The Red Letter Plays: Fucking A
Closed 2h 15m
The Red Letter Plays: Fucking A
80

The Red Letter Plays: Fucking A NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(123 Reviews)
Positive
82%
Mixed
16%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Great writing, Ambitious

About the Show

Signature Theatre  presents Pulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks' modern-day remix of 'The Scarlet Letter' about an abortionist. Featuring Tony nominees Brandon Victor Dixon and Marc Kudisch, and Emmy winner Christine Lahti.

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Member Reviews (123)

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897 Reviews | 374 Followers
49
Disappointing, Excruciating, Nonsense, Why?!?!, Wasted talent!

See it if You want to see Hester Prinn in a dystopian future where they speak a language that only women understand so translations are projected over

Don't see it if the stage so you can read them for THREE HOURS...oh and did I mention...it’s a musical...sort of...I’m sorry...ugh! Such fine talent...WHY??

691 Reviews | 212 Followers
90
Funny, Intense, Masterful, Epic, Quirky

See it if Remarkable blend of serious drama, comic relief, and musicality. As with "In the Blood", the protagonist is an outcast, trampled by class.

Don't see it if You can't shift between the serious, comic and musical elements. It's a brilliant but odd mix. Read more

MJK
677 Reviews | 187 Followers
58
Overrated, Raunchy, Confounding, Excruciating

See it if you understand Parks' aesthetic & want to see her attempt to repurpose The Scarlet Letter in a Brechtian style; you're a Christine Lahti fan

Don't see it if like me, you are baffled by Suzan-Lori Parks fandom and her heavy-handed and absurd (and not in a good way) storytelling.

687 Reviews | 113 Followers
84
Ambitious, Resonant, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if Dark, fatalistic early SLP work with a Brechtian spin. Bonney's top-notch direction leavens unrelenting bleakness with moments of hope

Don't see it if Brechtian didactics & uncompromising script (with brutal subject matter/misogynistic themes) may be fatiguing. Outstanding ensemble, though

657 Reviews | 147 Followers
88
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you're a Parks fan, admire the excellent Christine Lahti, want to see Elizabeth Stanley push herself, enjoy cast breaking into bitter songs

Don't see it if having an abortionist as a main character would bother you, not a fan of Oedipal like coincidence or of Brecht-Weill style presentation

593 Reviews | 264 Followers
90
F***ing "a"mazing storytelling with hester prynne reimagined as an "a"bortionist

See it if story of vengeance, power, use of sex to various ends brilliantly captured in medieval world; multitalented cast plays and sings new music

Don't see it if this is brutal, but like Game of Thrones you can't avert your eyes from the carnage; starts slowly but gains momentum 2 bloody ending Read more

585 Reviews | 220 Followers
84
Absorbing, Masterful, Intense, Ambitious, Edgy

See it if You enjoy new forms of drama that experiment with different styles, or if you like work similar to that of Brecht.

Don't see it if You dislike tense, bloody plays or dystopian dramas.

488 Reviews | 125 Followers
79
Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if you want to watch a terrific cast in difficult roles - this is a dark, dangerous, brutal, class structured society.

Don't see it if Park's has a way with words, not with music-didn't work for me. Some audience left at intermission. Don't leave, 2nd act much better.

Critic Reviews (30)

The New York Times
September 11th, 2017

"A dark, didactic entertainment deliberately in the mode of Bertolt Brecht...This latest incarnation is light on its feet–quick, sharp and perfectly paradoxical. Barring a few clunking instances of cartoonish satire, Ms. Bonney’s production is as harrowing as it is witty...The cast brings humanizing shades of pain, greed and longing to symbolic figures, without ever tearing the play’s somber folk-tale fabric. And the songs strike a resonant balance between poetry and proclamation."
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Time Out New York
September 11th, 2017

"An expressionistic and politically charged exploration of class, family and violence, studded with jarring bursts of humor and song...Involved are bounty hunters, Hester’s prostitute BFF, a lovestruck butcher, an escaped convict and an invented language...That may sound like a lot—and it is. But although director Bonney struggles to establish a cohesive tone, 'Fucking A’s' alternations between pain and entertainment are never boring...The play leaves an indelible mark."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
September 12th, 2017

"Bonney and her actors handle the blunt, clipped rhythms of the text with confidence...A fiery, raw-throated shout in the face of hypocrisy, privilege, and injustice...It reaches across genres and performance styles—musical, Jacobean revenge play, Brechtian epic theater—drawing on the gifts of a multitalented ensemble to touch something frighteningly prescient about a world twisted by inequity and disenfranchisement."
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The Hollywood Reporter
September 11th, 2017

"'A' never manages to transcend its derivative, ersatz feel. Instead the work comes across like the thesis playwriting project of a zealous grad student as it dutifully recycles theatrical tropes...While the play traffics in important, urgent themes, its affectations prove its undoing...The scripts’ gimmicks, however, are not an obstacle for the performers, who tear into their schematic roles with energy and conviction...Bonney infuses the proceedings with intense theatricality."
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Variety
September 18th, 2017

"More than 150 years after Hawthorne wrote 'The Scarlet Letter: A Romance'—the same words, the same symbols, the same damning letter can still make women weep with shame and rage...Director Jo Bonney runs with the play’s sense of menace...It’s a savage world where only the strong survive. Christine Lahti’s fiercely drawn Hester is a survivor, but so consumed with equally balanced passions of love and hate you can’t tear your eyes away from her."
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AM New York
September 21st, 2017

"Packed with ominous tones, intense emotions, freewheeling theatricality, social criticism and an inevitable sense of tragedy...Bonney gives the production an electrifying edge, with the broad performances of the supporting players played against the protagonists’ grim circumstances...Each production is an outstanding staging of a bold, difficult and provocative work. When viewed together, 'The Red Letter Plays' proves to be one of the most interesting and rewarding theater events of the fall."
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BroadwayWorld
September 13th, 2017

“In director Jo Bonney's chilling Signature Theatre production, Parks’ sardonically abstract portrait of human cruelty may remind playgoers of another writer, Bertolt Brecht...Parks peppers the play with such quick musical moments. Unlike the melodic and lyrically complex interludes Brecht wrote with Kurt Weill in works such as 'The Threepenny Opera,' Parks' songs are more about being absurdist elevations of reality."
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Lighting & Sound America
October 2nd, 2017

"An act of theatrical ventriloquism, an approach that severely undermines its deadly serious subject matter...For some mysterious reason, Parks has allowed herself to be possessed by the spirit of Bertolt Brecht...Jo Bonney's direction has its effective moments...But 'F---ing A' is all over the place, its mordant points too often obscured by the playwright's try-anything approach. It's easy to imagine that this play will ultimately go down as a minor entry in Parks' catalogue of works."
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