The Pain of My Belligerence
The Pain of My Belligerence
73

The Pain of My Belligerence NYC Reviews and Tickets

73%
(87 Reviews)
Positive
68%
Mixed
22%
Negative
10%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Intelligent, Disappointing

About the Show

Charting their spiky relationship over eight years, following a rapidly changing America, Halley Feiffer’s comedy sheds light on how we perpetuate our roles within a patriarchal culture, and the promise of a new paradigm.

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Member Reviews (87)

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78
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Male-Female Relationships in today's world.Who is at fault here? Two remarkable performances. Big disparity in rating with partner/myself

Don't see it if Some nudity. The smaller P.H. site but still some dialogue lost ( the quiet intimate conversations) beyond the 5th-6th rows

80
Heartbreaking, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if Fan of Haley Feiffer & Trip Cullman, enjoy plays about the plight of single lonely women in the City & ill-fated love affairs, plot twists

Don't see it if Not interested in single women getting hurt by urban life or insincere guys, single-act plays, plot twists that stretch credibility,

Critic Reviews (30)

The New York Times
April 22nd, 2019

"Ms. Feiffer is a virtuoso in creating self-lacerating heroines. Her performance here is smart, brave and unsparing to the point that you wince at its lack of vanity. And in that excruciatingly well-acted opening scene, she has created a perfectly self-contained, socially resonant portrait...'Pain' is perfectly cast, beautifully acted, fluidly directed and astutely designed. But it ultimately collapses under the weight of heavy symbols and too literal-minded political correspondences."
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Time Out New York
April 22nd, 2019

"Their dysfunction duet is peripatetic, nauseating, exciting. But the next two segments are not nearly as strong...The clumsiness of the play’s final hour is disappointing mainly because the restaurant scene is such a killer. In those first 30 minutes, director Trip Cullman has Feiffer and Linklater push their performances to the edge of nightmarish exaggeration while keeping their date horribly believable."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 22nd, 2019

"Feiffer is certainly stripping herself down both off and onstage...But her vulnerability, though it might have stemmed from personal awakening, doesn’t translate into a broader theatrical revelation. The play, for all its attempts at courageous self-exposure, feels sour and on-the-nose...Cat and Guy get a bit more dimension as the play progresses, but the aftertaste of 'Pain’s' first scene is lingering and bitter."
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The Hollywood Reporter
April 22nd, 2019

"Despite excellent performances by Feiffer and her co-star Hamish Linklater, the play proves more punishing than enlightening...The characters and situations are defined so sketchily that the narrative twists feel annoyingly manipulative, despite the sleekness of director Trip Cullman's staging...Unfortunately, 'The Pain of My Belligerence' demonstrates that fearlessness isn't enough when it comes to art: You also need some finesse."
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Theatermania
April 22nd, 2019

"As portrayed by the hyperactive Linklater, Guy is obnoxious, arrogant, selfish, and more than a little hot...Feiffer delivers a performance that matches the brutal honesty of her writing...Cullman directs the play at a dizzying yet impressively coherent clip...But what made me most uncomfortable was the dark truth undergirding Feiffer's script — that we can be completely aware that something (or someone) is deleterious to our lives, yet keep coming back for more, almost like an addiction."
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BroadwayWorld
May 5th, 2019

"Whether or not Feiffer's play successfully addresses her stated intention may be a judgment call, but if the text could use a bit more focus in that direction, the playwright's sharp, intelligent dialogue always engages and intrigues. And the thick chemistry between Feiffer and Linklater in director Tripp Cullman's light and swift production allows the bulk of the piece to play like romantic comedy, providing an interesting contrast between tone and content."
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Lighting & Sound America
April 23rd, 2019

“If her best plays walk a tightrope between laughter and deep discomfort, ‘The Pain of My Belligerence’ tumbles over too often into the latter state, and not always convincingly...Cullman's handling of the actors is deft...Feiffer is one of our more consistently interesting playwrights, with a sense of humor that seems to have come through her patrilineal line...But ‘The Pain of My Belligerence’ is one of her lesser works. It's too much belligerence, and not enough pain.”
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Talkin' Broadway
April 22nd, 2019

"It's a brave effort, and I wish I liked it more. A look at bad relationships and the social structures that prop them up, it's marked by a) an unlikely and needless symmetry and b) containing virtually nonstop awful behavior by three of its characters...Feiffer, to her credit, isn't entirely blaming society for the sexual conventions that motivate women to place so much weight on male regard...Feiffer is valiant to explore it onstage, and in doing so brings along some pertinent observations."
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New York Stage Review
April 22nd, 2019

