The Ruins of Civilization
Closed 2h 15m
The Ruins of Civilization
71

The Ruins of Civilization NYC Reviews and Tickets

71%
(56 Ratings)
Positive
68%
Mixed
23%
Negative
9%
Members say
Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Slow, Great acting, Intelligent

About the Show

Manhattan Theatre Club presents the world premiere of Penelope Skinner's exploration of our need for free will and connection, even in a world on the brink of extinction.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (56)

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336 Reviews | 46 Followers
94
Absorbing, Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you enjoy really good, different, funny shows.

Don't see it if you don't like very small theaters.

130 Reviews | 41 Followers
90
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You're a Tim Daly fan & into futuristic dramas with tension. You like checking out modern technology (& the Carousel of Progress at Disney).

Don't see it if You don't like science fiction or drama. You are uncomfortable with intense characters.

don
506 Reviews | 1010 Followers
85
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if ever wonder where we are going on this planet. also how a black box site makes theater so much more

Don't see it if if you do not want to put your mind to work asking What is next? and What can we do?

62 Reviews | 30 Followers
85
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you are up for a well acted futuristic play that superficially raises a variety of interesting moral, social and other issues.

Don't see it if It would upset you too much to watch the patronizing husband in the play treat his wife like a child.

541 Reviews | 489 Followers
80
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing, Absorbing, Upsetting

See it if you want to see a thought-provoking drama tackling super-timely topics in a resonant way while also creating compelling characters.

Don't see it if you want to feel good about the future.

97 Reviews | 64 Followers
80
Absorbing, Intelligent, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if u want "It's the end of the world as we know it & I feel fine!" bc the state incentivizes the end of empathy & it's easier to look away...

Don't see it if u want really bleak dystopian fare a la Haneke's "Time of the Wolf." It's disquieting in that it's "civilized" society that ruins us all.

184 Reviews | 377 Followers
79
Original, Absorbing, Intelligent, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy new original work, a futuristic thriller, and a great cast.

Don't see it if are looking for something light, fun or fluffy.

761 Reviews | 166 Followers
78
Ambitious, Absorbing, Confusing, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if you like Margaret Atwood futuristic style, feminist focused stories, gradually making important discoveries, foreboding atmosphere

Don't see it if you must have everything explained immediately, cannot imagine future worlds, don't get male privilege

Critic Reviews (14)

The New York Times
May 18th, 2016

"The production sometimes shows the strain of its densely packed thematic weight...The cast only rarely engages us emotionally. Still, for a doomsday play, 'Ruins' is remarkably pleasurable: well paced, well spoken and very deft in planting slyly placed clues as to what the future will be…Much of the pleasure — and horror — of 'Ruins' is in gradually spotting the subtle ways life has changed, and how much it feels like a natural extension of the way we live now."
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Time Out New York
May 18th, 2016

"Roxanna Hope and Orlagh Cassidy, as a bureaucrat named Joy, breathe life into side characters, but the central couple is vapidly written and the world they inhabit is thinly drawn. One can only hope for a future in which Skinner has written a second draft of the play."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 18th, 2016

"However accurately forecasters have predicted bleakness, one can only hope that the future is less boring than the one depicted in the not too subtly titled 'The Ruins of Civilization'…It's not just that the play's themes feel so distressingly familiar. It's that they're also rendered in tedious, meandering fashion, with a vagueness that's more frustrating than intriguing...Gardiner's listless staging does little to elevate the energy level of the proceedings."
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New York Post
May 19th, 2016

We need more dystopian plays but ‘Ruins’ isn’t the right one…Skinner tackles weighty topics, from the plight of refugees to government control over women’s bodies, but Margaret Atwood she is not. The show may have worked better as a dark comedy, and Tim Daly’s character gets close to that territory. As is, the production keeps you only mildly engaged where it should terrify, or at least unsettle.”
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Theatermania
May 18th, 2016

"It's a slow grind through Act 1 as Skinner lays all of this groundwork, but it eventually builds to a compelling story…There are moments when Mara feels more like a social-justice thought experiment than a character in her own right. However, Skinner finds the ideal balance between the two in an 11 o'clock confrontation between the foreign protagonist and Silver. Real life rarely affords such an eloquent face-off between the castes — and this one is particularly satisfying."
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BroadwayWorld
May 19th, 2016

“Climate change, privilege, women having control of their bodies and putting up walls, British playwright Penelope Skinner bundles them all together...After her intriguing ‘The Village Bike’ two years ago, ‘The Ruins of Civilization’ seems a letdown, as the dystopian plot plays all too familiarly. Director Leah C. Gardiner's staging is efficient and the ensemble company is fine, but the meandering dialogue and thinly-developed characters create little reason for empathy.”
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Talkin' Broadway
May 19th, 2016

“‘Ruins’ is never exactly subtle, but it is effective when it's underplaying its hand...Skinner, alas, doesn't avoid that much beyond intermission...and ‘Ruins’ drowns in boring, preachy pathos...The shift in tone is jarring, in part because the characters transform instantaneously, not because they've earned their evolution...Seeing how all these people deal with that unflinching reality from their unique perspectives is original and, in its way, gripping."
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CurtainUp
May 18th, 2016

"Ms. Skinner is to be commended for dishing up a full menu of major world problems…But while 'The Ruins of Civilization' is cleverly trendy it also manages to be both overstuffed and under developed. Too many elements of Ms. Skinner's portrait of life in a ruined civilization are left frustratingly vague...The play's production values are first class…Under Gardiner's direction the grim story moves smoothly to its predictably dark conclusion."
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