Closed 1h 55m
The Antipodes
Midtown W
72

The Antipodes NYC Reviews and Tickets

72%
(169 Reviews)
Positive
63%
Mixed
24%
Negative
13%
Members say
Great acting, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Indulgent

About the Show

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker returns for the second production of her Signature Theatre residency with this world premiere play, directed by Lila Neugebauer.

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Member Reviews (169)

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85
Ambitious, Confusing, Great acting, Great staging, Quirky

See it if Cryptic yet fascinating drama about a showrunner & his minions Classic Baker format - simplicity writ large Expert direction by Neugebauer

Don't see it if Even Baker fans (myself) will find play a bit opaque Could lose 20 mins & still retain message Superb cast carries us through rough patches

65
Disappointing, Funny, Indulgent, Quirky

See it if an attempt to explain our media industry . Some folks will find it fascinating (but......see below)

Don't see it if Just not our kind of show. Too wordy in parts, Too softly spoken in spots. too quiet in spots.. no stand out acting

Critic Reviews (36)

April 23rd, 2017

"Annie Baker’s in-all-ways fabulous new play...Ms. Baker delivers a complete and confident narrative...As directed with a time-blurring seamlessness by Lila Neugebauer, and acted by a perfectly blended ensemble of nine, 'The Antipodes' leaves you glowing with a wondering satisfaction. I mean the happy satiety that comes from being in the hands of a real right-brain/left-brain author who channels her ineffable instincts with a master artisan’s practical skills."
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April 23rd, 2017

"You’ve heard Hemingway’s blunt formula for writing: 'All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.' Annie Baker’s characters more or less follow that advice in 'The Antipodes,' her latest intensely vivid hypnotizing act disguised as a play...This hermetic premise—executed with gimlet-eyed flair by director Lila Neugebauer—gives Baker (and the audience) permission to view narrative in all its tangled, self-consuming oddness. The cast is a dream team of weird-play wranglers."
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April 23rd, 2017

"Not to say it is sour or mean; the production, beautifully directed by Neugebauer, is just too thoughtful to settle for unkindness. So are the uniformly excellent actors...Some of the digressions and hermetic annotations feel a bit unprocessed...Baker is too thoughtful a playwright to make any two hours spent with her characters unedifying. The pinprick insights...are sharp and often hilarious. Still, I wonder whether 'The Antipodes' will eventually prove to be have been a transitional piece."
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April 23rd, 2017

"Despite its amusingly pungent dialogue and the expert performances, 'The Antipodes' ultimately feels as stifling as being trapped in a conference room during an interminable meeting. Neugebauer works hard to overcome the material’s inherently static nature...Baker’s writing proves provocative and insightful. But she seems to be straining too hard here for a significance that feels unearned. This play about storytelling might have benefited from having an actual story."
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April 23rd, 2017

"Baker’s writing this time is patchy, ranging from moments of bravura inspiration and humor to the humdrum...Ultimately, we’re waiting for a thematic crescendo that never arrives...Thanks to the ensemble, the journey never feels like too much of a slog...Director Neugebauer ably keeps the material alive...'The Antipodes,' echoing its own plot, is essentially an Annie Baker spitball session. And she’s built enough trust to throw an experiment our way, even if it doesn’t stick to the wall."
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April 24th, 2017

"When good playwrights are unable to write, they sometimes write bad plays about being unable to write. Annie Baker, who is normally a very good writer, has written such a play in 'The Antipodes'...The exercise is painful for these brain-dead writers, but pure torture for audiences...The only other interesting story doesn’t come until near the end of the play. That leaves a lot of dead stage time to be filled with superficial thoughts about Time and Space and cabbages and kings."
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May 2nd, 2017

“‘The Antipodes’ proceeds at a glacial pace that seems to grow slower and slower as the play goes on and on…It’s not that Ms. Baker is unable to write striking dialogue, but the total effect is abusive of the attention span in a way that I find barely endurable...It’s pretty damned obvious, not to mention tedious—and did I already say 'pretentious'? If not, it’s that, too. Lila Neugebauer, the director, exhibits an uncanny knack for juggling large casts...The actors are all very good."
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April 23rd, 2017

