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The Red Letter Plays: In the Blood

From 103 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great staging, Relevant, Great writing

About the show

Signature Theatre presents Pulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks' modern-day riff on 'The Scarlet Letter,' in which a penniless mother of five is condemned by the men who love her. Featuring Tony nominee Saycon Sengbloh. More…

Produced together for the first time and running in rep, Parks' 'The Red Letter Plays: Fucking A & In the Blood' explode our ideas of love, society, sex, and power with wit and fearlessness. Hester turns to former lovers, friends, and the institutions meant to support her, only to be spurned by them all with devastating consequences. Directed by Obie winner Sarah Benson.


Member Reviews (103)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Absorbing, Great staging, Relevant, Great writing
76
Avg Score

90
Absorbing, Funny, Great writing, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if you enjoy seeing a smartly written play where the societal issues of the day are very effectively presented.

Don't see it if Small productions with a humorously told depressing story is not your thing.

85
Relevant, Resonant, Great staging, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if watching a character being used, lied to, unable to escape from the grips of others seeking to profit off the situation

Don't see it if depicting the brutality of what the haves can do to the have nots can be disturbing

72
Epic, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Slow

See it if / for a searing take on "The Scarlet Letter" set in contemporary society

Don't see it if if you want something upbeat; need an intermission (it's 2 hrs without one); graphic descriptions of sexual encounters might trigger you

Also It lagged in a few places, but it's good (if brutal).

82
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Edgy

See it if you enjoy politically conscious theater, you are not looking for entertainment, care about race, sex and culture

Don't see it if you want cheerful, entertaining theater.

75
Sad, thought-provoking, torn

See it if want a glimpse of a hard life to make you thankful for what you have.

Don't see it if you can't face the inequities of our welfare system.

79
Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing, Great staging

See it if i like the Parks and always find her plays and writing interesting and worth the trip

Don't see it if if look foe a comedy

93
Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Must see, Great writing

See it if Phenomenally created, both in design, writing, and acting. One of the best shows I've seen at the Signature. Riveting, thoughtful, masterful

Don't see it if You want a more fluffy, fun, show where you don't have to think. This is a serious work of art.

75
Cliched, Great acting, Great staging, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You are interested in a play that is relevant and tough, with great acting and staging, that is insightful about the ones we leave behind.

Don't see it if If you are looking for light entertainment or a complete plot. While very sad, I’m not sure the lead was especially sympathetic.

95
Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You are ready to leave with your insides shaking.

Don't see it if You want light entertainment.

79
Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Slow, Uneven

See it if You're interested in the intersection of race, gender, class as it is played out in the life of an indigent black woman.

Don't see it if If you prize literal representation in theater or straightforward narrative.

63
Great acting, Ambitious, Edgy

See it if u like characters indicting themselves in monologues in a play depicting the horrible conditions in black life; fantastic SayconSengvloh

Don't see it if you can't bear seeing another moment of life without hope or redemption

80
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if You are interested in plays about individual and social responsibility focused on unwed mothers and absent fathers with food for thought

Don't see it if You don't like serous plays of two hours without intermission

89
Resonant, Great acting, Great directing, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a brilliant ensemble brilliantly directed in a smart, thought-provoking and ultimately heartbreaking story.

Don't see it if you're not interested in stories about how a good person mistreated by the system and loved ones can turn sour.

68
Confusing, Dizzying, Edgy, Great acting, Loud

See it if You like challenging concepts and hard-to-like characters.

Don't see it if You don't like challenging concepts and hard-to-like characters.

63
Ambitious, Confusing, Edgy, Great staging, Great acting

See it if Clever staging & great acting for a play that pushes at the boundaries. Thought provoking mediation on women's place in society & family.

Don't see it if It's a very difficult & unpleasant play

46
Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow

See it if you want to get bored and find it confusing

Don't see it if you prefer musicals

80
Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if You like thought-provoking plays with strong, effective acting Don't see it if You don't want to be challenged when you go to the the

Don't see it if You don't want to be challenged when you go to the theatre.

81
Clever, Absorbing, Great writing, Masterful

See it if you love SLP. This work as well as Fucking A were both brilliant productions of these pieces

Don't see it if you don't like SLP.... which there is something wrong if you don't

80
Intense, Intelligent, Profound, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if You like intelligent plays that tell a difficult story

Don't see it if You want a light, feel-good song-and-dance show.

Also There’s nothing easy about this play. It’s a tragedy, not a redemption... Read more Read less

70
Great staging, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Slow, Great acting

See it if You like sad shows. It was dark and got darker.

Don't see it if You don't want to be depressed.

72
Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Theatrical, Profound

See it if you like actors successfully playing various roles (adults & kids), w/ tough dark dank poignant subjects, ultimately touching and well done.

Don't see it if you don't like theater holding a mirror to tough dark subjects in theatrical non-realistic ways, w/ adults playing kids and sad situations.

78
Edgy, Intelligent, Great staging, Great writing

See it if Saycon Sengbloh plays Hester, the single mother of 5 by 5 different men who have used her. The system has used her.

Don't see it if You prefer traditional staging. Adults play dual roles as children and grownups in Hester's life.

Also The skateboard ramp stage worked so well - as a playground for Hester'... Read more Read less

77
Absorbing, Great staging, Dated, Pedantic

See it if Very good performances but the interspersed lectures made it feel very dated and heavy-handed. I think the play would have worked without it

Don't see it if You aren't interested in alternate views of poverty or seeing hardship portrayed on stage without a happy ending;

Also Companion play to Fucking A which I liked better

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Intense

See it if Terrific acting and very exciting staging. It is a tough storyline, but poignant & I felt very swept into it.

Don't see it if Adverse to blood and hard truths shown in a very dramatic way.

95
Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Must see, Profound

See it if You like thought-provoking plays with extraordinary acting

Don't see it if You don't want to be challenged when you go to the theater and like your entertainment light and breezy


September 17th, 2017
"A first-rate revival...Plays with theatrical traditions and the expectations that come with them...'The Red Letter Plays' allow us a chance to consider the extraordinary and elusive talent of Parks, a dramatist who seems to reinvent the form with every new offering...Benson reins in the hectorin...
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September 17th, 2017
"Seizes you from the get-go...The play premiered in 1999, but now, with homelessness at record levels in NYC and a national backslide in women’s reproductive rights, it seems perhaps even more relevant. Its urgency is heightened by director Benson’s relentless pace and the ensemble cast’s unfette...
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September 17th, 2017
"Parks rages incisively, articulately, and sometimes even humorously against the capitalist machine...It’s not subtle, but Parks isn’t going for subtlety so much as confrontation...As Hester, Sengbloh gives a performance both innocent and frightening—and finally, devastating...Something special i...
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September 18th, 2017
"Almost 20 years after Parks wrote these two plays, the festering wound of the abortionist in 'F—ing A' and the hateful name that drove an earth mother to violence in 'In the Blood'—and more than 150 years after Hawthorne wrote 'The Scarlet Letter: A Romance'—the same words, the same symbols, the...
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