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

The Ruins of Civilization NYC Reviews and Tickets

(57 Reviews)
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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Member Reviews (57)

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708 Reviews | 154 Followers
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

640 Reviews | 279 Followers
Interesting dystopian tale about how society deals with time when global warming is irreversible; captures the banality of extinction

See it if you enjoy political morality tale cast as domestic conflict between those numbly acting "civilized" vs. going mad; fine cast/Tim Daly

Don't see it if you never feel terror/urgency of world coming to end, characters are largely stand-ins for political positions, ending is predictable

506 Reviews | 1001 Followers
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?

535 Reviews | 488 Followers
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.

406 Reviews | 188 Followers
Great acting, Great staging, Edgy, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You love Tim Daly, and plays about the future. Like to let your imagination run wild and enjoy sci-fi. great acting

Don't see it if You are like me and do not follow futuristic plots easily. Do not have a best friend who can explain what happened to you. Get befuddled

399 Reviews | 203 Followers
Absorbing, Original, Resonant, Intense, Intelligent

See it if Compelling drama. Tense, edge of your seat performances. Relevant topic. Kept my interest all the way through. Emotional.

Don't see it if A little heavy-handed at times. Tim Daly could use a dialect coach.

407 Reviews | 67 Followers
Ambitious, Confusing, Edgy, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy apocalyptic settings in a vague future that touches on climate change, immigration ,mental illness. It challenges, makes you think

Don't see it if Like precise story telling that lays out the playwright's vision or if you don't like to think.

402 Reviews | 86 Followers
Predictable, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting

See it if you're interested in futurist plays which offer subtext on the current human experience and where humanity could be headed

Don't see it if you don't like plot twists, especially those which are heavily foreshadowed and you can predict well in advance.

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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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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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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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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