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The Ruins of Civilization

From 57 member  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. More…

Sometime in the future, spouses Dolores and Silver (TV star Tim Daly) are living their lives within the constraints of a new world order. In an act of what seems like generosity, Dolores secretly opens their home to a stranger in need, but will she come to regret it? Can her actions have an impact or is it just too late?

Member Reviews (57)


Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Slow, Great acting, Intelligent
Avg Score

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?

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Original, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you would like a futuristic story with serious subtexts about current issues like priviledge/poor, gov control, immigants, population, etc.

Don't see it if you like straight forward stories or do not care for futuristic settings or serious issues in your plays.

Original, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if you like future related shows, almost a 1984 quality to it, big brother watching you.

Don't see it if Takes place in future revolving around a couple who don't want children in order to maintain their govt subsidy.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You like thought provoking shows, and are happy seeing smaller shows.

Don't see it if You're looking for fluff, or a fun musical night at the theater.

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.

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.

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Insipid

See it if It was very confusing. There was no back story as to WHY!! Tim Daly was great. He played it very understated and showed his humanity.

Don't see it if Especially when his wife killed herself and the baby.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting

See it if You are interested in the choices we make and how that impacts others - in a small venue so you can get drawn into the characters.

Don't see it if You want everything tied up neatly at the end/all your questions answered or an uplifting story

Disappointing, Great acting, Edgy, Intense, Slow

See it if You like twists in story lines

Don't see it if You don't like dominating controlling husbands...

Civilized, Rueful, Intelligent, Resonant, Uninvolving

See it if dystopian tales that highlight how we live now entice you. This is a tight, persuasive production. Well-acted, especially by Rachael Holmes.

Don't see it if you'll be disappointed that, despite the futuristic premise, it's a domestic play on denial&selfishness. Ruin comes from civilized behavior.

Confusing, Great acting, Intense

See it if Post apocalyptic play where people in London are awaiting their end and not allowed to procreate. Good concept and acting.

Don't see it if Sometimes, it's hard to enjoy and grasp a lot of the scenes. Profound and confusing.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if discussions of morality, ethics, individual responsibility,

Don't see it if dislike above

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you enjoy science fiction - the world to come

Don't see it if expect to be engrossed by the world to come

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.

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.

Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if you're in the area of 55th and have an interest in seeing a doomsday play. Has interesting moments and a twist or 2 you may not see coming.

Don't see it if you're looking for something with a bit more heft and not into futuristic predictive plots.

Banal, Slow, Relevant, Schematic

See it if You like plays about a dystopian future, even though ideas are limited and without foundation.

Don't see it if You like to see a fully realized future where you can understand how we got from now to there. And some of the action is predictable.

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.

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...
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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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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...
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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 territo...
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