Closed 1h 40m
The Rape of the Sabine Women, By Grace B. Matthias
Midtown W
76

The Rape of the Sabine Women, By Grace B. Matthias NYC Reviews and Tickets

76%
(99 Reviews)
Positive
78%
Mixed
15%
Negative
7%
Members say
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Relevant, Clever, Absorbing

About the Show

Playwrights Realm presents this world premiere, a complex collision of satire and dark comedy exploring rape culture in America.

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Member Reviews (99)

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83
Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You want to see a contemporary play about serious issues that finds a way to deal with them in about a humorous a way as you probably could.

Don't see it if You don't like shows that seem to make little sense till the end when you find out what it's all about.

85
Edgy, Intense, Relevant, Insightful, Thought-provoking

See it if Powerful exploration of a high school girl's date rape. Uses satire to address many difficult issues. Heartfelt characters.

Don't see it if This play is not so much about the rape itself but about everyone's reaction to it. Is the grey area good-and-evil or loss of innocence?

Critic Reviews (17)

September 10th, 2017

"A serious effort to dramatize a rape and its repercussions, it also dares itself to be a satire, a high school comedy, and a coming-of-age story...That’s a lot for a play to be, and the mix is not always comfortable...That Grace emerges as a well-rounded character is partly the result of the touching conviction Perkins imbues her with...The meant-to-be-funny material is too unsophisticated...That’s a shame because other elements, sticking closer to the main story, remain fresh and challenging."
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September 11th, 2017

"A superb rape comedy—yes, you read that right...Grace’s story is shifting parts comedy, tragedy, horror and even—your skin crawls to recall it—romance...The skilled playwright's absurdist wit tossing off sparks that sometimes turn into fires. Crowley and Rafaeli’s tricky tonal balancing act requires high-wire nerve, but they manage it. The secret is Perkins, who gets weightier as the show goes on, becoming its calm and certain center."
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September 10th, 2017

"As a man calling into question centuries of female narratives written by other men, Crowley puts himself and his work in the hot seat...With delicate direction by Rafaeli, Crowley reaps the rewards of that risk by subverting the 'cautionary tale,' the 'victim story' and all other tropes...What makes Grace and her story so compelling are her confusing internal contradictions, made completely understandable in Perkins's detailed performance."
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September 11th, 2017

"The scenes featuring Grace, Bobby, and Jeff are tautly written and filled with tension, but Crowley tries to play everything else for laughs...There's little that the director, Tyne Rafaeli, can do to resolve these tonal contradictions, but she does get three first-rate performances from her leads...This altogether perplexing effort is best filed away as a daring—but only partially successful—attempt by a gifted writer at dealing creatively with white-hot subject matter."
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September 10th, 2017

"Crowley employs, with mixed success, the conventions of satire to take on the issue of rape culture...Relying rather heavily on familiar stereotypes and easy targets for its cartoonish humor, the play meanders along too many tangents to be completely effective. However, the production itself is well served by the rapid-fire direction and in the performances by the excellent ensemble...The play needs a great deal of trimming and reshaping to keep the message from being lost in the silly bits."
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September 16th, 2017

“The awkwardly titled ‘The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias' has problems beyond its nomenclature. What, if anything, is it ultimately about? Though it claims to be a ‘satirical’ look at the subject of rape, any satire is lost in the mixed results of the presentation. If anything, the play seems too subtle and nuanced for its own good.”
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September 10th, 2017

"I appreciate artists who take risks, and Crowley does that with his unconventional approach. However, the satire only sometimes comes through loud and clear; other times he seems to be going for a more straightforward narrative, so the tone is not consistent...Within this abstract world, Perkins delivers a realistic performance of a shy teenager often confused by the world around her...The last scene is powerful and moving, and almost makes up for the unevenness of what comes before."
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September 14th, 2017

