Closed 1h 30m
The Thanksgiving Play
Midtown W
77

The Thanksgiving Play NYC Reviews and Tickets

77%
(146 Reviews)
Positive
80%
Mixed
18%
Negative
2%
Members say
Funny, Clever, Entertaining, Relevant, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Good intentions collide with absurd assumptions in this satire as “woke” teaching artists scramble to create a pageant that somehow manages to celebrate both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month.


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Member Reviews (146)

75
Clever, Strong acting/staging, Thought-provoking, Very broad, Theater about theater

See it if you enjoy broad humor, w/stereotyped chars (dumb actress, woke loser guy, woke uptight gal, nerdy wannabe writer). NA atrocities highlighted

Don't see it if you dislike PC attitudes being lampooned. Shn't whites try to be understanding of NAs? Shn't kids be taught real story, instead of no story? Read more

83
Very funny, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you like really witty fun. A great satire of modern times political correctness and recognizable types.

Don't see it if you don't want to recognize any personal quirks and privileges​. Read more

Critic Reviews (29)

November 5th, 2018

"Thanksgiving is not the only object of the satire, and to the extent the play sometimes seems to miss its mark, it’s because the mark keeps moving...That this aspect of the satire works as well as it does is a credit to the swift pacing of Moritz von Stuelpnagel’s production and the acuity of his casting...The problem for 'The Thanksgiving Play' is that, in splitting its satirical attention, it shortchanges the nominal subject."
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November 5th, 2018

"FastHorse may have had good intentions, but 'The Thanksgiving Play' is neither funny nor humane. Its humor is snide and forced...Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel is milking the comedy as hard as he can, but the cow is dry, and in the process he’s pushing Bareilles, Keller, and Seibert into the kind of parody where the zaniness feels ungrounded and lifeless...FastHorse hasn’t figured out how to make her characters grow and change, so the whole endeavor feels dull and arcless."
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November 5th, 2018

"It's very, very funny...Not all the jokes land, and even with its brief 90-minute running time, the evening ultimately has the feel of an overextended sketch. But the play delivers plenty of uproarious moments and, under the expert direction of Moritz von Stuelpnagel, the performers' uproarious turns make their characters as endearing as they are daffy."
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November 5th, 2018

“An uproarious elementary school backstager, it is by far the funniest satire yet written about the ‘woke’ warriors sleepwalking through American society...Von Stuelpnagel provides an energetic staging that skirts the line between ridiculous and all-too-real...FastHorse leaves room to sympathize with her characters...’The Thanksgiving Play’ delightfully skewers fashionable correctness...FastHorse is clearly unrestrained by fear, making her voice a refreshing addition to the NY theater.”
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November 7th, 2018

“Fasthorse’s comedy of social justice warrior errors...Von Stuelpnagel keeps the characters sympathetic...The concept of seeing well-meaning white liberals through the eyes of a member of a group they're trying to support is a subject ripe for meaningful satire. But despite some interesting moments and a few good laughs, ’The Thanksgiving Play‘ dilutes the concept into pretty standard sketch comedy.”
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November 6th, 2018

“So packed with up-to-the-minute laughs that watching it, I half-wondered if the script had been completed that afternoon...von Stuelpnagel has assembled a quartet of actors perfectly in synch with FastHorse's faultless ear for fatuous speech. As Logan, Bareilles effortlessly delivers such mouthfuls...’The Thanksgiving Play’ --which doesn't overstay its welcome, even for a second --is a living hell for her characters, but a holiday for the audience.”
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November 5th, 2018

"Larissa FastHorse's extremely amusing and thoughtful satire...She aims to present a Thanksgiving play that will tear down the white-guy constructs that endured for centuries and willfully misrepresented the Native American view...It's a nimble production, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel with the same comic verve he exhibited in 'Hand to God,' and acted by a quartet that are in exquisite sync...FastHorse raises tough questions even as she keeps us laughing."
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November 5th, 2018

"FastHorse deals out a bright satirical notion that tickles up plentiful laughter during its initial scenes. Then the show and its humor gradually wind down as 85 minutes tick away. The piece registers finally as a clever sketch that proves insufficiently developed...Although 'The Thanksgiving Play' does not achieve its potential as a satire—and the acting of this production is surprisingly indifferent—at least it contemplates an important subject."
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November 5th, 2018

