Already closed | 2h 15m | Midtown W

The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll'd

From 66 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Relevant, Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking

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. More…

Karma's foster brother, Terrell, has gone missing, and she's trying to find him amidst the inner city chaos that is The Oblong – but his teacher can't remember his name, his foster mom is still cashing his reimbursement checks, and his ex is glad he's gone. Where's the police, where are the reporters? Karma seems to be the only one who cares, but the more she looks, the more she realizes that in The Oblong, caring only means trouble.

2h 15m | Already closed | The Duke on 42nd Street (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (66)


Great acting, Relevant, Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking
Avg Score

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.

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.

Powerful thought-provoking impact, Based on social worker’s observations, Rough ghetto street life portrayal

See it if Breaking the fourth wall and demanding audience engagement, a talented team of actors gives a vivid and disturbing performance.

Don't see it if You dislike experimental theatre. You want answers to questions and solutions to problems, but maybe raising awareness will help.

Also Consequences of broken homes, school drop out, drug use, unemployment,... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Relevant

See it if A new kind of theater with audience participation and extraordinary social relevance . Well acted and written.

Don't see it if Do not see if you prefer a light drama .

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Profound, Relevant

See it if If you like a conceptional play with deeper meaning.

Don't see it if Minimum sets.

Brave, disturbing, superbly crafted

See it if for riveting, profound writing about the hard facts of life in racially torn communities that tell the inside story (good, bad and ugly)

Don't see it if you expect a happy ending or neatly packaged answers

Also This is bold and brave in every sense - writing, staging, casting, dir... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Creative

See it if you enjoy relevant issues presented in a creative, audience-interactive direction.

Don't see it if you don’t like stories dealing with current issues such as racism or if you’re easily offended by violence or cursing.

Ambitious, Quirky, Uneven, Brechtian

See it if you want a Brechtian take on racism in its various political and economic forms in modern (and past and future) America.

Don't see it if you dislike theatre that FORCES you to fully engage with the performance.

Also I still can't decide whether this is a subjectively good play, or a su... Read more Read less

Long, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Quirky

See it if / for an inside, human look at the racial disparity we're living in now, and the toll it takes on all of us.

Don't see it if you want some escapism, or a comedy.

Also I felt like there were a some missed opportunities design and directio... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Quirky, Relevant, Riveting, Clever

See it if you like complicated, timely and electric work that is equal parts funny and thought-provoking

Don't see it if you don't want to think, or be engaged and only want pure "entertainment"

Thought-provoking, Confusing, Excruciating, Badly staged.

See it if you want to support a young playwright, and the work of a good theater company.

Don't see it if you don't like indulgent, insipid execution.

Also There is a good idea here, and a whiff of a story. It is wrapped in th... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant

See it if you like your theater relevant/topical/smart, you want a show that's a serious social commentary that has moments of humor, too

Don't see it if you want something totally light, you want something very traditional

Also Elements of this show reminded me of the recent production of Caryl Ch... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Profound

See it if like new forms and black theatre that breaks boundaries.

Don't see it if you want to see black narratives done with a kitchen-sink realism motif.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Disappointing, Intelligent, Uneven

See it if you want some insight into the cycles of repression and incarceration that plague African American communities

Don't see it if you don't like direct address or audience participation

Also There are two main stories that happen in this show - one centering ar... Read more Read less

Profound, Relevant, Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense

See it if You are looking for a deep, intense play that revolves around racial and socioeconomic divisiveness in America. You want to feel something.

Don't see it if You want a light-hearted, funny show. This show is intense but really spoke to me. I was absorbed the entire time and absolutely loved it

Great acting, Edgy, Intense, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see a thought-provoking show with a great cast.

Don't see it if you don't like shows that delve deep into issues of race and class.

Masterful, Profound, Relevant, Riveting, Must see

See it if you are a human being in 21st century America and want to have a play resonate with you long after you have left the theatre.

Don't see it if you want to hide from issues of racism and poverty and the justice system and education system and the realities of getting by within it all

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you enjoy a powerfully acted, very theatrical story about the isolation of people navigating the system in poverty-stricken communities.

Don't see it if you're not a fan of a shattered fourth wall.

Clever, Great acting, Thought provoking

See it if I went to see new Yale graduate James Udom and was pleasantly surprised at the thought provoking work. It entertained with some clever humor

Don't see it if The play has a strong message. If you don’t have the stomach for real life - in your face racial discussion and art, then don’t go.

During previews
Ambitious, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Self-aware, Needs tightening

See it if you're interested in a fascinating exploration of inner-city Black life, done w humor and humanity. Karma meets memorable chars in her quest

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable w the breaking of 4th wall/chars talking abt the playwright. Most scenes sh be tightened, but the basics are there.

Also I almost didn't go, based on early reviews, but I'm glad I ignored the... Read more Read less

During previews
Dope, Relevant, Great writing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You want to see a stunning piece of work that speaks volumes about the cycle of racism in our country without ever feeling preachy.

Don't see it if You’re a need to see it but you’ll just call it fake news anyway.

During previews
Ambitious, Edgy, Slow, Relevant, Brechtian

See it if you want to see a finger-pointing, in-your-face indictment of race, class & generational struggles on the mean streets of the inner cities.

Don't see it if you aren't prepared for some awkward audience-interaction & a stark depiction of black struggles & injustices in a very political work.

Also Worth noting: Lynda Gravatt, fresh from her powerful performance in Th... Read more Read less

During previews
Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if Taut, impassioned ensemble led by dynamic Young & Gravatt holds interest despite didactic, preachy script Timpo's Brechtian direction helps

Don't see it if Payne's impassioned concerns about race & privilege are not dramatized but orated at length Often feels like an tedious sociology lecture

During previews
Funny, Invigorating, Thoughtful, Innovative, Committed

See it if you want to experience a clear-eyed engagement in dramatic form of the daily life-&-death struggles some black neighborhoods face today.

Don't see it if confronting the consequences of institutionalized racism makes you queasy, or you are expecting a neat, well-made play.

Also I love this play & this production, the commitment, the free-wheeling ... Read more Read less

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Clever

See it if you want to experience life on the street and the effect it has in ruining some while others profit, all put together in a unique play.

Don't see it if you want isolation from reality and easily become uncomfortable out of your own cocoon.

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 hom...
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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 mu...
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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 pla...
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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 Revol...
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