"It's a flawed but fascinating play thanks to lively staging and an emotionally potent performance by Perkins...The satirical misfires and metaphorical overkill notwithstanding, director Rafaeli makes very effective use of Maldonado's spare auditorium set...Rafaeli also helps the various ensemble members smoothly transition into double-cast roles. However, the one really rounded and real character is Grace and Perkins is the undisputed star of this enterprise."
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September 19th, 2017

“Susannah Perkins’s mesmeric eyes capture you at the get-go. The entire production rests on her narrow shoulders. I’ve rarely seen an actor more perfectly cast nor a character more ideally realized…The high-school setting seems to invite cliché and caricature. The cacophony of all that social referencing plays like a good idea that’s been over-amplified, and some editing would be helpful...All the distractions aside, we remain in Grace’s pocket. We want her to figure it out for us."
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September 10th, 2017

"A wickedly dark comedy about the culture of rape in America...A brilliant production...Hundreds of shockingly relevant, emotional, and funny twists are so expertly tossed in our direction...Perkins gives a standing-ovation performance full of intelligence and bravery that is a must-see...What we end up with is a wildly funny, fearless, and smart exploration of the culture of rape, trauma, performed by an excellent group of actors."
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September 13th, 2017

“Crowley’s characters are all comically off-kilter but their extreme attitudes and language, while occasionally amusing, tend to blur whatever the play wants to say about the historical persistence of rape. The play’s exaggerations…weaken any argument Crowley may be making, and become more about their own theatricality than what they’re saying…Grace is superbly performed by Perkins, who perfectly captures the girl’s naïveté, ignorance, and vulnerability…Also unusually impressive is Jeena Yi.”
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September 13th, 2017

"Though the obviously well-meaning Crowley hopes to encourage audiences to understand the issues and double standards here, and carefully incorporates many particulars of alleged rape episodes to weight his arguments, it’s clearly presented as dark satire. As the first scenes of the play unfolded, I thought director Tyne Rafaeli was intentionally distorting Crowley’s script, pushing the cast into full-force farce. Sadly, also annoyingly, such a comic vein doesn’t work."
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September 11th, 2017

"The playwright attempts to comment on our hypocritical hyper-sexualized 'rape culture,' but his adults are often such cartoon characters that he subverts the message. For me, the impact was also lessened by the ambiguousness of Grace’s experience...Tyne Rafaeli’s direction successfully navigates the play’s complex path. While the play tries to do too much and doesn’t fully integrate its various strands, it is an original. Crowley shows promise and I look forward to his next play."
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September 11th, 2017

"It’s as if the dialogue has been soaked in tranquillisers, then run through a tumble-dryer. Yet the underlying conversational rhythms ring true...Under Tyne Rafaeli’s stylised direction, such deadpan flourishes make 'Sabine Women' into a mordant portrait of a culture in steep decline. Every character is a bundle of cliché and delusion...Yet by avoiding all trace of melodrama and sentimentality, 'Sabine Women' confronts us with the bleak vision that rape is a basic fact of life."
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September 12th, 2017

"A clever indictment of the blinding misogyny that underlies how our society insists on discussing rape, and the damage we all suffer as a result...Crowley surrounds Grace with broad personalities...And he punctuates the storytelling with delightfully campy interludes...Occasionally, Crowley’s insistent satire becomes wearing—he makes his points, many times over—but the excellent ensemble never wavers."
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T
September 20th, 2017

"Inventive, and powerful...Crowley’s adept sense of comedy and his penchant for lyrical writing are standouts of the production...Directed by Tyne Rafaeli, the production runs like a fast-paced comedy, regardless of the fact that the material is so tragic. Still, the story about the radicalization of Grace is poignant, and uplifting. A rewarding evening of theater about a woman who refuses to remain silent."
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September 16th, 2017

"A darkly satirical indictment of American rape culture...Sensitively directed by Tyne Rafaeli...The exciting, innovative concept–with its inherent complications–was inspired by the 2012 Steubenville, Ohio case which involved the rape of an intoxicated teenage girl by two football players. And it’s particularly timely since President Donald Trump is trying to dismantle the Obama administrations 2011 guidelines that require schools to investigate all complaints of sexual assault."
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