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"This reimagined Greek tragedy has clever modern touches that create an original theatrical experience...The cast completely captures the mood and the intensity...'The Briefly Dead' uses an inventive mix of live actors, shadow puppets, and music. It is an entrancing show, an unconventional story that is well suited to the 59E59 Theater's intimate performance space." Full Review
“There's very little at stake...Adding to the difficulty, ‘The Briefly Dead’ is situated in a kind of temporal halfway house in which Greek royalty and supernatural events cohabit with sushi-dinner dates, television broadcasts, and the poems of Plath...The characters gifted neither with heroic stature nor the telling details that would give them psychological shading. Kaliski's dialogue never casts a spell, lacking as it does both the heft of tragedy and a cutting, contemporary wit." Full Review
"The play's uneven style, its confusing, episodic narrative, its thematic vagueness, its unconvincing, meandering dialogue, its feeble humor, and its jumpy, episodic structure…Ostler's direction…gives the play some distinctively theatrical moments…but the play's structural issues aren't helped by her frequently lethargic pacing and lack of dramatic thrust…The writing's many distractingly unclear features…suggest they derive more from arbitrary choices than carefully thought-out ones." Full Review
“Though the ideas displayed in this piece are interesting, they are not executed well. The actors all seem in different plays...The writing is broken up into numerous scenes, so that we never get to the heart and the soul of what the writer wants us to know. It is also confusing when the show breaks into rock numbers for no reason. The Adjusted Realists is a company to watch, but they need to fine-tune their storytelling.” Full Review
“Indulgently quirky...There's nothing wrong with riffing on a classic, but this reimagining values effects over coherence...Anchoring all the whimsy is Zafiropoulos as Alcestis...Forces ancient characters into a world of cheap sushi and Norton anthologies....'The Briefly Dead' is messy...As Alcestis herself says, 'Drag me back from the grave, and you're gonna get some dirt.' In this case, it's actually Zafiropoulos as Alcestis who's immaculate and the rest of the show that needs cleaning up." Full Review
"The existing narrative helps provide a rough idea of the story, but is not enough to ground the play, which is constructed out of numerous scattered scenes that lack a clear connective thread…With its noticeable merits and tentative intentions of making Alcestis into an acerbic satire of a present day certain something, 'The Briefly Dead' seems to falter from having one too many ideas. Yet I do hope there’s more life to the play…It still has the potential to thrive." Full Review
“A riveting debut by writer Stephen Kaliski and Director Elizabeth Ostler...This modernized take of a Greek classic is refreshing and incredibly thought-provoking...’The Briefly Dead’ is filled with analysis on what makes a person a person...Each cast member shines as their Greek figures...In a time when feelings can seem more important than facts, ‘The Briefly Dead’ is a confrontation over how we see the truths of our lives.” Full Review
See it if You have a thing for Greek mythology, are down to wrestle w/ thorny questions of identity & life-vs-death, wanna see fun portrayal of Death
Don't see it if Shoddy acting choices will bother you, you want compelling lead performances
See it if you’re interested in an anti-love story and like exploring new work by young playwrights
Don't see it if you don’t appreciate a lot of sass without a lot of clarity, don't like watching works in progress
See it if You like an interesting, modern take on an old Greek morality tale. The acting is very good and the staging is clever in an intimate space.
Don't see it if You are impatient with existential drama.
See it if You’re a feminist! Really great, predominantly female cast led by a female director, translating an old story into something that feels new.
Don't see it if You aren’t into musicals/want a straight play. There’s more song and dance than you might expect for a play based on classic theater.
See it if you have an interest in history based on myth, enjoy greek drama told in a contemporary manner, want to support new theater.
Don't see it if you are bored with Greek tragedy/comedy, new versions of old stories, only enjoy musicals with lots of action and fancy costumes.
See it if you are interested in seeing an early effort to create a compelling Greek adaptation. Smart staging for that theater, and some fine acting.
Don't see it if you are expecting a cohesive blend of ideas. A lot going on: puppetry, dance, singing... Needs editing, dialogue revision, more mature hand.
See it if you want to be awestruck and filled with a sense of wonder. This play will bring you to the depth of the Underworld and back into the light
Don't see it if You must see it!
See it if You’re looking for a moving piece of theater. Everything about the show is beautifully done, drawing you along the journey of the play.
Don't see it if You’re looking for only a light hearted comedy. It is very funny at points, but also very dramatic and moving.
See it if You’re into twists on classic/ancient texts. Or if you like pithy shows that still have depth and artistic ambition.
Don't see it if You have a hard time following semi-complicated storylines.