Already closed | 1h 30m | Gramercy

The Amateurs

From 104 member  reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Clever, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

About the show

The Vineyard Theatre presents this epic new work from Pulitzer Prize-finalist Jordan Harrison, where an intrepid troupe of pageant players races across medieval Europe, struggling to outrun the Black Death. More…

The arrival of a mysterious new actor sends Hollis, the leading lady, in search of answers that can only be found off-script...and soon one century’s plague begins to look a lot like another, more recent, one. Equal parts comic and heartfelt, 'The Amateurs' examines the evolution of human creativity in a dark age: when does a crisis destroy us, and when does it open new frontiers? Directed by Obie Award-winning director Oliver Butler.

1h 30m | Already closed | Vineyard Theatre (Gramercy)

Member Reviews (104)


Ambitious, Clever, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Disappointing
Avg Score

Banal, Excruciating, Insipid, Great acting, Slow

See it if If you like good acting and 13th century type plays.

Don't see it if The show gets boring, confusing and slow. This piece should not have been brought to stage yet, needs a lot of reworking.

Slow, Clever, Ambitious, Entertaining, Quirky

See it if Very slow start which jump starts in a clever middle section. Lead actress is strong but shows is still a struggle. Very meta.

Don't see it if You need a clear linear plot. Not interested in slightly avant-garde shows.

Enchanting, Epic, Profound, Thought-provoking, Funny

See it if Medieval theater troupe struggles with the black plague and reinventing themselves. Death and renewal in Noah's time, 1350, and 1985.

Don't see it if Act 2 (of 3) is a lecture where the "playwright" explains the historical context (why this play?) and how it relates to modern times.

Also Given the negative reviews on show-score, I almost didn't see this. Ho... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Intelligent, Well acted

See it if Highly conceptual & heady morality drama about past echoing the present & vice versa Excellent ensemble keeps it afloat when ideas balloon

Don't see it if Mid-section diversion a tad too post-ironic & clever; slows pace Some time - travelling metaphors fall flat yet overall often poignant

Ambitious, Dizzying, Resonant, Great writing, Heartfelt

See it if you're interested in the how & why of theater, or what the evocation of a medieval plague might say to us about another, more recent plague.

Don't see it if quick tonal shifts in the theater give you whiplash.

Also A 66-year old gay male New Yorker, I lived through the plague years of... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining

See it if see more

Don't see it if see more

Also caught the closing night . can easily see various viewpoints depending... Read more Read less

Clever, Funny, Intelligent, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if you’re interested in seeing a meta exploration of character, and what it means to write a fully realized part—mixed in with a lot of quirk.

Don't see it if a traditional narrative is more your speed, or you prefer the fourth wall to stay in tact.

Slow, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if Can't recommend this play. Lots of great actors & an amusing part in the middle w/Michael Cyril Creighton. But boring & weird overall.

Don't see it if Maybe I am missing something ... I see there are many good reviews from critics. But I found it pretty slow and hard to watch.

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Confusing, Quirky

See it if You like heady plays that tackle big ideas through the telling of small, intricate stories.

Don't see it if You dislike works that try to express too many ideas, but never focus on a singular theme.

Excruciating, Insipid

See it if You will see any avant-garde performance available.

Don't see it if Cheap set, terrible acting, boring incomprehensible plot, actor comes on stage halfway thru to try to explain what this nonsense is about.

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Too long at 90 minutes

See it if you enjoy seeing plays that seem to be like a first draft. It is hard to imagine what Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern saw in this play.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy a long, ponderous evening at the theatre.

Also The cast—most are NYC theatre treasures—deserve so much better than th... Read more Read less

Hilarious, Great acting, Great staging, Refreshing, Quirky

See it if You like plays within plays in the style of 13th century morality playwrights. Actors fighting to outlive the Black Death. Clever.

Don't see it if You dislike blasphemy, and jokes about the Bible and God. Dislike gallows humor and Monty Python.

Also In the middle of the play, the real... Read more Read less

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like very clever writing, terrific acting, great sets. Story is convoluted and fun.I loved the show within the show within the show.