"Baker moves beyond the easy target of the entertainment industry to satirize the cultural mystification surrounding the art of storytelling...The play, filled with eccentric touches from the start, gets stranger as it goes along...'The Antipodes' feels like a transitional play...The dramatic journey, delightful in its micro moments, keeps doubling back on itself in a way that is ultimately more intellectually intriguing than theatrically satisfying."
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April 23rd, 2017

"Baker is looking at the way stories get told in the 21st century...As commentary, 'The Antipodes' is one of the most fascinating plays of the season. Baker's message is clear and universal for any medium: Without diversity, all of the stories we tell will eventually be so similar it will be hard to differentiate between them. But as a play itself, Baker's style is a little too oblique, and filmed with a little too much mythology that doesn't seem to add up to anything."
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May 1st, 2017

"Baker works her pointillist magic: Giving us only a handful of details, we grasp the network of relationships and power plays unfolding underneath the largely deadpan action...Baker has a highly sympathetic director in Neugebauer, who highlights each telling detail with laser-like intensity...Despite the highly disciplined production, 'The Antipodes' seemingly lacks the rigor of Baker's earlier works...Baker's many strengths are on display, but this time they aren't put to their best use."
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April 23rd, 2017

"Things become less normal as the play unfolds, yet Baker keeps them anchored to a universe we recognize; their plights may be unfamiliar, but the demons they're fighting are all too familiar...These artists go all the way with it, and that's a big part of why 'The Antipodes' works so well. Baker's relentless writing leaves you feeling as trapped and as vulnerable as the writers...The entire cast is excellent; each rips through choice moments with masterful skill...A rip-roaring success."
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April 25th, 2017

“Peculiarly undramatic. Every signature Annie Baker quirk is here: the odd, affectless characters (who here reveal themselves to be boring instead of complex and sympathetic), long silences (here vacant rather than pregnant), plot tangents that intrigue (but here veer off into oblivion)...During the course of two hours we watch a fine cast, under the dreary direction of Lila Neugebauer, with too little to do…Where is the ravishing and heartbreaking popcorn sweeping of ‘The Flick?’”
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April 28th, 2017

“Every new play by Annie Baker is a marvel over the play before. It's been nothing less than a privilege to accompany her on her journey, as she has been joining ranks with the best American playwrights. Part of what makes Baker the ‘best,’ is that she has her own voice. Whether with ‘Circle-Mirror Transformation,’ ‘The Flick,’ or her latest and current, ‘The Antipodes,’ Baker seems to devote a certain amount of attention to group dynamics, which is, after all, the basis of any drama.”
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April 23rd, 2017

"In true Baker style, nothing grand happens throughout the entirety of 'The Antipodes,' and by doing so, the piece is all the more delicious...In telling a story about people telling a story, Baker exposes time in new ways...Those less familiar with Baker's work, or less on board with her style, might easily walk out wondering what they have just seen. Annie Baker has created her most self-aware work yet, with every thought being simultaneously literal and allegorical."
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May 6th, 2017

“Baffling, riveting, and ultimately rewarding…The storytelling grows increasingly bizarre…A tense, tantalizing two-hours, deftly directed by Lila Neugebauer…I won’t reveal the play’s punch line – it’s well worth waiting for. Suffice it to say that Baker’s brilliant play succeeds on two levels. On one, it’s a scathing satire on the storytelling industry…On a deeper level, it’s an existential inquiry into the essence of stories.”
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April 23rd, 2017

"'The Antipodes' moves along slowly, with lots of pauses and little real dramatic action. But the dialogue she's written is clear and contemporary...Since the script has no clearly defined story line or theme, it is, in short, a head-scratcher...The Joycean surrealism tends to be more challenging than consistently engaging. Fortunately, director Neugebauer does tap into the humor as well as the play's bafflingly dark underside. And she's got a very capable cast to help her do so."
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April 24th, 2017

