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The Treasurer

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Slow, Intelligent
74
Critics
71
32 reviews
Members
75
129 reviews
 

Playwrights Horizons presents a darkly comic, sharply intimate character study that chronicles the strained ties between a son (Tony nominee Peter Friedman) and his aging mother (Tony winner Deanna Dunagan).

... Read more

Ida Armstrong is broke, lonely, and fading fast. And she’s spending all of her children’s money, forcing her son to assume the unwanted role of the Treasurer: an arrangement that becomes untenable the more he questions his devotion to her. 

 

Cast & Creatives (12)



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Reviews (161)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
71
Avg Score

85
The New York Times

"An emotionally dense play...Mr. Posner’s writing is often effectively double-edged, an amalgam of 21st-century casualness and cadenced lyricism. He is blessed in his director, Mr. Cromer...and his cast. Mr. Friedman is marvelous in evoking a rational man being steadily consumed by a cancerous guilt, while Ms. Dunagan’s shrewd performance fully justifies his jagged ambivalence...Mr. Posner...has a sharp and original ear for the tension between what is spoken and what is not." Full Review

80
Theatermania

"Posner dramatizes this all-too-common scenario with style and sensitivity, leading us to think about our own lives with uncommon clarity...Cromer's production is full of such subtle yet confident visual storytelling...We would be inclined to hate The Son were it not for Friedman's remarkably sympathetic performance...Posner has created a clear-eyed portrait of the tension between perception and reality that has harrowing implications for the way we age in America." Full Review

80
BroadwayWorld

"As directed by David Cromer, the relationship between the reunited mother and son, beautifully played by the two fine actors, is decidedly unsentimental...Like much of the 95-minute piece, the moment is understated, which is what makes 'The Treasurer' so fascinating. The tragedy and pathos that emerges sprouts from the self-judgement one feels when one simply doesn't feel.” Full Review

85
Time Out New York

"'The Treasurer' ultimately feels emotional and personal, balancing the inevitability of Ida’s decline with unexpected swerves in the Son’s complex reactions. David Cromer’s precise, unsentimental staging gives the play the room it needs to breathe and the actors fill the space he gives them. I will not soon forget watching Friedman, a performer of uncanny ease, evoke the private hell of the Son’s devising, where his wounds are licked by gentle flames." Full Review

60
The Hollywood Reporter

"Featuring superb performances by Friedman and Dunagan, 'Treasurer' tackles its difficult subject matter with sensitivity and flights of lyricism. Unfortunately, the play doesn't live up to its considerable ambitions. Diffuse and unfocused, it provokes as much impatience as feeling...Cromer's staging feels unduly fussy and the pacing is sluggish...Problematic but affecting, 'Treasurer' reveals a playwright with promise who needs some seasoning to bring his ideas to more successful fruition." Full Review

75
The Huffington Post

"Posner displays a brightly contemporary point of view with a keen comic sense. Bright and keen, yes; fully realized, no. Fortunately, he has Cromer to help move this nonlinear memory play along. Posner also profits from excellent central performances by mother and son...Some viewers are likely to object to length, or choppiness, or what might seem to be aimlessness. But Posner is a playwright to watch and to follow, and Friedman and Dunagan make 'The Treasurer' well worth the visit." Full Review

60
DC Theatre Scene

"Wonderfully acted, and there are a good number of solid scenes, some funny, some moving. But one walks away as from a family reunion that wasn’t as satisfying as one had hoped...In a family drama, even one about familial alienation, one yearns for some family interaction. 'The Treasurer' seems to be deliberately keeping its family characters at a distance from one another...With nowhere else to go, the playwright mixes in a scene or two that mix middlebrow philosophizing with sci-fi." Full Review

70
Lighting & Sound America

"A production that benefits from two of the most unsparing performances to be seen this season...This strange, sad dance of expired love is given vivid life by Friedman and Dunagan, under the exacting, pointillist direction of Cromer...A singular piece of writing, sometimes totally naturalistic, sometimes informed by quirky fantasy...At times, the play feels stranded between styles...Still, by the final scenes, it's easy to feel that Posner has known all along where he is headed." Full Review

65
Broadway Blog

“'The Treasurer,' a semi-autobiographical combination of pathos, humor, and surrealism…that works more because of the excellence of its two leading players than anything in the…play itself…Instead of creating more face-to-face stage time (instead of phone calls) between the Son and Ida, Posner too often distracts us with tangential dialogue, lengthy pauses, and comically offbeat scenes…David Cromer's direction elicits strong, affecting performances but his physical staging raises questions.” Full Review

70
The Huffington Post

"'The Treasurer' is the study of a beset character whom Friedman plays wrenchingly right through a final in-one talk to patrons that tugs at the heart until the heart cracks. But as a 95-minute intermissionless character study, it stints on aspects that might have been elaborated on...By the final blackout—and the minor flaws notwithstanding—'The Treasurer' is not only a moving experience but also something of a unique one." Full Review

60
New York Daily News

"When all is said and done, Max Posner has written a thoughtful, fairly straight-up family story—one that nods openly to 'The Glass Menagerie.' But between its fragmented structure and repetitive scenes and sometimes quirky direction by David Cromer (hey, let’s obstruct the view of these audience members) the production can confound. It can also, on occasion, delight." Full Review

