Closed 1h 20m
Summer Shorts 2016: Series A
Midtown E
69

Summer Shorts 2016: Series A NYC Reviews and Tickets

69%
(14 Reviews)
Positive
50%
Mixed
43%
Negative
7%
Members say
Entertaining, Quirky, Disappointing, Clever, Edgy

About the Show

This annual festival of new American short plays from top playwrights (like Tony nominee Neil Labute) returns to 59E59 for its 10th consecutive year.

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Member Reviews (14)

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75
Clever, Entertaining, Original, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if You enjoy variety. I loved the characters in Helpers and the unfolding truth in After the Wedding. I thought How It Ends was awful.

Don't see it if You aren't willing to sit through one bad play in order to see two good ones.

50
Great writing (labute), Great acting (after the wedding), Insipid (this is how it ends), Disappointing (the helpers)

See it if you want to enjoy a sharply written and naturally, confidently, effectively acted one-act play by Neil Labute (After the Wedding).

Don't see it if you aren't prepared to sit through a throw-away one-act by Cusi Cram (The Helpers) and an execrable, amateur play by A Rey Pamatmat.

Critic Reviews (12)

July 31st, 2016

“‘After the Wedding’ is the type of one-act play that suggests a larger picture outside of its diminutive frame. The other works in the program are more self-contained...'This Is How It Ends' feels like an extended high-concept joke that emerged from a merry late-night gab session...'The Helpers' is an amuse-bouche...One-act plays are the tapas of the theater world. They can be small and beautiful-but the ones here mostly leave you wanting more."
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July 31st, 2016

“Cram’s 20-minute piece is the least substantial: an anodyne park-bench reunion scene...Neil LaBute’s equally brief but more substantial ‘After the Wedding’...Tautly written, well acted and directed with cool assurance by Maria Mileaf, it delivers a quick and dirty jab...A. Rey Pamatmat’s ‘This Is How It Ends’...Is a hot-messy mix of amorphous theology, outré humor and redemptive gay sex. It’s at once too big and too small to satisfy, but the flavors are certainly bold.”
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August 3rd, 2016

"'The Helpers' is a bittersweet comedy about two captivating characters that shows how difficult it can be to embrace others. It is superbly written and wonderfully performed…In 'After the Wedding' the dialogue is completely compelling and seamlessly delivered...'This is How it Ends' is a well-staged, creative show that uses clever characterizations to develop its theme. The creative team has done a great job of bringing this fascinating variety of plays to the 59E59 stage."
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August 2nd, 2016

"The most amusing piece is also the thinnest: 'The Helpers'...Provides further evidence of Cram's wry way with a line and difficulty with plotting…'After the Wedding' shows the playwright Neil LaBute spinning his wheels...'This Is How It Ends' may have looked good on paper, but it suffers from poor construction and a marked deficit of wit…If these plays were the best of what was available, I shudder to think what else was on tap."
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July 31st, 2016

“The most fully realized, is a small bijou of a work, Cusi Cram's 'The Helpers'...Thanks to smart and often funny dialog and bang-up performances by the players, the play is a touching charmer in every way...A. Rey Pamatmat's ‘This Is How It Ends,’ is a fanciful consideration of the very last day of life...The play is too over-the-top to find its footing...One will make you smile wistfully; one is likely to disturb; and one will possibly leave you scratching your head.”
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August 1st, 2016

“One of the advantages of one-act play festivals is that even if you don’t like all of the offerings, you are certain to like at least one. Unfortunately, the three that make up 'Summer Shorts: Series A' are all a disappointment. This is particularly surprising considering one of the plays is by the usually reliable Neil LaBute. All of the new works in this evening seem like either pieces of longer plays yet to come or undeveloped ideas that have not been fleshed out.”
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August 3rd, 2016

"In ‘The Helpers’ despite naturalistic direction, the play attempts to move too far, too fast…In LaBute's 'After the Wedding' the dialogue here is typically fast and clever, with direction and acting to match…'This is How It Ends’ stands in noted contrast...There's something intriguing about how out-there this play is...The cohesion between all three pieces feels rocky, and Series A totals up as an uneven collection, leaving you more weary of the one-act rather than energized by it. "
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August 2nd, 2016

"LaBute’s ‘After The Wedding’ is a seductive and disturbing bit of sleight of hand…Labute’s pen is still lethal and his aim true. The other two plays do not fare nearly as well…Burke and Dubliner do everything they can to keep ‘The Helpers’ afloat, but it is not enough to keep our interest...In ‘This Is How It Ends’ Mr. Pamatmat’s writing rises to the level of an original high school play, and these actors carry out their duties as well as they can. Mr. Iskander’s direction is no help."
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July 31st, 2016

“The plays in Series A are Cusi Cram’s ‘The Helpers,’ Neil LaBute’s ‘After the Wedding,’ and A. Rey Pamatmat’s ‘This Is How it Ends.’ All are performed on Rebecca Lord-Surratt’s elegantly simple unit set using translucent upstage screens that can form varying backgrounds. As the audience waits for the show to begin, a time-lapse film shows the construction of the set. Apart from LaBute's engrossing but flawed play, the video is the most fulfilling part of the production.”
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B
August 14th, 2016

“‘The Helpers’: It’s a brief character sketch that doesn’t go very deep. The acting is adequate as is the direction by Jessi D. Hill…‘The Wedding’:Since this is LaBute, there is some sexual content. The actors are convincing and Maira Mileaf’s direction is smooth…‘How it Ends’: The plot is too disjointed to make much sense although director Ed Sylvanus Iskander bravely tries.”
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W
August 1st, 2016

“‘The Helpers:’ dialogue feels natural as delivered by two low-key, credible actors who deserve better. Jessi D. Hill’s direction is comfortably realistic…‘After the Wedding:’ This is the most successful of the three slight plays...Mileaf creates overlapping rhythms essential to flow while showing sufficient glimpses of feeling to keep narrative from becoming a novel exercise…‘This Is How It Ends:’ Were it not for some moderately engaging turns...the show would be a loud sleeper.”
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U
August 5th, 2016

"Two two-handers begin the evening, with a spectacular multi-scene, myth-meets-human 'end of time' extravaganza to round out the marvelous programs...Cusi Cram‘s gives an actor’s exercise delightful shape in 'The Helpers'...'After the Wedding' is a great a nuanced surprise...The playwrights, directors, designers, and performers address past harms, understanding, and forgiveness on professional, deeply personal, and mythic scales. All in three bite-size powerful one-act packages."
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