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Summer Shorts 2017: Series A

From 11 member  reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Clever, Absorbing

About the show

This annual festival of new American short plays returns to 59E59 for its 11th consecutive year. More…

The festival's two series consist of three plays each. See the lineup for Series B.

'Playing God' by Alan Zweibel, directed by Maria Mileaf: Unhappy that a brazen doctor fudged the due date of a pregnant woman's baby because of his vacation, God decides to put him in his place.

'Jack' by Melissa Ross, directed by Mimi O'Donnell: Maggie and George and Jack have been inseparable best friends since college. But when Maggie and George divorce, Jack is the only thing holding them together. Until suddenly he isn't. A play about growing up, growing apart, and letting go of your first love.

'Acolyte' by Graham Moore, directed by Alexander Dinelaris: Young marrieds and Ayn Rand devotees find themselves in over their heads when one of her weekly Saturday night discourses on philosophy takes a surprisingly personal turn.

Member Reviews (11)


Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Clever, Absorbing
Avg Score

Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy a varied program of short plays that are well-performed. I liked it better than Series B.

Don't see it if you prefer full-evening works.

Also The evening is a big improvement over last year's series. A nice blend... Read more Read less

Clever, Intelligent, Great writing, Uneven

See it if you like to see new works, especially short plays that create an entire world in a very short time. 2 of the 3 plays were wonderful.

Don't see it if you aren't willing to suffer through a dud play (the last piece was a bore) in order to see 2 gems. Loved the first 2.

Intelligent, Overrated, Huge differences in quality

See it if you’ll sit through two tedious shorts in order to get to a third, really well crafted one in which Ayn Rand spars w/ intellectual inferiors

Don't see it if you won't google Rand before the show. First 2 shorts are negligible so if the subject of the 3rd doesn’t interest, don't go

Also Surprised it's a NYT critic’s pick. Only 1 of 3 shorts in Series A is ... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You appreciate the craft of the short play that still provides full dramatic experiences.

Don't see it if You want full-length plot intricacies.

Also Two strong offerings--one emotional, the other thought-provoking. Even... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Dated, Dizzying, Edgy, Great staging

See it if You like small "in-the-works" theatre. "Jack" was the most decent of the 3. "Playing God" was funny, but, could be tweaked... The 3rd felt

Don't see it if Dated and pretentious... Overall, decent work, but, the 90-min felt dragged... I'll be seeing "Series B" next week.. We'll see how that goes

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if you like plays that personify God; you want to see the top notch Yale Sch of Drama MFA '17 grad Bronte England-Nelson in a meaty role.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy short plays; you don't want to see 3 plays that aren't connected

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You enjoy seeing new work, short play format and excellent acting. All three plays were interesting, original and wonderfully performed.

Don't see it if You don't like dramatic or off Broadway theatre.


See it if You like small theater environment with 3 short, but absorbing plays. An inexpensive evening of really good theather.

Don't see it if you want the pomp and circumstance of a big production.

During previews
Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy one-act plays with widely divergent topics, from serious to humorous; each is unique and has its own merits/faults.

Don't see it if you dislike short plays without a central theme; you are a dog lover who cries easily; you are a staunch Catholic; you avoid philosophy.

During previews
A mix of shows from light to grim

See it if You have an evening to kill. It is summer, and you want diversion, but don't require meaty powerful unforgettable theater.

Don't see it if You expect to spend dinner afterwards ruminating over what you just saw.

Also They didn't even bother to list the actors in these shows, just the pr... Read more Read less

During previews
Cliched, Disappointing, Fast-paced, Polished, Uneven

See it if your prerequisites are early start, early exit, no intermission, and a little variety. Graham Moore's "Acolyte" will make you glad you went.

Don't see it if you'd like your evening of one-acts to have a thematic through line and be made of short plays more than skits or mini-sitcoms.

August 1st, 2017
“‘Acolyte’ is so tantalizing that you want to know more about what happened, yet it also works perfectly in 30 tight minutes…‘Jack’ is a seemingly lighthearted piece that lands quite the emotional punch...Ms. Ross sometimes flirts with cutesiness but always stops short, and she neatly captures th...
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July 30th, 2017
"Each of its three playlets takes a situation and diminishes it: We get an inert story about grief, a psychosexual talkfest that builds to an anticlimax, and a divine retribution plot with no thunder...Ross seems a draft away from done. Moore offers ‘Acolyte,’ a one-act burdened with an easy targ...
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July 30th, 2017
"Ross’s play ‘Jack’ puts a sweet, hyperrealistic magnifying glass to a moment of closure between a divorced couple...Ross understands that dance well and maneuvers her characters through it with humor and sincerity...Zweibel's sketchlike comedy ‘Playing God’...Some of the silliness falls flat, bu...
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August 2nd, 2017
“A superb variety of wonderfully performed pieces with moments that will make you laugh and touch your heart. The shows are tailor-made for your summer viewing…‘Playing God’ is a very clever and thoroughly enjoyable play…Edgy, yet amusing, ‘Acolyte’ is a well-conceived, thought-provoking show…An ...
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