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The Glory of the World

The Glory of the World NYC Reviews and Tickets

(20 Reviews)
Members say
Entertaining, Confusing, Indulgent, Great staging, Ambitious

About the Show

BAM presents a new play from writer-director duo Charles Mee and Les Waters centering on the Catholic monk and mystic Thomas Merton.

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Member Reviews (20)

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Confusing, Dizzying, Hilarious, Indulgent, Edgy

See it if You enjoy something unusual, experimental, inventive; you appreciate excess, you care more about presentation than narrative

Don't see it if You need narrative structure, you expect logic and sense, too much physical theater turns you off, you can't let things go

Long, Obscure

See it if You know little about Thomas Merton, and would like to know less.

Don't see it if Any situation other than the above prevails.

Critic Reviews (13)

January 21st, 2016

"The dialogue tends to be overshadowed by the frantic antics...Only in its prologue and coda does the show provide some solid, graspable idea of Merton’s beliefs and practices. During these passages spiritual questions are projected onto the set...Granted, these queries can be gnomic and obscure, but at least they are food for real thought. Too much of 'The Glory of the World' consists of empty calories, like birthday cake with too much frosting."
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January 21st, 2016

"Much of the evening is spent in dance numbers or neon-lit mayhem, all of which seems to go on several moments too long...You may find yourself frustrated that a work about a thinker refuses to sustain any single thought. This, we realize in the show's final moments, is the point...By the end, the monk's decision to go into silence seems necessary, and bruised by the show that was, our own minds yearn towards it too."
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January 21st, 2016

"It seems as if Mee wants to emphasize the virtues of meditation by contrasting frenzied physical activity with its complete absence. But who wants to sit through 90 minutes of repeated nonsense juxtaposed against stillness? Others may find more meaning to it, or they may simply enjoy all the silly humor, but I personally found the Wikipedia entry on Merton more enlightening."
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January 21st, 2016

"'The Glory of the World' feels hastily constructed and half-considered. Plot lines are introduced and then quickly abandoned…Les Waters directs with hyper-exuberance, as one would the workshop of a play that has not yet decided what it wants to be…'The Glory of the World' is a fascinating hodgepodge of whimsy. Still, it is difficult to say what sets this play — an extravagant diversion with the thinnest thematic veneer — apart from the latest Hollywood superhero flick."
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February 2nd, 2016

"Sometimes lively, sometimes languid, sometimes amusing, sometimes frustrating production...Don't expect to learn much about Merton as the boys drink toasts, lip-sync, flex their guns and participate in a fourteen-minute battle royale of a brawl that's impressive in its execution but tiresome in its length....As abstract theatre goes, the piece certainly has its charms, though most of its individual moments, like clueless party guests, just don't know when to leave."
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January 26th, 2016

"'The Glory of the World' is billed as a birthday party for Thomas Merton, Catholic priest, author, social activist etc. And I’ll say it is. Is it ever. More than that, however, it is a present day mythic tale that could be titled 'What Happens When Men Get Together With No Adult Supervision'…When lesser-thans try Merton on for size, it is not a perfect fit. Nor should it be. It is, nevertheless, a fascinating evening. It may not be your cuppa...But it certainly is mine."
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January 25th, 2016

"I have to say that I enjoyed the show though I didn't understand the concept of the play. I wanted to learn more about Thomas Merton and how and why he chose seclusion, meditation and the silence."
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January 22nd, 2016

"It recalls quite strongly the medieval Feast of Fools—a scandalous, almost blasphemous festival designed to turn the world upside down for a while…That sort of muddled, multi-faced origin is exactly right for 'The Glory of the World,' a party and a paean to a man who embodied contradiction, who turned his world upside...The play still manages to be shocking, even to an audience adjusted to misrule."
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January 25th, 2016

"The Mee/Waters one-two punch knows how to get our heads going as well as our bellies laughing…Merton’s work is also utilized with textured, comedic aplomb...Like great art, it’s up to you to figure it out...But let’s make it clear — this production is satisfying, so satisfying. The stimulating experience will resonate far beyond your time sitting in the theater. And in the masterful hands of this honest-to-goodness collaboration, know that your time in the theater is nothing but sacred."
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April 11th, 2015
For a previous production

"A piece exploring Merton's ideas, history and legacy. And just as metaphysical revelation transcends the literal and conventional, the production goes far beyond even the greatest power of the written word to employ all avenues of performance in the realization of a complicated, raucous, glorious mess - the course any party worth attending inevitably takes...The audience is immersed in as creative and consuming an artistic expression of the persona of Thomas Merton can achieve."
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March 31st, 2015
For a previous production

"It was rather like a drunken, coked-up frat party where you, as an audience member, are the only sober person. Many of the college kids in the audience apparently found it hilarious. The adults looked bored. Some of them walked out...At around 80 minutes with no intermission, 'The Glory of the World' is far too long, given the paucity of its ideas...This looks like an exhausting and exhilarating piece to perform, and they deserve applause for the quality of their work."
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March 24th, 2015
For a previous production

"Perplexing but fascinating production...Waters deserves accolades for coordinating such a rush of energy, words and bodies on stage to create a work that resonates. At times, individual moments come off as odious and aggressive, but there are basic philosophical ideas at work here...What gives the chaos and noise of this play clarity is the lengthy moments of silence that bookend the production. With these, the play finds its yin and yang."
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March 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"One of the finest, most startling pieces of theater you’ve ever seen...A series of surreal and darkly beautiful tableaus that sometimes feel like products of a feverish contemplative imagination and other times feel like a pure, unfiltered look into the real world."
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