The Profane
Closed 1h 45m
The Profane
78

The Profane NYC Reviews and Tickets

78%
(95 Ratings)
Positive
87%
Mixed
12%
Negative
1%
Members say
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Absorbing, Great acting

About the Show

Playwrights Horizons presents Zayd Dohrn’s timely drama featuring two families forced to confront each other’s religious beliefs, cultural traditions, and their own deep-seated prejudice.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (95)

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266 Reviews | 27 Followers
100
Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if You would like a drama involving perspectives of two Muslim families, one secular, one fundamentalist

Don't see it if You don't like plays involving family dynamics; you want to leave the theater feeling happy

399 Reviews | 205 Followers
95
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Profound

See it if A difficult and relevant topic handled sensitively and beautifully performed by a talented cast.

Don't see it if One of the actors (I won't say who) was kind of a weak link. But only compared to the other pitch-perfect performances. Read more

802 Reviews | 253 Followers
95
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Clever, Edgy, Refreshing

See it if Culture clash between a secular liberal Muslim family and a fundamentalist one. Which one is more tolerant?

Don't see it if You are not interested in an exploration of traditional vs. modern values, and how people differ from what their backgrounds might suggest. Read more

192 Reviews | 24 Followers
93
Funny, Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if you love smart, relevant drama.

Don't see it if you prefer light entertainment.

108 Reviews | 59 Followers
91
Great acting, Intelligent, Thoughtful, Nuanced characters, Smart writing

See it if Very well-written family drama brings us characters that defy expectations about their beliefs, tolerances, prejudices and vices.

Don't see it if I never say this: at 1:45, including intermission, I thought it was too short. I wanted to hear more from characters following the climax.

76 Reviews | 7 Followers
90
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting

See it if if you want to learn about Muslim religion. You can recognize your own religion in it. Universal story

Don't see it if you do not want to think about different religions or culturally different traditions in a family setting

115 Reviews | 27 Followers
90
Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy character dramas with a social message.

Don't see it if you're looking for a fun brainless night out.

683 Reviews | 126 Followers
88
Clever, Exquisite, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if You want to see a great play that takes place today. Very well written and great acting.

Don't see it if You are looking for something with big fireworks. This really challenges you especially if you don't know their culture. Read more

Critic Reviews (28)

The New York Times
April 10th, 2017

"Directed with restraint by Fagan and imbued with uncommon humanity by an impressive cast, 'The Profane' is by turns warm and wary, combative and conciliatory...Dohrn is examining the cultural unease between the secular and the fundamentalist...An emotionally charged secret...becomes the play’s big reveal—a tangled, wobbly moment that doesn’t land with anywhere near the force it needs...By contrast, the rest of the play feels organic even in its intellectual sparring."
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Time Out New York
April 10th, 2017

"The play itself is unengaging, it suffers from lurches of illogic and a haphazard approach to character...'The Profane' doesn't work...Arguments spring up that could have easily been avoided by prior conversations, the hallmark of a play that doesn't believe in its own offstage life...The talented Kip Fagan directs, and his impulse to lean into the text's surface realism exacerbates the weak writing...In a few spots, performances make up for the under-developed characters."
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New York Daily News
April 9th, 2017

"Imagine 'Meet the Parents' but with two Muslim immigrant families and you’ll get something a bead on author Zayd Dohrn’s timely and topical but frustratingly incomplete and unevenly acted play...Things turn ugly — and contrived. And unresolved, which isn’t inherently a weakness, but the drama feels like a first draft. Two fine things emerge: Heather Raffo’s well-wrought turn as Emina’s mother, and the author’s evergreen observation that parents really don’t know who their children are."
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Theatermania
April 9th, 2017

"All of Dohrn's characters are drawn with intricate complexity: a web of contradicting ideals, impulses, and behavior — they feel like real people...While Dohrn has convincingly written individuals, he heartbreakingly dramatizes the tragedy of them not listening to one another...Dohrn tantalizes us by revealing narrow passageways through which understanding could flow. He also shows us how easily they can be dammed up in a rush of grandstanding sanctimony."
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BroadwayWorld
April 17th, 2017

“The conflicts that arise when future in-laws meet for the first time have been a traditional source of comedy for both stage and screen. But Zayd Dohrn takes a dramatic twist on the subject...Director Kip Fagan's production is brisk and simple and features a fine cast. While 'The Profane' has a very interesting setup, the text, while entertaining, needs to dig a little deeper to bring out the layers of its subject.”
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Lighting & Sound America
April 21st, 2017

"Simultaneously one of the most interesting and frustrating new plays to open in the last several weeks...Dohrn provides plenty of crackling dialogue...The bombshell, when it finally drops, is pretty spectacular...But at this point 'The Profane' is on a fast track to its conclusion...Dohrn has planted a great deal of drama in his play, but he ignites only a portion of it...Fortunately, Kip Fagan's direction keeps thing fast, funny, and tense, aided by a cast alive to the play's many nuances."
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Talkin' Broadway
April 10th, 2017

"The problem with both the play and Kip Fagan's stylish but laid-back production of it is that the inherent differences don't lead to anything more heated than a brief tiff...This would matter less if Dohrn didn't set the stage for a serious conflagration of competing ideas...The individual characters could be drawn more fully, too...Fagan has directed it all a bit like a sitcom, which can suck the air out of some of the more loaded moments, but he does keep things moving fluidly."
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TheaterScene.net
April 10th, 2017

"Slight and unsatisfying...As a theater piece, Dohrn's premise has potential but his execution is deficient...The perfunctory ending leaves the audience confused until they realize that it’s time to applaud. Nothing is very compelling. Director Kip Fagan’s staging is basic and doesn’t add much to the presentation...Mr. Fagan’s work with the actors is equally indistinct...'The Profane' strives for topical relevance but is undone by its blandness and generic approach."
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