Don't see it if you are looking for a family drama, a glossy musical or a straight up plot.This play has a lot to say about theatre, AIDS, life. Loved it

Ambitious, Clever, Funny, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if you're interested in a play about the agency of character and the motivation behind storytelling. The meta monologues are best parts.

Don't see it if you don't like direct address to the audience and breaking of fourth wall, you prefer the narrative of a play to flow and build tension.

Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You don't mind yet another AIDS allegory albeit with a fourth wall break which ultimately breaks your heart.

Don't see it if You want a straightforward narrative, you dont like death presented in a rather desperate comic way.

Entertaining, Clever, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if 14th cent. theater troupe performing plays based on the Bible during the years of the Black Plague. Funny & touching moments.

Don't see it if Play is interrupted midway by 2 actors breaking the 4th wall to tell us the play's messages & modern connections - Aids, art, individualism

Also Although the middle speech was humorous & intelligent, I thought it wa... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Cliched, Disappointing, Uneven, Well intentioned

See it if You are interested in metaphor and medieval imagery

Don't see it if You want action or something with real purpose

Interesting, Thought-provoking, Many tonal shifts, Not for everyone

See it if You are an adventurous theatergoer and are willing to keep an open mind.

Don't see it if You don't like it when actors break the fourth wall.

Disappointing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a show that bucks traditional narrative devices. You are in the mood for something dark.

Don't see it if You are a fan of more traditional plays and/or dislike breaking of the fourth wall.

Also I very much enjoyed this show. I enjoyed it for what it was, despite t... Read more Read less

Quirky, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you're a fellow fan of Vineyard championing the offbeat. Difficult to recap w/o reveal. Come away humbled: theatre's a window like no other.

Don't see it if you hate the quirky, tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top, which is on full display here; you need linear, unambiguous plot, resolution, or meaning

Also Post-performance discussion was so helpful in processing this sweetly ... Read more Read less

Loved it

See it if Terrific acting, great set and costumes funny and smart writing. What more could you want? A conventional structure? Well, get over it.

Don't see it if I loved the whole thing. Sort of like watching a great old movie with Robert Osborne giving some interesting background info w/humor.

Clever, Refreshing, Quirky, Funny, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy something different that is funny but philosophical

Don't see it if you want a straightforward piece of theater

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Funny, Thought-provoking

See it if You're into a non-traditionally structured play that takes issues of today and relates them to the past.

Don't see it if You're looking for a standard play in terms of plotting. Or you're turned off by plays about the plague.

Also I very much appreciate Jordan Harrison for not writing the same play o... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if This is a very thoughtful play. Does art have a purpose? What does it contribute? And, you get a bit of history in the bargain. Loved it!

Don't see it if You don't think about the sonnet Ozymandias every so often.

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if You want a night out at a small venue and want to see a new play [as opposed to a revival].It was very disappointing.

Don't see it if You want a finished work that makes you think. You want great theater. This needs more work.

February 27th, 2018
"A hilarious, slightly eggheaded, and strangely moving medieval backstager...A bit heady for a rollicking tragicomedy in which pratfalls and death throes are tumbled together, that is part of the play's unusual scheme...'The Amateurs' works by a kind of indirection. The magic happens, by design, ...
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February 27th, 2018
"Ambitious but inchoate new play...At the halfway mark, Harrison turns the action inside out with a meta theatrical flourish involving two of the actors...To some extent, this section of dramatis interruptus is effective. It has a texture of real life that the medieval sections do not, and it mir...
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March 1st, 2018
"I found myself won over...The stories are vulnerable, raw, funny, sad, and they allow us intimate access to the patchwork of experiences that shaped both playwright and play...Harrison’s heartfelt meta-monologue is the most affecting part of 'The Amateurs.' The play on either side of it is charm...
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February 27th, 2018
"While this breaking of the fourth wall ultimately proves more gimmicky than enlightening, it does at least provide a respite from the tedious goings-on in the main story...While the play features some clever mostly feels lifeless and heavy-handed...Unfortunately, despite the fine pe...
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