“Very little rings true…in the writing, staging, or performances. The Nazis…are the sociopathic stereotypes we've seen in countless movies; I wish I'd counted how many times a Luger was whipped out and pointed as a way to settle a dispute. The rambling, suspense-challenged plot, filled with superficial characters and unpersuasive developments, fails to dig deeper than its litany of familiar Nazi cruelties…Act Two, in particular, is a pileup of dramaturgy that's gone off the rails.” Full Review
"Bad commemorative art...The two-act play is a collection of hollow histrionics...Tolkien doesn’t fulfill his obvious good intentions, his shortfall not needing lengthy description here...Tolkien directed, once again proving that very few playwrights are adept at directing their own works...It’s often said that the Holocaust is impossible to dramatize. 'Terezin' will give no one the opportunity to argue otherwise." Full Review
“Tolkien is the author and also the director, and neither of which does he do well. For over two and half hours this overstuffed, confusing mess of a play struggles to find its ground...There are also historical problems with this work. The cast is terribly uneven…Even the directing here is odd…Plays about the Holocaust are important so we never forget, but that doesn’t mean we need to forget artistic integrity.” Full Review
"The tragic story of the people at Terezin is certainly a worthwhile subject, and Tolkien's play has merit. However, it needs further development. The staging is somewhat stylized, which only distanced me from creating an emotional connection with the characters...Least effective is the use of actors playing ghosts at various times throughout the play...For the most part, the actors do a good job with the material given and with their difficult accents." Full Review
“A shawl is used to simulate playing the violin while we hear the accompanying music. That is one of the most successful touches. But other examples of the approach are strained…Such surrealism is intrusive and unconvincing, even muddling…The ensemble cast excels in getting into the overall mood of the play…However, as sincere as this effort...is, the style of the production sometimes impedes evoking emotions connected to what we see, even though the horrors are forcefully referenced.” Full Review
“Can any playwright, no matter how talented, adequately dramatize the agony of millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust, or, for that matter, any of history's holocausts that have been visited upon entire populations with mind-boggling frequency? I don't think so, but the grim, unremittingly depressing ‘Terezin,’ written and directed by Nicholas Tolkien (the Jewish great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien) makes an honest, if ultimately unsuccessful, stab at it.” Full Review
“What makes Tolkien’s production a mesmerizing work is in how its characters rise above the brutality and sadistic mania of their captors...The ensemble’s work together is just terrific. The themes of Terezin are outstanding…Additional elements that make this production memorable are the stylized and symbolic effects…These directorial nuances and choices by the artistic team elevate this work to a fine artistic symmetry and create a poetic dramatic design.” Full Review
“Throughout the first act, the production careens between sequences of compelling emotion and awkwardly paced, ineffective scenes. The stylized delivery and dialogue and symbolic imagery, intermittently touching and powerful, are too often overwrought and, at times, confusing. Despite the horrific story, powerful performances, and evocative music and sound, there’s a hollowness to the production, as if it were a puppet show staged for children.” Full Review
"It certainly can be said that Tolkien does not trivialize the Holocaust...However, the thickness of the narrative–blurred further at times by directorial flourishes–does dilute the visceral impact of the depicted terrors of Terezin. Also, there is an uneven quality to some of the portrayals in the 14-person cast...Despite its imperfections, it demonstrates enough passion and talent that would have hopefully made both Nicholas’s Roman Catholic great-grandfather and Redlich proud." Full Review
“Tolkien bites off more than he can chew...Too much time is given over to the family dysfunction of the commandant and his son, which plays more like soap opera than tragedy. The dialogue varies between anachronistic and ham-fisted…All of these issues stem from the core problem of attempting to cram in too much material so that shorthand, indication, and stereotypes are needed to move us from Point A to Point B. There is, however, a good play lying here, waiting to be born." Full Review
“'Terezin' is a call to remember. I appreciate a work of art that insists we fulfill an ethical responsibility, though the performance unsurprisingly is difficult and heavy…The play is clearly meant to be brutal…Tolkien’s writing finds its full expression in the monologues, which contain an unexpected gravity and poetic imagery. They are performed deftly and with professional commitment by the large cast…The choreography is sparing but clear, at times evocative and consistently impassioned.” Full Review
“The play is based very much based on reality…As expected, the end is not a happy one, though the playwright brought a butterfly into the moment perhaps to shed light and create hope just as the original poem tried so hard to do. Tolkien incorporates music and dance in the play, and the actors are all passionate and expressive…The set, costumes and lighting are bare and stripped down to tell this haunting, true story.” Full Review
See it if You're somehow compelled to see all plays that deal with the Holocaust, regardless of quality, intent or reason for existing.
