"The subject is heady, and for a good chunk of the play, 'The Oregon Trail' delivers both a nuanced portrait of depression and a gently humanized vision of a game where, for the most part, the main goal was to kill weary travelers from typhoid...Yet 'The Oregon Trail' also never feels as fully fleshed out as it should be, with the sequences in the 1800s particularly shortchanged toward the end. Director Geordie Broadwater has a strong vision, though." Full Review
“A sour, low-stakes comedy…Beyond scratching a specific nostalgic itch, the play offers few rewards…Jane's not really functioning, yet throughout the show's 90 minutes of self-destruction and indulgent passivity, neither she nor her doctor sister brings up therapy or medication. Whether Brunstetter is making a point about generational malaise or actual illness, she's spent too little time speculating on a cure.” Full Review
"Depression is not an easy state to dramatize, and, in any case, Jane comes off as a pill—whiny, narcissistic, a perpetual victim...The fact remains that Jane's depression is presented without any insight and we are led to believe that her sufferings are equal to those of Then Jane, a notion that would be laughable if it weren't so grating...Brunstetter is a talent to watch, but this 'Oregon Trail,' I'm afraid, leads to a dramatic dead end." Full Review
"A feisty, formally inventive comedy...Ms. Brunstetter has scripted earlier plays...'The Oregon Trail' is a great improvement, particularly in its nifty first half-hour. In Ms. Vaynberg’s expressive hands, contemporary Jane’s sly humor and cringing embarrassment feel wonderfully real and raw, horrible and funny...The play makes a forward leap to Jane’s thwarted adulthood and becomes a more formulaic piece...The language in the 1840s scenes starts to irk, as do the sorrows of present-day Jane." Full Review
"There's much that's good about 'The Oregon Trail.' Broadwater's staging is incisive, funny, and quick-moving. The physical production...is spot-on for both eras. And with the exception of Arturo...the acting is well pitched with the writing. Still, Brunstetter's writing and conceptualization could be sharper, and, as witty as the references to it are, the game is more of a diversionary tactic than a fully integrated storytelling mechanism." Full Review
"Brunstetter explores how depression is carried in these women’s bodies and how they articulate that sorrow in their respective eras. Their shared despondence resonates at times, though in this production, the 1800’s segments never feel as sharply drawn as the contemporary scenes...When the play clicks it's engaging, but that fascination can ebb and flow, and the themes tend to circle the wagon without gaining depth. But there is a sincerity and warmth to these young women." Full Review
See it if You are intrigued by the concept of choosing your destiny and are interested in the subject of depression.
Don't see it if You require elaborate sets to focus your attention on a story line.
See it if You are looking to see a poorly written badly acted drama to compare with the many worthwhile ones being performed now in NY !
Don't see it if You care about plots that make sense. You are wanting to see new terrific young actors deal with a challenging script. Script/acting bad !
See it if you're a Bekah Brubaker fan, enjoy stories of women empowering themselves and finding their purpose, like plays set in 2 time periods
Don't see it if you expect realism and are not a fan of whimsy, unwilling to look beneath a character's outward actions, not a fan of subtle, quirky comedy
See it if Despite an overall muddled feel, Brunstetter's then/now feminism often succeeds Acting is good esp E L Perkins but conceptualization stalls
Don't see it if Contemporary scenes never felt as potent as 1850s ones & lacked a needed punch Difficult to empathize with Vaynberg's malaise (acting?)
See it if You like solid scripts and strong performances. You can relate to feeling aimless as a young adult. You played Oregon Trail as a kid.
Don't see it if You're looking for nothing but comedy. The show has some very funny moments, but also some lovely and poignant ones.
See it if you are a 90s kid who wants to reminisce and don't mind some suburban angst.
Don't see it if the story of a privilege white surbanite trying to find herself while struggling with mental illness will make you angry.
See it if This has the potential to shine a light on depression, but the characters never reach their climax where they grow and change.
Don't see it if You are expecting more playfulness from the references to the 90s and the video game for which this play is named
See it if you have suffered from depression and grew up in the 90s. You like plays that stage multiple timelines simultaneously (e.g., Indian Ink).
Don't see it if you don't care about a whiny teenager's pseudo-problems or dysentery.
See it if you want to support a smart theater company and talented young artists. And you can identify with the lead character's depression.
Don't see it if you can't get past an undramatic premise. Emotional stasis isn't very involving & the connection to a hard-scrabble physical trek is rocky.
See it if you want to see a well-crafted coming of age dramedy. Or if you're an older millennial looking for a nostalgic theatrical experience
Don't see it if you're looking for something more high-brow or existential. This is a plot-driven, accessible show.
See it if want to support new scripts, Fault Line Theatre, & young acting company in a well mounted production including interesting ideas & staging
Don't see it if depression/ennui as subject matter is not your cup of tea, suspension of disbelief with computer gaming as a conduit 2 other worlds
See it if You enjoyed the game as a child, or were a youth in the 90's- a nice bit of flashback to the era and the age of awkwardness
Don't see it if You did not enjoy the game, or plays with dual story lines- two separate stories a couple hundred years apart
See it if You are, were, or are responsible for an angst-ridden child of the early 90s, or would enjoy a character study of one.
Don't see it if You don't care about privileged young person problems. You want the show to effectively draw on the computer game in meaningful ways.
See it if You like shows that play with time; you enjoy plays about contemporary life; you played the Oregon Trail computer game
Don't see it if You're not interested in stories about young women; you're expecting something grand in scope; you need high stakes
See it if you appreciate contemporary stories of young people struggling in life but trying to forge ahead, with humor and heart.
Don't see it if you have no connection to the old computer game, in which case some of the references might fly past you.
See it if you like female written plays, a relevant and refreshing way at looking at depression, quirky text and solid acting from young ensemble
Don't see it if you don't know like shows without an intermission, a predictable storyline or didn't care for the Oregon Trail game growing up
See it if You want to laugh. You want to go on a journey with a young lady as she is coming of age and the the trials that life brings.
Don't see it if You are not interested in the journey of life that a young lady experiences. You don't want to laugh. You don't like non linear plays
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