"A clever piece, with an interesting idea, by a sharp young playwright. Its only problem is that it’s not nearly as provocative as it thinks it is...Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel keep the energy high and the jokes flying; the cast has perhaps the most fun of anyone in the tiny theater...It’s fun, but there are no explosive ideas...Yes, well-intentioned liberals can be ridiculous. We knew this already; we’ve been to Park Slope."
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November 6th, 2018

"Comedy beats preachiness any day, so thank goodness that Larissa FastHorse, an emerging Native American writer, takes a deliberately broad and deliciously funny approach in this new spoof...Goofy Thanksgiving songs and skits presumably okay for kids are threaded throughout to make it all more of a party mix...Some gags are too inside-theater for their own good, and the play lacks anything really eye-opening. Still, 'The Thanksgiving Play' makes you chuckle and think a bit."
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November 6th, 2018

"Unfortunately, for a few long and aggravating stretches of the play, which takes place on Wilson Chin's perfectly rendered classroom set, Logan and Jaxton are just allowed to exchange inane beliefs without anyone around to tell them to shut the hell up. In a sense, I suppose, my twitching left eye was the fault of Bareilles and Keller for acting their mostly one-note roles so well. Though, to be fair, they do summon at least a little sympathy for a couple of extremely marginal theater artists."
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November 5th, 2018

“A first-rate production. The cast consists of four comic geniuses, with women driving the comedy for a change...Von Stuelpnagel masterfully creates a sense of well-choreographed chaos. His work is effective and invisible...FastHorse wrote this piece to underscore the cruel history that we fail to acknowledge...She’s savvy enough to use comedy to deliver her message effectively. But her play makes a deeper statement than even she may have originally intended.”
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November 6th, 2018

“Gleeful entertainment...The brilliance and delight of ‘The Thanksgiving Play’ is that it functions on two levels – both as a sharp satire on political correctness and a serious farce that lampoons the hypocrisy of American mythology and exposes the true exploitation of Native Americans. At the same time, this playful play is poking fun at the theatre and the creative process...The ensemble is terrific. Above all, kudos to FastHorse, a unique and marvelous new voice.”
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November 5th, 2018

"The play is fun and funny for most of its 90 minutes...For these well-meaning absurd attempts to create a culturally and historically honest play to work you need actors with peerless comedic skills. Luckily this cast makes even the most wild and wacky scenes work...Von Stuelpnagel has demonstrated his knack for ratcheting up a comedy's laughs by helping his actors to sharpen their performance and his designers to add visual flair. This is once again on display here."
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November 6th, 2018

“The play is a straightforward satire on the black hole of death of being too politically correct...The actors all do very credible jobs, the directing is competent...The writing is clear, there are witty moments, funny situations and thought-provoking statements, BUT this is not something for a NY audience compared to what the play has to compete against. This play needs to dance more with the unbelievable.”
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November 6th, 2018

"A topical and timely comedy...It’s ridiculous, absurd, and delightful, all layered up together in an uncomfortable sandwich of American culture run amuck...Directed with comic sharpness and style...In the last third...‘The Thanksgiving Play’ loses some flavor and focus. It’s definitely cutting and edgy, smothered in an absurdist concoction of wit and demented humor...Somewhere in this very fun night at the theatre, the point never makes it completely to the table.”
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November 6th, 2018

"A frequently funny, occasionally obvious satire of performative wokeness...FastHorse digs into liberal mores and theatrical earnestness with aplomb...Excessive reliance on sophomoric humor only serves to cheapen the salient points made elsewhere in the play...Bluntness surely has a place in satire, and FastHorse has an undeniably exciting, individual voice that deserves to be heard. She gives the audience a good time, but it often tends to feel like little more than that. "
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November 21st, 2018

“FastHorse makes clear her point of view in a program note...But the point of the play itself is nowhere near as clear...'The Thanksgiving Play' focuses on four 'teaching artists'...From the get-go, they are merciless caricatures of woke liberals...Von Stuelpnagel keeps things brisk; there are certainly jokes and comic business that land...But the skewering is so relentless, and indiscriminate, that 'The Thanksgiving Play'... seems to define satire largely as 'anything that will make you laugh.'”
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November 7th, 2018

“’The Thanksgiving Play’ moves at a brisk, dynamic pace, though its forced slapstick conclusion feels hollow after 90 minutes with the mostly surface-level characters. Its repetition echoes of bougie over-compensation and the ‘Waiting for Guffman-esque’ amateur actor antics eventually become tiresome...Of the four, Ms. Seibert fares best at carving out an authentic performance...She embraces Alicia’s actorly narcissism but digs under the surface, delivering simple but profound nuggets.”
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November 5th, 2018