Don't see it if You value your time, or want something more than simplistic melodrama.
See it if Terezin is the story of the Jews trying to survive in a concentration camp. Very well-acted and staged, but grim..
Don't see it if you want a comedy. The posters show the girl playing a violin; onstage a long scarf replaced the violin. Since it is such an important
See it if you can't get hold of Diary of Anne Frank, Schindler's List, The Pianist, Judgment at Nuremberg, or the like.
Don't see it if unless you buy into goldfish being the reincarnation of parents savagely killed by Nazis.
See it if A Topic that must be presented again and again... Interesting use of the stage and props. At least 3 in the cast must thank N.Y.U..
Don't see it if When upstage several of the actors do not project enough. A presentation not for the faint of heart.. My partner had to skip Act 2.
See it if you appreciate Holocaust stories and art.
Don't see it if you have no interest in the Holocaust, and are not moved by typical Holocaust dramas, even though this is more powerful than most.
See it if The writer/director Tolkien, and the very talented cast have depicted the cruelty, deception, and the annihilation of Jewish adults and
Don't see it if you can handle play about concentration camps.
See it if If you are interested in holocaust and like innovative direction of plays
Don't see it if You are quite knowledgeable about holocaust and are looking for some unknown information .
See it if you are interested in seeing a stylized, experimental, but sometimes overdone production about the concentration camp/ghetto Terezin.
Don't see it if you have difficulty watching scenes that deal with the brutality of the Holocaust portrayed through many plot lines & inconsistent accents.
See it if You are writing a research project about Holocaust-themed theater. Otherwise, don't. From start to finish it is cliched and poorly written,
Don't see it if You value your time or the dignity of the theater. I was shocked that Playwrights Horizons let this in the door.
See it if you're interested in theatrical depictions of the Holocaust to the extent that you forgive something indulgently written and ineptly staged.
Don't see it if you're looking for professional work. This one is only of note because of its fascinating subject matter and handful of decent performances.
See it if You like plays set against historic events. You want to see the Tolkien play. You know someone involved in the production.
Don't see it if You want a Holocaust play w/something new to say. You want multi-dimensional characters, good storytelling & acting skills.
See it if You have a desire to see any and all productions about the holocaust; want to hear a lesser known story
Don't see it if You want a tight plot, compelling writing, or strong direction; however, the actors are committed to this very flawed play
See it if You want to experience what life was like in a concentration camp. Acting, staging and set design were stupendous. Tearful, heart-wrenching
Don't see it if If you want to smile and laugh. You don't like painful topics or stories about the 3rd Reich
See it if you are interested in a theatrical recount of generally real events at a lesser known Holocaust concentration camp, profound poetry/ insight
Don't see it if you demand perfection in plot and play structure, tight writing, dramatic tension, stark/shocking realism & no anachronisms/tired metaphors
See it if Bravo to a cast that is fully on-board to a relentlessly bleak play from start to finish; choreo has occasional moments approaching beauty
Don't see it if Difficult to endure; so dark as if reality of Terezin history couldn't allow for any redemption
See it if J.R.R. Tolkein's magnetism is so powerful for you that you'd even attend a deeply flawed drama by his great-grandson.
Don't see it if you've ever seen Jerzy Grotowski or read Elie Wiesel or heard Felix Mendelssohn. There are plenty of other options on this same block.
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