"Baker is playing with ideas–space, time–is it horizontal, vertical or a spiral–possibility, relativity, possibility–and this is a smart writer who introduces subjects like a card dealer slapping down cards in Vegas. But the velocity and density of the changing subjects makes the writing too clever by half. Nothing connects. Not these fine actors (seriously excellent performances all around), not these characters, not the stories and not the situation."
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May 1st, 2017

"Just as smart, engaging, and strange as her earlier works...The ensemble cast is fine across the board, but I especially liked Josh Hamilton as an earnest member of the team...Another standout is Emily Cass McDonnell as Eleanor, the team’s sole female participant. It’s Eleanor’s final speeches that lend 'The Antipodes’' gloomy conclusions about the future of storytelling a faint glimmer of optimism, and McDonnell manages to give them a sense of benediction."
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B
April 23rd, 2017

"Essentially a fantasia on storytelling...The stories that comprise most of the evening have no narrative arc that I could detect; nor do they really tell much about the characters who relate them. The relationships among the various writers go virtually unexplored. There are flashes of humor...What there is not is a cohesive plot or fully developed characters. I suspect that the playwright had more fun coming up with ways to tease the audience than the audience has watching the play."
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April 24th, 2017

"The play is intriguingly staged by Lila Neugebauer...Some viewers will likely complain that the numerous stories don’t 'add up,' leading us nowhere. But that, I dare say, is Baker’s point...Man and his inner monster, upside down and in his opposite (anti) feet (podes), fighting to see which turns out to be real. Another provocative, deep dish Annie Baker play."
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T
May 20th, 2017

“Strange and unexpectedly affecting…The action is deceptively simple as is Lila Neugebauer’s invisible direction and the naturalistic acting of the brilliant nine-member company…An insightful journey tracking the creative process…Phillip James Brannon expertly delivers a seemingly endless, weird creation-myth monologue, Danny Mastrogiorgio and Josh Charles evoke macho to perfection…Their voyage is a fascinating gripping one.“
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April 29th, 2017

"To tell their stories, Baker's characters invoke all kinds of rituals, from the mundane to the mystical...Even though not much happens, it is funny and even suspenseful. Under the deft direction of Lila Neugebauer, the acting is also terrific...This is an ensemble piece and each actor creates a distinct individual recognizable to anyone who's ever been trapped in the purgatory of an office meeting. And maybe the decisively enigmatic 'The Antipodes' is about that too."
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April 23rd, 2017

"Engrossing and head-scratching...The actors, commendably, are utterly enveloped in the material...The stories the characters tell are great, but their point—beyond emphasizing the power or not of storytelling—is more than baffling, and after a while you may long for a glimmer of light or some elucidation...By the end it is about the impotence of storytelling, and its limitations...But we still don’t know what wider story the stories have been in the service of. "
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April 24th, 2017

"Though the action unfolds gnomically under Lila Neugebauer’s Pinteresque direction, the underlying point of these motley exchanges seems clear. Whereas work used to be about making or doing things, now the most valuable commodity we have to offer is ourselves...The results can be a test of theatrical endurance, particularly when the characters themselves begin to nod off on stage. But that willfully soporific episode is also consistent with the play’s deadpan humour."
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T
May 11th, 2017

"A carefully crafted existential take on everyday existence, on the things humans do to get by, from eating and drinking to having sex, from going to work and communicating with others to dealing with life’s little problems...Director Lila Neugebauer makes every movement count, never allowing the narrative flow to drag...'The Antipodes' is another exceptional play from one of the theater’s finest minds, a writer who is never afraid of going for the revolutionary in her work."
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April 23rd, 2017

"'The Antipodes' is among the stronger of these plays, rather modestly suggesting amidst all its grandeur that art, and in particular mythology, exists simply to make sense for the subject of its relation to others and to the world around it."
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April 25th, 2017

