The Prisoner

The Prisoner NYC Reviews and Tickets

(18 Ratings)
Members say
Absorbing, Disappointing, Ambitious, Slow, Thought-provoking

About the Show

TFANA presents the New York premiere of "The Prisoner," a provocative examination of law and justice, punishment and redemption from Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (18)

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68 Reviews | 6 Followers
Absorbing, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy different type of theater, and f you are a fan of Peter Brook's direction. Based on an actual event. I found it mesmerizing.

Don't see it if you like big productions. Read more

683 Reviews | 161 Followers
Simple, Primal, Affecting, Focused, Beautifully played

See it if you’d like to see a primal fable, as complex as all humanity, simply, affectingly enacted.

Don't see it if you know from experience that extremely simple theatrical means fail to engage you. Read more

147 Reviews | 29 Followers
Absorbing, Intelligent, Riveting, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You like theater that challenges your intellect, that you have to chew on for a few days after

Don't see it if You want to be entertained, you don't want to pay very close attention for 75 minutes, you want the points to be immediately obvious

138 Reviews | 87 Followers
Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Precise

See it if You love the innovative spirit of Peter Brook, whose fingerprints are all over this. Great acting with precise physical work from the cast.

Don't see it if You need a complicated nuanced story: The direction and acting are both terrific, but if you also need great acting, well, the story is thin

122 Reviews | 16 Followers
Absorbing, Intelligent, Ambitious, Overrated, Thought-provoking

See it if If you admire Peter Brook and appreciate his aesthetic, love metaphor and don't mind periods of static staging or anodyne philosophy.

Don't see it if You hate Peter Brook, like realistic sets and traditional dramatic structure and plays that involve explicit characters and conflict.

100 Reviews | 9 Followers
Ambitious, Disappointing, Profound, Intense, Slow

See it if Because late work can surprise or reveal even if not conquer your heart or head -Brook and the cast have earned it.

Don't see it if You need word and especially action with a clear purpose.

148 Reviews | 40 Followers
Slow, Overrated, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if Peter Brook story-telling at its most minimal and fable-like. Meditative and a calm unfolding. Solid cast and thoughtful story.

Don't see it if No magic, no pulse. Ideas and suggestions but no passion. Not hypnotic but sleep inducing. Not recommended.

54 Reviews | 0 Followers
Quirky, Ambitious, Intense, Edgy, Confusing

See it if you're looking for a different off-broadway play

Don't see it if you're looking for a traditional performance

Critic Reviews (13)

The New York Times
December 10th, 2018

“’The Prisoner' asks audience members to fill in blank spaces with their own imagination. What it lacks is the sense of inevitability...the feeling that every gesture and image onstage is there for a reason and that if you just concentrate on what’s before you, a pattern and logic will emerge...The problem may be that the text here provides too much information...The production feels long and oddly cluttered by its gnomic dialogue."
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Time Out New York
December 10th, 2018

"The mind that will enjoy Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne’s 'The Prisoner' is one that’s more content in stillness than mine...I admit that, because of this slowness and despite my sympathy with the play's anti-incarceration message, I don’t find the work entertaining or engrossing; it’s a challenging way to spend 70 minutes...'The Prisoner' offers deep moral seriousness and a chance to sit with the faithful in contemplation. If you need something like that in your practice too, then go."
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Lighting & Sound America
December 11th, 2018

“The performers are possessed of a gravity, marked by emotions carefully held back, that feels connected to French classical tragedy. But everything is done with such economy of means that the smallest gesture has an enormous effect...’The Prisoner’ has a spiritual quality one doesn't often find; this is especially true in its highly effective use of silence. Strange and terrible things happen in 'The Prisoner', but each is given ample time and space to sink in.”
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Theater Pizzazz
December 11th, 2018

“A fascinating parable, and Brook and Estienne have brought it to remarkable life...’The Prisoner’ is stunning in its simplicity and universality...Brook’s profound understanding of Dostoevsky and Beckett informs ‘The Prisoner’. Though the place is never specified, the landscape of ‘Waiting for Godot’ is conjured up before our eyes...A man sitting alone in silence is one of the most profound images of the quest for self-knowledge that we’ll ever see on stage.”
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Financial Times (UK)
August 29th, 2018
For a previous production

"Hiran Abeysekera makes a compelling lead...But aside from an entertaining but deeply silly sequence where he befriends a passing rat, this is static, ponderous fare....Brook’s signature approach, which creates a globe-trotting hodgepodge of borrowed philosophies and ideas, also feels dated in a world that is becoming more and more attuned to the unhelpfulness of lumping all non-western cultures together."
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The Independent (UK)
August 23rd, 2018
For a previous production

“This is a wafer-thin evening, beautifully performed...and presented with a pleasing austerity and a less pleasing childlike solemnity as if we are being handed down a dose of spiritual wisdom...Its studied otherworldliness detracts from its effectiveness. It is beautiful, but never urgent in addressing the difficult world we have made for ourselves...Although there are moments of real grace and invention, almost as if in mid-sentence, the staging does not invite emotional involvement."
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The Times (UK)
August 23rd, 2018
For a previous production

“Parts of this play feel distinctly moribund...I’m certainly pleased that it’s over and I can now reflect on a theme...that is offset by clunky dialogue and skew-whiff morality...This play is more fable than anything else...The dialogue is stilted and the pacing turtle-like, although there is a fascination in the otherworldliness of it...At times it does feel as if we are being sentenced.”
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The Guardian (UK)
August 23rd, 2018
For a previous production

“Although philosophically provocative, a man spending two decades on a barren plain is dramatically inert...The clarity and control that characterised Brook’s best only a few short steps from banality when the material is this thin...To deal with a story that is more meditative than dramatic, Brook and Estienne treat it like a fairy tale...They give it the archetypal quality of a parable, but not the profundity it seems to be searching for.”
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