The Death of the Last Black Man in the Entire World
Closed 1h 15m
The Death of the Last Black Man in the Entire World

The Death of the Last Black Man in the Entire World NYC Reviews and Tickets

(86 Ratings)
Members say
Confusing, Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

About the Show

Signature Theatre presents Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks' satirical exploration of how race and stereotype figure throughout history and literature.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (86)

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161 Reviews | 26 Followers
Absorbing, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Masterful

See it if you are open to a non-linear difficult-to-comprehend immersive experience that is, dare I say, transformative.

Don't see it if you're looking to merely be entertained or want to understand concretely what just happened to you immediately without giving yourself time. Read more

63 Reviews | 15 Followers
Dizzying, Great acting, Edgy, Great staging, Resonant

See it if you enjoy a tight, precise ensemble, you enjoy poetry, you don't mind being challenged.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with racial stereotypes, you need an immediately clear, linear plot, you don't enjoy repetition or repetition. Read more

536 Reviews | 279 Followers
Absorbing, Ambitious, Hypnotic, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in one of Suzan-Lori Parks' early plays, brought up to date with some striking imagery. Stunning staging!

Don't see it if you need a solid beginning, middle, and end. Imagery is what is important here.

152 Reviews | 34 Followers
Masterful, Resonant, Great staging, Ambitious, Profound

See it if you can sit back and let this extraordinary work "happen to you" without "getting" everything. An expressionistic history lesson.

Don't see it if you expect a traditional linear play that let's you understand every moment. This is a jazz theme and variation of African American history Read more

273 Reviews | 200 Followers
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Painful

See it if You admire the works of SUZAN-LORI PARKS. You like historical drama with and emotional edge. You appreciate great acting and imagery.

Don't see it if You are looking for a fluffy night out. You are uninterested in racial relations in our country. You are unprepared to sit with confusion.

441 Reviews | 88 Followers
Absorbing, Clever

See it if A new vehicle for a dramatic play. This is a beautifully written play with an historical perspective of the African- American .

Don't see it if Do not attend if you are interested only in light musicals

180 Reviews | 44 Followers
Ambitious, Dizzying, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Intense

See it if you enjoy non-linear stream of consciousness storytelling

Don't see it if you require a narrative structure and don't like experimental work. Read more

80 Reviews | 39 Followers
Clever, Great staging, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You like theater that is thought provoking and avant-garde in its presentation.

Don't see it if You need to have a linear narrative and don't like theater that is more experimental in nature.

Critic Reviews (29)

The New York Times
November 13th, 2016

"Hypnotic staging by Lileana Blain-Cruz...Those familiar with only Parks' more recent work may be rattled by the lack of any narrative foothold here...A combination of willful opacity and obvious symbolism, 'Death' can feel tedious if you strain to make sense of it. (It sometimes feels like a senior semiotics project.) But if you give yourself over to the sensory flow of Ms. Blain-Cruz’s production, the play acquires the eerie inevitability of a fever dream from which there is truly no waking."
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Time Out New York
November 13th, 2016

"A jazzy, poetic fever dream about the wounds left by erasure on the book of history, this 1990 piece seems especially shocking when you consider the grotesque chapter our country’s chroniclers are about to inscribe...This is not an easy play to dissect or digest...It’s a jagged, angry, weird text, yet director Lileana Blain-Cruz stages it in high style, with a skin-prickling soundscape (including dance-break music that’s aggressively fun) and a raft of brave in-your-face performances."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
November 15th, 2016

"It’s most useful to approach it as jazz…Phrases repeat and transmogrify, creating the odd feeling of development without clarity; you never even settle into a location or time…You see how Parks invented her voice years ago by applying enough pressure to words to crack them…Parks wants to see what’s on the other side of language, and of history. On the evidence of this production, superbly directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, it may not be pretty, or even coherent, but it’s beautiful."
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New Yorker
November 28th, 2016

"This exceptional production is directed by a great new talent, Lileana Blain-Cruz...The overlong full title tells us what it’s about, but not what it’s really about, which is language—the rich sound and implications of black English...Various characters take the stage individually but also move en masse: they are ideas about blackness clustering together, then separating, like beautiful molecules."
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New York Daily News
November 17th, 2016

"There are lots of obvious ways to die—like lynching, suffocation, electrocution. But there’s also erasure—and that’s even more insidious. That seems to be what Suzan-Lori Parks is saying in this 1990 meditation on mortality, history and race...It's bold and striking, but frustrating. One is left to grapple and wonder, What's going on? Then again, maybe that’s her point."
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November 13th, 2016

"Handsomely staged, evocative revival...Your response to the work might parallel how you feel about a free-form jazz session, one filled with meditative riffs and theatrical flourishes...The charismatic presence of the acting company and the hypnotic precision of Blain-Cruz’ direction help in the beguilement, but it can still be a challenge for the talented company to create an emotional bond longer than lasts longer than an impulse."
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The Hollywood Reporter
November 13th, 2016

"Despite an excellent production, this frustratingly oblique and elliptical play never comes into focus...Although the piece works on a certain visceral level, its failure to communicate its intellectual themes in remotely coherent fashion diminishes its intended power. It's certainly no fault of the performers...While one can certainly admire the literary and theatrical ambitions of this deliberately challenging play, it's a lot harder to actually enjoy it."
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November 14th, 2016

"It holds your feet right to the fire, forcing a reflection on the recorded history (or lack thereof) of African-American heritage with a nonlinear story that is difficult to parse...If you're up for a mental and emotional challenge, Parks' poetic one-act is worth meditating on at this unsettled social and political juncture...We're left to wander aimlessly around the play without a map or key. Even within this obscure narrative, Roslyn Ruff's stunning performance registers loud and clear."
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