"Alternately brilliant and boring; quietly touching and madly self-indulgent...For awhile, 'The Antipodes,' unfolds as a sharp, if obvious satire of corporate culture...But as the drama unfolds...the play becomes a cryptic meditation on—well, therein lies the problem...Make no mistake, there are moments of startling beauty here...But what of it? When a work is this deliberately vague and open-ended—when it can mean anything—it eventually comes to feel like a whole lot of nothing."
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April 23rd, 2017

"There's little in the way of conventional plot or forward momentum, just a collection of characters telling each other stories...It’s a playfully compelling piece but there are also darker apocalyptic undercurrents as reports come from the world beyond the hermetically sealed one we’re in. The drama, such as it is, comes from the delicate interplay of the actors. Director Lila Neugebauer orchestrates them with nuance and feeling...A meticulous meditation on the art of storytelling."
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April 25th, 2017

“It's a paradoxical, puzzling, compellingly hypnotic work…Baker doesn't explicate; she lets her characters speak their piece and leaves us to parse the results…The incessant feeling of an impending cataclysm seems impossible to shake off. Neugebauer's actors all catch the play's eerie dualistic quality with perfect pitch. Despite their flesh-and-blood tangibility, I can't escape the persistent feeling that I dreamt the whole thing.”
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Z
April 25th, 2017

“Lots of questions, not a whole lot of answers. Actually, no answers at all...There’s a compelling ‘round-the-campfire feel…It would all be fine—especially since every performance is terrific and the stories are often alarmingly compelling—except eventually all that waiting starts to wear. Yes, we tell each other stories to make sense of life...But unlike life—where we never really get to see how it all turns out—I want my theater to be a bit clearer. There are tons of plots here, but no plot."
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June 3rd, 2017

"'The Antipodes' is a distasteful play...This is banal, pretentious theater...Any of these stories could be profound/exciting/illuminating in the hands of a fine writer...But there are no fine writers here and that’s not how these stories are meant to be told...There’s some implication that civilization is at a dead end, and there are no more stories. There are always stories—just looks like Baker couldn’t think of one."
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May 3rd, 2017

“I enjoyed myself immensely and appreciated the world and characters created, but I was ready for the play to be over when it ended…There was so much truth and humor in the interaction between the writers…The cast was also spectacular, working as a unit, yet each taking their moment in the spotlight and running with it. Baker is so expert at creating realistic people with just a few brush strokes, and these actors build on those brush strokes beautifully.”
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April 25th, 2017

"This simple setup proves a fertile launching pad for Baker’s fevered imagination...'The Antipodes' is her shortest play in a while, but the densest thematically...Now that everyone’s lived experience has been turned into a story...how can anyone know what’s real and what’s performance?...The irony of exploring this tension through a performance is not lost on Baker; she embraces it throughout, gleefully, as the characters’ stories grow stranger and more elaborate."
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April 27th, 2017

"I loved every minute of the first hour, which is full of Baker’s magical, mordant wit and, like the best of her work, constantly destabilizing...Neugebauer’s production strikes the perfect naturalistic note—before departing from it...There are many wonderful things in 'The Antipodes.' But as the show went on, I felt a sense of Baker losing her way. A monologue for one of the two female characters starts like gangbusters, but goes on too long—much the same could be said of 'The Antipodes.'"
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T
May 24th, 2017

"The drama is a satire—taken to the point of surreal exaggeration—of the nature of commercial storytelling...A dim view of corporate (mostly male) storytelling...The wayward group of writers is played by a marvelous ensemble cast...Nicole Rodenburg is so hilarious that the performance draws spontaneous applause. In fact, she plays the only character in the play that generates a coherent narrative...Attempts to come up with ideas often descend into the unreal."
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April 24th, 2017

"I found it to be simply extraordinary. It’s a rarified experience, so much so that I would hesitate before actually recommending it to anyone...Her grasp on the surreal and abstract is arguably as strong or stronger than any other author of the last century...It certainly doesn’t hurt that the premiere production is as gorgeous as the play itself...Neugebauer’s staging is both unendingly creative visually and features an ensemble cast with an almost impossible level of precision."
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