Already closed | 1h 25m | Upper W Side

The Oregon Trail

From 56 member reviews
Members say: Funny, Clever, Quirky, Entertaining, Great acting

About the show

Fault Line Theatre presents a play that contrasts the trials of an adolescent girl growing up in the late '90s with her 19th-century video game counterpart. More…

It’s 1997. Alone in her computer lab, 13-year-old Jane escapes from the awkward throes of puberty by virtually jumping in a covered wagon headed west on "The Oregon Trail." Under the guidance of the all-powerful Voice of the Game, we watch "Then Jane" navigate the perils of 1850s frontier life, while '90s Jane navigates the different but all-too-real dangers of high school, college, and, eventually, adulthood. Jane soon finds herself in her 20s, unemployed and battling an undefinable lifelong sadness she cannot name, even as “Then Jane” continues to face the tribulations of the trail. With nearly two centuries between them, both Janes face hardships that seem impossible to overcome—until they find one another.


Member Reviews (56)

MEMBERS SAY:

Funny, Clever, Quirky, Entertaining, Great acting

68
Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow, Relevant

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?)

69
Subject matter/depression or ennui?, Danger of audience falling into the character's rhythms, Some good laughs, Stylish production values, Contrast of life/death 1800s issues with 21st century mental health issues doesn't pay off

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

Also ennui = a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from sat... Read more Read less

65
Ambitious, Quirky, Indulgent

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

58
Clever, Slow, Lacks chemistry

See it if You are a fan of old videos games. Are patient with stories that unfold s-l-o-w-l-y.

Don't see it if You are an impatient audience member.

Also I was rooting for this concept and this cast -- but the slow pace and ... Read more Read less

54
Stuck-in-the-mud, Promising talent, Nice moments along the way

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.

68
Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You want to see everything the Women's Project produces.

Don't see it if You like a crisp, logical story

68
Quirky, Slow, Good acting

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.

65
Quirky, Great acting, Meh, Nostalgic, Intense

See it if you like dramas and/or shows about depression.

Don't see it if you don't like slow moving plots. You don't like dramas; it is not a comedy.

68
Slow, Insipid, Disappointing, Arduous, Overrated

See it if really interested in subject matter, in tribulations of adolescent girl and of Oregon Trail. Don't care if show may disappoint you.

Don't see it if If you likely to get bored with drab show and don't care how they have gotten the trail wagon to 3rd floor stage with small elevator.

Also Elevator is limited to the third floor with stairs to 4th floor box of... Read more Read less

68
Slow, Funny, Quirky, Ambitious, Clever

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.

64
Disappointing, Great staging, Indulgent, Quirky

See it if You're a big fan of the game or looking for an exploration of mental illness/related issues.

Don't see it if Your looking for any kind of conclusion or neat answers. You've never heard of the game.

Also This piece was bit of a mess, a bit too all over the place for me. The... Read more Read less

69
Quirky, Slow, Relevant

See it if you grew up in the 90s and played The Oregon Trail or like to see portrayals of depression on the stage.

Don't see it if you don't care much for shows that bring mental illness to the spotlight.

During previews
67
Quirky, Funny, Cliched, Entertaining, Indulgent

See it if you'd enjoy seeing the step-by-step decision-making of the classic Oregon Trail game applied to life. You don't mind depression as top plot.

Don't see it if you'd be turned off by a theater that is basically falling apart, or if plots in different eras converging à la The Lake House disturb you.


January 22nd, 2017
"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, hor...
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January 26th, 2017
“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 Brunstett...
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January 22nd, 2017
"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 fl...
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February 1st, 2017
"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...
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