romance speaks its name but moves on without leaving any echoes from its moment in history."
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June 19th, 2018

"Exhilarating performances spring from the dramatic tension of the script. Love smartly sets his story in the months before the Emancipation Proclamation, as a whole way of life is on the brink of collapse...Performance and design come together in director Saheem Ali's production, takes full advantage of the high stakes to create a world that is simultaneously enchanted and all too real...’Sugar in Our Wounds’ implausibly manages to find love in the most terrible of circumstances.”
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June 26th, 2018

“A handsome and well-acted production…An ambitious drama...This is a play to celebrate what was beautiful in an ugly world, rather than dwell on tragedy or otherness.”
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June 19th, 2018

“The play, directed with angry sensitivity by Saheem Ali, possesses a folk tale’s disturbing enchantment, which rises to horror in a final scene that unfolds when Henry returns to the family after he’s had to flee a potential lynching as the result of a rape claim Isabel makes after he declines her advances...Zooms in on a moment in American history that should ideally be deep in the receding past but isn’t. That may be the play’s truest power.”
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June 20th, 2018

"Through this story of adversity, the ensemble brings the audience much laughter and hope...Saheem Ali's direction is top-notch, taking into account the many layers of coded speech and meanings among oppressed people. Every line and facial expression produces immediate reactions...Michael Thurber's original music and Darrell Grand Moultrie's movement shine through in many spiritual songs and dances."
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June 25th, 2018

"Director Ali steers this production along a narrow path that runs between the realistic and the fanciful, ensuring that the five fine actors do justice both to what's straightforward and to what's exotic in Love's often poetic, sometimes banal, script...Berry, always convincing as the wisest soul on the plantation, would be reason enough to see 'Sugar in Our Wounds'...Thanks to Berry's Aunt Mama, audiences will recall this tale of bigotry and thwarted love for its humor as well as tragedy."
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June 20th, 2018

"Both Berry and Cozine handle their characters with precision and grace. These are two skilled and devoted actors. Their make their performances look easy, which is why we are glued to their every move. In addition, Love has given them the words that drive the play, and their hold on the reins is unwavering."
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June 19th, 2018

“Profoundly moving and groundbreaking...The theme that may get the most buzz but is only one component of this incredibly layered production...A beautiful love story carried out by two completely dedicated actors...Despite the heavy subject matter and themes, Ali’s direction brings out humor, lightness, and relatable universality to the family dynamics...Simple, timeless, magical storytelling at its finest and a beautiful addition to the NY theater scene. It is what the world needs now.”
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June 19th, 2018

"Ali’s direction of the play’s first sex scene is riveting...Uche has far more chemistry with Stewart than Best...Love inadequately explores James’ internalized homophobia...While the two men don’t register much excitement, Berry scores high on the Richter scale when she delivers a surprising monologue on her affairs with other women...Berry carries the show on the shoulders of her earth-grandmother portrayal, a true force of nature in the theater."
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June 25th, 2018

“An unabashed love story between two men, slaves, steeped in magic and mysticism, and armed with lyrical, humorous, and sometimes anachronistic dialogue...Love gives his characters the dignity of their full existence. They are funny despite the terror they face, and want the same things all people want: love, community, and freedom...The play is...both sweet and sad...Bristling with humanity and raw emotion—a welcome reclamation well past due.”
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June 20th, 2018

“Love paints in broad strokes, but draws on Afrocentric narrative traditions to conjure a rich palette. His characters are near archetypes, but tenderly drawn. The ensemble buoys them with flesh and blood, rendering an unlikely romance all the more sweet and its harsh circumstance that much more painful.”
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June 23rd, 2018

“Harrowing new play...Love seamlessly brings together the experience of queer, black America past and present — this tale of slavery, after all, is not set far in the past...It is an artistic, literary and conceptual triumph — not just for the queer black community, but for the greater pursuit of well-made, innovative theater that seeks to tell untold stories — that must be seen...The play is notably led by Berry...She gives a comedic and haunting performance.”
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