"Feiffer and Linklater are breathlessly good together—but believe me when I tell you it will take every ounce of your self-restraint to avoid running up on stage and throttling that douchebag Guy...I’m finding myself irrationally angry with Cat for not summoning the strength to leave a destructive, verbally abusive lover who likes that her muscles have atrophied...Or maybe I’m just mad at Feiffer—a whip-smart playwright with the best titles—for showing me just a tiny bit of myself in her character."
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New York Stage Review
April 22nd, 2019

"It’s hard to read Feiffer’s performance, but it’s nearly impossible to read her character. Linklater, for his part, skillfully deploys his usual warmhearted charm in service of this charmingly nefarious character. Trip Cullman’s forthright direction allows the mysteries of this story to unfold efficiently, even if they’re never quite resolved...'Pain' is informed by developments in Feiffer’s life. She’s clearly working through all of that in this play. She hasn’t worked it through far enough yet."
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Theater News Online
April 25th, 2019

"There's no question that Guy, the handsome, charismatic, unpredictable, sometimes unspeakably cruel and definitely married restaurateur has no hesitancy in speaking his truth, even while attempting to seduce her...And even as you question why Cat easily gives in to his advances rather than just running away, it's likely we will all recognize at least one time in our lives when we willingly ignored every red light, yield sign or guard rail and allowed ourselves to go over the edge."
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TheaterScene.net
April 23rd, 2019

“Jaw-dropping plot twists, painfully forced au courant dialogue, awkward sex scenes and a jagged central performance all make the world premiere of Halley Feiffer’s ‘The Pain of My Belligerence’ a fascinating doozy of a bad play...There’s the sensation of guiltily scanning a highway car accident scene that you can’t take your eyes away from...Its plot and characters haven’t been credibly crafted. The harrowing emotions aren’t matched by technical facility.”
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Theatre is Easy
April 22nd, 2019

"The audience incubates in this gross, darkly comical world with her; you’ll want to grab and shake the characters to please, dear god, save themselves...’The Pain of My Belligerence is not being staged as a commentary on all women; this is an exploration of the crippling presence of the patriarchy that drives one woman farther from her own needs, and closer to her own death. If only this exploration were done primarily for the benefit of the audience.”
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Theater Pizzazz
April 22nd, 2019

"Extremely well-acted and directed, 'The Pain of My Belligerence' is often engaging and witty but even more often uncomfortable and disturbing, especially when Cat responds so obsequiously to Guy's invasiveness…The restaurant date scene is like watching an accident unfold in slow-motion-hard to look at but hard to ignore...Nothing that follows captures the scene's magnetic excitement…In the third act, Vanessa Kai's cool-as-snow Yuki…steals the scene."
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Theater Pizzazz
April 22nd, 2019

"Linklater is fantastic as Guy. Smooth as silk, he rides every wave of dialogue with the confidence of a seasoned surfer...'The Pain of My Belligerence' has a simple structure and wonderful flow. Some steamy sex as well. Director Trip Cullman is in sync with its rhythms and keeps it on course with a steady stream of unforced energy. Feiffer’s work has more substance than is initially evident."
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CurtainUp
April 27th, 2019

"A study of a toxic heterosexual relationship against the backdrop of three elections...Although Guy and Cat are hardly likable characters, they do provoke some serious questions...The bilaterally talented Feiffer proves here that she can act as well as write...Despite its flaws, 'The Pain of My Belligerence' is a potent look at the terrible toll of toxic masculinity on both genders. Although Feiffer gives us a bleak portrait of our misogynistic culture she also offers a not to be ignored truth."
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CurtainUp
April 23rd, 2019

"The bilaterally talented Feiffer proves here that she can act as well as write...Linklater is spot-on...Kai is well-cast...Young makes every minute count...I do have reservations in how Lyme Disease is dramaturgically employed...Despite its flaws, ‘The Pain of My Belligerence’ is a potent look at the terrible toll of toxic masculinity on both genders. Although Feiffer gives us a bleak portrait of our misogynistic culture she also offers a not to be ignored truth.”
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Front Row Center
April 23rd, 2019

“Spend your time and money elsewhere. ‘The Pain Of My Belligerence’ is one of those shows that will stick to the bottom of your shoe no matter what you do...In spite of everyone's best efforts - there is nothing to be done for this production because the script never delivers...The best thing that can be said for this show that it drives people to the nearest bar.”
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Front Mezz Junkies
April 23rd, 2019

“Feiffer’s edgy and probing new play is a heartbreakingly authentic descent into self-destruction and intimate rebuilding that is both hilarious and beautifully unflattering...Feiffer serves up some glass shattering and touching reassurances of love and devotion, filled to overflowing with Pellegrino and some peppermint of understanding and kinship between the two women living within Guy’s orbit.”
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Exeunt Magazine
April 24th, 2019