“An endearingly funny, considerably educational, satirical farce…FastHorse pulls off the remarkable feat of expressing her dismay at the distortions by ridiculing them mercilessly while simultaneously making hilarious fun of political correctness…Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel. pulls these bits off just as effectively as he does the play's fast-paced comedy, straight-faced cluelessness, and farcical mayhem, including football played - Ugh! (in more ways than one) - with a pair of bloody heads.”
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November 7th, 2018

“Though this overextended sketch has hilarious moments it fails to truly deliver its message...The cast is all wonderful in their portrayals, with Margo Siebert rising to the top...Moritz von Stuelpnagel knows how to keep this show fast paced and comedic. Wilson Chin’s set design, Isabella Byrd’s lighting and Mikaal Sulaiman’s sound are all first rate, but...’The Thanksgiving Play’ however, is overstuffed, without enough meat on the bone to really be taken seriously.”
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November 5th, 2018

"The characters may be stereotypes but they are marvelously realized by the four actors. The satire is about as subtle as a sledgehammer, but there are some hilarious moments...What disappointed me was that I thought a Native American playwright would offer some original insights on our November holiday that I didn’t find. I felt that the play might just as easily have been the work of a team of privileged white SNL writers."
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November 6th, 2018

“The piece is a clever, extended SNL sketch...Aside from visuals and the occasional chuckle, it wore thin...There’s no question intent is worthy however and filled with extremely valid observation...Acting is fine with Siebert a wide-eyed standout...Direction by von Stuelpnagel is zany and inventive. Even Logan and Jaxton’s ceremonial uncoupling is funny. Alicia’s stagey narcissism is splendid. The stage is broadly, effectively used.”
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November 19th, 2018

“This delightfully absurd new comedy by FastHorse finds four white people perilously trying to create a culturally sensitive educational play about Thanksgiving...'The Thanksgiving Play' bluntly examines how even the most well-intentioned white people can get tripped up in their attempts to correct for the sins of their ancestors, using comedy to shine a light on the difficulty of confronting and talking about race and history.”
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November 6th, 2018

“I am a fan of Larissa FastHorse’s extremely funny and spot-on 'The Thanksgiving Play'...Von Stuelpnagel lets Bareilles, Bean, Seibert, and Keller run rampant...The farce gets out of hand at times, working better when it stays more grounded...We recognize parts of ourselves in the four characters...Thus, there are moments in the show when you are likely to hesitate before laughing, wondering whether you are being insensitive by enjoying yourself too much.”
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November 6th, 2018

“FastHorse's wonderful new comedy....FastHorse winds up these characters and lets them bump into each other. The results are hilarious, with pointed political humor and plain silly comedy...The show is stolen by Seibert...Seibert luxuriates in the character, with wide-eyed self-confidence and joyous empty-headed-ness...In a time when a lot of liberal people are losing their senses of humor, FastHorse's play is a real gift.”
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November 6th, 2018

"The premise is particularly rife for parody, and no one is spared in Ms. FastHorse’s hardworking but ultimately very funny comedy. Her play is very self-aware, and hence its tone can come off as somewhat self-congratulatory. But as I grew accustomed to and surrendered myself to this stylistic choice, I reveled in the cartoonish excessiveness of it all. At the end of the day, 'The Thanksgiving Play' earns its plentiful laughs."
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December 2nd, 2018

"The play is comically self-referential and self-effacing from the start...Fasthorse is searingly funny, and her dialogue, in the hands of four exceptionally talented and cohesive farceurs, lands like thunder. The play is pure in execution, and paces well...In its self-referential nature also lies the problem: What is the play about?...It’s described as a biting comedy, but if you ask me, only inasmuch as it is taking a bite out of itself, and then pondering the nature of its now-missing mass."
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November 5th, 2018

"It is does exactly what a satire should. The uncomfortable laughs are balanced with belly laughs, which director Moritz von Stuelpnagel keeps careful track of as the action escalates into chaos...But still, the play gets to us: like our admirably well-intentioned artists, we all want to do better, especially now. But to discover our faults, we must first allow ourselves to sometimes screw up. 'The Thanksgiving Play' gives the characters, and the audience in turn, a safe space to be unsafe."
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