Closed 2h 15m
The House That Will Not Stand
East Village
80

The House That Will Not Stand NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(107 Reviews)
Positive
85%
Mixed
14%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Great staging

About the Show

In the heat of summer in 1813, Louisiana passed from France to the United States, setting the stage for this story inspired by Federico García Lorca's 'The House of Bernarda Alba.'

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Member Reviews (107)

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85
Enchanting, Relevant, Absorbing, Inspiring, Historical

See it if Creole family in 1813 New Orleans copes with changes in the system of “placage”. Perspectives on freedom and independence by age & race.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy historical fiction. You don’t want to see a matriarchal family drama.

89
Great acting, Great writing, Profound, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you appreciate themes of race, gender, and independence. They’re woven throughout beautifully, neither one detracting from the other.

Don't see it if you don’t like female-centric stories. That said, the themes are universal, though are told through the lens of the black female experience.

Critic Reviews (24)

July 30th, 2018

"Drums are what herald two extraordinary monologues in this densely packed, erratic comic drama, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz. Their percussive insistence shapes two separate instances when both a character and the play that has hitherto confined her soar into a stratosphere of freedom...You may find it difficult to sort out all the rivalries and counterplots festering among these women...Gardley’s fondness for metaphor can sometimes strangle what should be simple exposition."
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July 30th, 2018

"Though it’s luscious and structurally artful, the play seems somewhat divided against itself. In the first half, Gardley changes Lorca’s mood from Spanish lyric tragedy to ribald French comedy, and Lileana Blain-Cruz steers the deft cast through tart and sharply funny exchanges, backhanded insults and dirty jokes...Gardley tries to change the plot’s hardwired doom and gloom to notes of uplift and liberation...Having started on firm foundations, this excellent play seems to shudder at the last."
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July 30th, 2018

"It’s an elegant narrative formation, and one that lends itself to heightened theatricality...Blain-Cruz’s production only intermittently taps into the play’s brassiness, its conscious defiance of naturalism, and this flickering in and out of focus isn’t simply a matter of directorial oversight...I longed for an overarching theatricality that more fully tied these moments together: a production where the the powerful realness of Gardley’s characters made fewer concessions to realism."
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July 30th, 2018

"This poetical drama infused with supernatural elements boasts rich language and colorful imagination. But its narrative clunkiness is very much on display...The drama possesses many arresting lyrical elements, but Gardley never makes them cohere...The evening's tone shifts uneasily from floridly melodramatic to a near sitcom-style level of broad humor...The end result proves frustrating; the work's thoughtful and provocative aspects are undercut by its stiltedly artificial ones."
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July 30th, 2018

"Between its supernatural tone and outsize feminine sexuality, the play often verges on camp. While Gardley's storytelling occasionally digresses, he still proves himself one of the great theatrical practitioners of historical fiction by depicting a little-discussed era of American history...Like a practitioner of theatrical voodoo, director Lileana Blain-Cruz succeeds at conjuring an ideal atmosphere for magic and mayhem."
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August 8th, 2018

“Over the course of two acts, the house of ‘The House That Will Not Stand’ is wracked by storms, scandals, catfights, and bizarre supernatural doings. None of this is boring, but neither is it totally believable...The script is marked by stylistic inconsistencies...In the end, Gardley's house stands, even if it wobbles a bit from time to time. Its foundation is sound, and if you don't mind some of the more garish appointments, you may have a gripping experience there."
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July 30th, 2018

"Finally receiving a first-rate New York production that's richly produced and wonderfully acted...Gardley injects a huge dose of humor into his play in the caustic put-downs between the women with Gravatt getting the lion's share of the most hilarious retorts...Astutely directed...Yes, you can quibble about the two-dimensionality of several characters and Gardley's occasional contemporary anachronism, but you can't argue that 'The House...' isn't wildly entertaining."
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July 30th, 2018

"The elegance of Gardley’s prose and Rigg’s set is greatly enhanced by the actors as they circulate in Blanco’s predominantly black costumes and as they glide under Lileana Blain-Cruz’s style-establishing direction. The always-formidable Gravátt heads a cast of equals, each of whom instills believable late 18th-century presence...Gardley sees to it that every one of them has at least one taking-focus moment. It’s another tactic in his suave fight on behalf of woman’s equality."
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July 30th, 2018

"Gardley undeniably whips up luscious language and vivid images, but some of this tasty dialogue is muffled through overly-hasty pacing and poor diction. Lileana Blain-Cruz, the director, stages a visually impressive, generally well-acted show, but the rapid delivery of Cajun dialects interferes at times with audience comprehension...While this New York premiere does not fully achieve the play’s potential, 'The House That Will Not Stand' remains a thoughtful, multi-layered work."
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August 7th, 2018

"'The House That Will Not Stand' is a challenging play both for its dense poetic language and its use of unfamiliar and startling American history. Under Lileana Blain-Cruz's direction, her cast of seven seems to be living their roles rather than acting them. Although long at two hours and 15 minutes, the play's dramatic payoff is one you will not want to miss. 'The House that Will Not Stand 'is ultimately an important historical American drama which takes us on a roller coaster of emotions."
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July 30th, 2018

"Blain-Cruz sets a pace that’s deliberate but not laggard...As in the script, a somber mood predominates but it’s broken up regularly with flashes of light and color...Blanco’s costumes are eye-catching...While hardly a walk in the park, ‘The House That Will Not Stand’ is not as grim as ‘The House of Bernarda Alba'. By loosening, just a little, the stays in Bernarda’s corset, Gardley has created a dynamic, layered variation on a classic."
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July 31st, 2018