"'Belligerence' is particularly unsettling in its focus on fragile bodies...Feiffer is playing on the fragility inherent in actors placing themselves before an audience. In dialing up her language to extremes, she forces us to really feel, in our gut, the physical pain of these characters. We share in that fragility...Trip Cullman’s smart production conjures elegant locales as suffocating, prison-like spaces. Trapped in these little boxes, his actors thrive...'Belligerence' is theater as a scream of pain."
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Broadway Blog
April 23rd, 2019

"Feiffer’s feminist brilliance takes center stage. Beyond the playwright-actor’s own star turn and uncomfortably familiar characterization, she has written a compelling counterpoint...Under masterful direction by Cullman, Cat’s hesitation and Guy’s aggression blend into captivating chemistry...The upsetting ubiquity and familiarity of the plot make the piece stunningly relevant...Both cathartic and heart-wrenching...A fresh and uncomfortable examination of love, loss and illness.”
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Gotham Playgoer
April 22nd, 2019

"The two leads are terrific. As an actress, Feiffer is absolutely fearless. As a playwright, she is adept at creating characters with oversized emotions...The attempt to tie the nature of Cat and Guy’s relationship to a malign patriarchy through the Election Day settings did not work for me. Cat’s physical decline provides a visible correlate of the relationship itself. It doesn’t add up to anything neat and simple, but it offers many absorbing moments along the way."
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The Wrap
April 22nd, 2019

"Sorry, but Cat lacks the verbal skills of a good writer, not to mention the ballsiness of even a mediocre reporter...Instead of elevating Feiffer’s character, these New Yorker references undermine Feiffer’s writing, which is often breezy and amusing in a dark rom-com kind of way...Feiffer cleverly navigates being both shocked and turned on by her date. She overdoes the mugging, but as an actress she’s very good at playing a young East Coast version of Jennifer Aniston."
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C
April 23rd, 2019

"A standout in its complexity and the development of the characters and themes...The writing is superb...Feiffer’s play is vital for us today in a time when gender mores have received a recent resurrection in the current politically divisive climate that has empowered right-wing extremism and encouraged extreme political correctness on the left...Every aspect of this production strikes to the heart. This is only possible with expert direction and excellent performances."
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Off Off Online
April 25th, 2019

"The first scene is as thrilling as Richard III’s wooing of Lady Anne. It’s rife with humor, danger, and switchbacks, as Guy’s behavior borders on pathological...Under the direction of Trip Cullman, the mood of 'Belligerence' begins with playful romanticism that becomes darker, but the message is muddy...Deeply felt, if uneven, drama."
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T
April 22nd, 2019

"She’ll make you squirm and cringe over and over again, but you won’t be able to take your eyes off the train wreck of a relationship at the center of this bitter black comedy...She doesn’t exactly tie it all up in a cute little bow at the end, instead continuing our discomfort until the lights go out — and the unique experience of the play follows us out into the street, sticking with us like an aching bruise that just won’t go away."
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Show Showdown
April 23rd, 2019

“While the worst men are incredibly sleazy, the worst women are incredibly stupid...Feiffer spends 80 interminable, tedious, painful minutes demonstrating this point...Even the patriarchy deserves fairer representation than this boring, unpleasant play...Feiffer’s acting is moderately better than her writing...Yuki is beautifully played by Kai, who brings way more class to the show than it deserves...I have rarely hated a play as actively and deeply as I hated this one.”
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I
April 26th, 2019

"I was a moderate fan of the playwright’s previous two efforts...Although 'The Pain of My Belligerence' doesn’t change my views on Ms. Feiffer as a playwright, it is certainly not without merit. Individual scenes – complete with Ms. Feiffer’s biting and perceptive dialogue – are compelling, particularly the first two...However, as a whole, the play doesn’t quite hold together...Luckily, a slick staging and some very strong acting save the day."
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Medium
April 25th, 2019

"I want to make it clear that this is a good and brave play but has some noticeable flaws...Guy played exceptionally well by Hamish Linklater is not that charming, attractive, yes, but not appealing...'Pain' is not boring and says a lot about relationships between men and women, but its too static to be what it could be, alarming relevant."
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Plays to See
April 22nd, 2019

"Among Feiffer’s already admirable canon of work, this one is even darker and effortlessly more topical...The fiery nature that Cat and Guy (played to perfection by Hamish Linklater) create together certainly makes for high drama, but also paints details in broad strokes. Their deep-seeded need for each other is obvious only to them. Our reluctant heroine seems to be the only one that cannot see how bad of a path this is leading her down."
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