Closed 2h 15m
The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll'd
Midtown W
72

The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll'd NYC Reviews and Tickets

72%
(66 Reviews)
Positive
77%
Mixed
14%
Negative
9%
Members say
Great acting, Relevant, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

About the Show

Princess Grace Award-winning playwright Jonathan Payne makes his New York debut with this story based on his experience as a social worker for Playwrights Realm.

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Member Reviews (66)

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95
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Profound, Resonant

See it if Loved it. Felt like an important experience to have. One of the best of the year so far. Really raw script and performances. So engrossing.

Don't see it if You don’t like very real scenes and rough language. Some challenging stuff for sure. Or if you want a traditional story.

70
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Slow

See it if Sibling searches for missing inner city youth (unseen) lost to the foster care system. Good performances with plenty of 4th-wall breakage.

Don't see it if Slurs, profanity, and violence. No curtain call, the actors were surprisingly on the street afterward. Actor tells audience the play is bad.

Critic Reviews (9)

September 19th, 2018

“In both style and content Payne tries to do too much, even though his chief concern, the hole left in society when its young black men disappear, is important and powerful...Audience participation is like plutonium; it needs to be handled delicately. Ideally, it is narrowly tailored to drive home the point of the play...The metatheatrics of ‘Revolving Cycles’...do the opposite: They undermine...That’s a shame because the scenes that don’t try so hard to be clever are so good."
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September 20th, 2018

"Doesn't break the fourth wall so much as completely dismantle it. From its very first moments, the play insists that the audience participate in the action, no matter how uncomfortable that becomes...Through Payne’s poetic language and keen psychological insight, the people of the Oblong seem multidimensional and real, even when they are pushed to their limits. They’re embodied by a stellar cast...Awoye Timpo's production is funny, heart-wrenching and profoundly disturbing."
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September 19th, 2018

"Payne is undaunted by accusations of Brechtian pretension: Actors directly address the audience to comment on the play, and helpful projections tell us what will occur in each scene before it takes place...While some viewers might find this style of undergraduate metatheater off-putting, the play keeps us engaged due to director Awoye Timpo's fully committed and tightly staged production."
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September 26th, 2018

"'The Revolving Cycles' merely repeats points made more strongly in a several other recent dramas...Occasionally, Payne lands a jab that truly stings...But the lack of drama proves debilitating, and the director is unable to save the action from a general listlessness...At moments when 'The Revolving Cycles' should provoke, it sometimes turns dismayingly coy...In any case, the cast works hard and honorably at inhabiting the denizens of this sometimes fuzzy, ill-defined dramatic universe."
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September 20th, 2018

"The cast, made up of a stellar crew of talented professionals, brings authenticity to the maximum, pulling us heavily into Payne’s social experiences as he writes from his witty and distraught heart and mind...Particularly relevant and well-crafted by Payne are the illusionary stereotypes that we...tend to jump to quick judgement of pointing the finger of guilt, just like Karma, but we all find the tables turn just as quickly, knocking Karma’s accusations and blame solidly to the floor."
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September 19th, 2018

"The two women, both portrayed by extraordinary actresses — Kara Young as Karma, Lynda Gravátt as Madam Profit — more or less compete to dominate the play by Jonathan Payne, who is making an arresting New York debut...These scenes present a picture of individual and systemic neglect and indifference, although most of these characters are at least somewhat well-meaning."
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September 20th, 2018

"Unleashes a Pandora’s box of theatrical devices, including symbolically named characters, direct audience interaction, screen projections, a live-streaming cellphone, and actors not only breaking the fourth wall but breaking character as well. Timpo molds it all into a bracing panorama of societal failures amid institutional racism. That is, until the final scene when, with the play’s momentum waning, she and Payne risk one last gambit that unfortunately swallows up all that came before it."
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September 29th, 2018

"Taking more than a few pages from Brecht's playbook, Payne names the mortician Profit and blames the Oblong's woes on the ruthlessness of capitalism. He also breaks the fourth wall with direct interactions with the audience...It isn't the kind of theater I usually like but I was fascinated by the passionate intensity with which Payne...makes his case about the not-so benign neglect of these young people...The cast, most of them playing multiple roles, transforms his thesis into vivid life."
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September 23rd, 2018

"Director Awoye Timpo keeps the action moving at a crisp pace, and elicits performances of great truth and authenticity...Despite terrific performances throughout, and trenchant treatment of a devastating story and situation, a good portion of the play remained clinical to me—perhaps the product of its social worker-cum-playwright—and its metatheatrical devices are so frequently and bluntly employed that they tend to dull in effect."
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