"A series of highly stylized confrontations and melodramatic events that serve to distinguish a very clever play about freedom...A terrific cast, all women of color, under the supple direction of Bain-Cruz, portray characters that are striking in their aligned sisterhood...Witty and close to operatic in tone and temperament...'The House That Will Not Stand' is filled to the brim with a distinctive poetic lyricism."
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August 7th, 2018

“This play is operatic. The writing itself is unexceptional, and the plot lines that crisscross the stage are predictable. But the towering set...serves to lift the tale up and let it float in thin air. There are majestic themes at play here...Not a remarkable play, but one that benefits from the sum of its parts, and one that shines the light on a past swept out of sight for way too long. Bravo for that."
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August 6th, 2018

"Racism and white privilege in the new America is a layer added in this complex telling, with the history of its time period playing a key and dramatic role...It’s all a bit clumsy in its visualization and formulation, but the overall outcome rings decidedly true...It’s not the most satisfying Lorca adaptation, especially when compared to the outstanding 'Yerma' just recently, but it is a majestic attempt to tease out the tragedy of these women and the history that storms against them."
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T
July 30th, 2018

"Its presentation at NYTW could not be timelier or more significant...Lynda Gravátt’s gripping performance as Beartrice is the centerpiece of 'The House That Will Not Stand'...Under Lileana Blain-Cruz’s deft direction, the seven-member all-female cast grabs the stage right at the beginning of the first act and never relaxes its tight grip on the plot...'The House That Will Not Stand' raises the essential and enduring questions needed to continue the discussion of systemic racism in America."
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July 30th, 2018

"Historically fascinating, lyrical and surprisingly funny play...An inspired adaptation...Director Lileana Blane-Cruz oversees a beautiful production...All seven actresses of the cast give glorious performances, able to bring out the humor in the script without losing sight of the inherent tragedy of their situation...Linda Gravátt gives the role of Beartrice the gravitas it requires, with her character deepened by the suggestion of a willfully suppressed vulnerability."
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August 6th, 2018

"'The House That Will Not Stand' is preoccupied with issues of freedom...While it's interesting to learn the historical foundations on which Gardley builds these themes, they come at the expense of Lorca's tensely wound plot, and require too many distractions, with focus and tension fading amid various subplots…Gardley's language is highly flavored, sometimes almost self-consciously so...many lines sounding more like they come from early 21st-century mouths than early 19th-century ones."
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C
July 30th, 2018

"Hardly a conventional work, the piece is a heady mixture of many writing styles and themes - a hearty dose of Federico Garcia Lorca's commentary on women and class (aptly so, as the play is loosely based on his 'The House of Bernarda Alba'), a dash of Tennessee Williams' Southern melodrama, a pinch of August Wilson's magical realism - all blended with a mostly firm yet occasionally unsteady hand by Gardley."
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July 30th, 2018

"It’s a lot to juggle and the playwright occasionally missteps. The dialogue is sometimes comic, sometimes poetic. The quality of the acting is frustratingly uneven. Ms. Foy gives an electric performance as Makeda. The usually reliable Ms. Gravatt repeatedly stumbled over her lines...Lileana Blain-Cruz’s direction shows a comfortable grip on the material. While I found it sporadically involving, I left somewhat baffled and disappointed."
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July 30th, 2018

"The transplanting and the back-dating of the Lorca play are fascinating, not to mention utterly seamless in Gardley’s hands. It’s also very funny, especially in the often uproarious first act...Big drama requires big performances, and it’s a major theatrical feat that the talented ensemble of seven actresses under Blain-Cruz’s mercurial direction achieves awesome effects without anyone cross-dressing. "
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August 10th, 2018

"A stunning piece of theater...Gardley’s writing pulsates with affection for these women, but what’s more astounding is the deep understanding he shows of their predicament...Gardley whips up a galvanizing storm of sexism and racism with a similar skeleton of story, revving it up with grand melodrama. Yet under the fierce and knowing direction of Lileana Blain-Cruz, it all seems entirely organic...The cast of seven women delivers a gallery of indelible portraits."
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July 31st, 2018

"'House' impresses on a number of levels: as a funny, sorrowful parable of nineteenth-century Creole New Orleans; an interrogation of complex racial histories; a tour de force of creative and verbose insults, delivered at breakneck speed. Lileana Blain-Cruz, with characteristic elegance and precision, directs an excellent cast...Gardley’s approach to historical background makes the white male power system concrete, and the onstage struggles urgently particular."
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July 31st, 2018

“The play, the performances and the production design are all terrifying, witty, humorous, resigned, hopeful and haunting...Gardley’s language is funny, often anachronistic, always potent. Blain-Cruz etches distinct characters...Kelly’s stage movement is fluid and syncopated where necessary, combining contemporary gestures and period steps...A spunky, engaging, sardonic story of women making their way in a society framed by — who else? — men.”
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B
July 30th, 2018

"A lush and evocative script filled with humor, bite, and innuendo...Gardley effectively weaves the soft Louisiana accent, French phrases, and a modern poetic sensibility into a crisp vehicle...Each character is well developed and resonates with both a keen sense of personal veracity and a meaningful reflection of historic truths...If the playwright intended a bitter/sweet elegy to the foundations of Creole culture, he most certainly has achieved that end in a fabulous evening of theater."
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