75
CurtainUp

"While Dunagan's performance as Posner's pivotal character is touching and often funny, the big star turn here belongs to Friedman...Given the dark reality of this story, we need some humor to offset the at times excruciatingly difficult to watch economic and emotional travails of Posner's characters...Cromer taps into what makes 'The Treasurer' touch our hearts...Not lighthearted entertainment...But neither is there anything smug or falsely hokey...The production overall is well worth seeing." Full Review

82
Front Mezz Junkies

"An engaging new play, wickedly funny and surprisingly surreal...Directed by the always impressive Cromer, the fluidness of the storytelling feels entrancing...It’s seamless and fluid, keeping us thoroughly engaged at every turn regardless of how uncomfortable, sad, and funny it all is, and it’s usually all three at the same moments...Posner has written a very funny and honest play about the complications of an imperfect mother/son relationship and what is possibly in store for us all." Full Review

45
Theatre Reviews Limited

"The first act manages to establish character, conflict, setting, and theme. The second act unfortunately repeats this construct, and makes the endeavor seem overlong and overwrought...Posner’s play has much to offer and 'The Treasurer' would have perhaps worked better if the fluidity and capriciousness of the mind matched more closely the workings of the script, and if Cromer’s unusual staging were less awkward." Full Review

90
Front Row Center

"A small gem of a play. Dark, funny, and disturbing...The inspired words of a fresh young playwright in the mouth of a seasoned, nuanced actor combined to make arresting, exciting theater grab us and not let go...The scenes are fast and furious at times...Cromer has done a masterful job of staging all this seamlessly...I can’t say enough about Friedman’s performance...Every breath, every pause conveys precisely what he’s thinking and he is a joy to watch." Full Review

68
TheaterScene.net

"At times very funny and moving, Posner’s choppy family drama is weighted down by authorial, stylistic excesses. Luckily it has the superb Peter Friedman and Deanna Dunagan as a contentious son and mother who elevate the patchy material...Besides the outstanding performances, director Cromer’s staging achieves a striking visual dimension...Conceptually erratic though poignant, 'The Treasurer' is nearly redeemed by its two powerful, central performances." Full Review

75
Gotham Playgoer

"There are some very funny bits along the way, some more relevant than others...It is uneven and fragmented and could benefit from further work. Nevertheless, Posner’s writing has a quirky energy that shows promise for the future...Cromer is only partially successful in pulling it all together. While it doesn’t seem quite ready for prime time, it is an imaginative take on an all too relevant problem and affords the opportunity to see two top-notch actors at work." Full Review

80
Upstage-Downstage

"The playwright, the performers, and director David Cromer manage to take this familiar situation into intriguing directions that leave us uncertain as to where our sympathies lie...It all sounds rather bleak, but thanks to these master actors and a director with an eye for detail, 'The Treasurer' is a fascinating study of how apron strings can become a choking garrote...We are left to consider who has been responsible for all the little murders we have been witness to." Full Review

80
CitiTour

"An often moving and sometimes funny meditation on parent-child guilt...Friedman’s work through these 95 minutes is both seemingly simple and stunningly truthful, while Dunagan unveils every facet of this complex woman...Cromer’s direction is, as usual, smart and sensitive...Don’t let the plot outline of 'The Treasurer' deter you from this well-written play. What sounds merely depressing is actually quite enlightening." Full Review

60
Financial Times (UK)

"'The Treasurer' breaks a taboo by portraying Ida and her son as mutually indifferent. They both have plenty of charm and compassion, just not for one another...The un-Oedipal story unfolds sluggishly under David Cromer’s direction. Such ponderousness is clearly supposed to replicate the tedium of real life. But, while there are several lively comic interludes involving various supporting characters, the tone of Ida and her son’s exchanges remains too consistently dismal." Full Review

85
Manhattan Digest

"May not be one of the fastest moving plays around, but it is certainly one of the most honest, timely, and sapient works that subtly paints a complex portrait of relationships between a mother and her children...Director David Cromer guides the production with sensitivity. He is isn’t afraid of the awkward pauses and contemplation that his actors so wisely give to this material." Full Review

75
Theater Pizzazz

"Posner sets Jacob and Ida up as perfect foils for each other: protagonist and antagonist in a serious conflict punctuated by laugh lines...Dunagan is delightful as Ida...As Jacob, Peter Friedman is likable but more complex and far more tortured than his mother...The struggle between Ida and her son keeps our attention with its humor and familiarity. Our involvement would be more acute and the piece more affecting if mother and son were more evenly matched." Full Review

85
Off Off Online

"Posner’s deeply felt, sharply observed play about dementia and care-giving...Friedman manages to balance Jacob’s resentfulness with the suggestion of an unseen reservoir of pain...Cromer has directed expertly, blending humor and anger and sadness into a cohesive whole...It’s a marvelous introduction to a young writer with the astonishing talent to convey truths that apply more forcefully to a generation he doesn’t belong to—his ability to empathize so vividly is no small achievement." Full Review

45
Village Voice

“With a central character who refuses to change, and an antagonist who refuses to give up on her, ‘The Treasurer’s’ situation hits a dramatic impasse. It seems much longer than its ninety minutes because it can’t do anything but get worse, and it can only end, as it does, with death. Nor is there much to empathize with along its frustrating way, though Friedman, convincing and articulate as always, conveys The Son’s inner pain without any extra pleadings for pity.” Full Review

45
Talkin' Broadway

"Posner has a distinct voice, almost aggressively prosaic and conversational, and there's some deep feeling in his child-parent deliberations. But he hasn't offered a surprising or dramatic story, and he's surrounded the proceedings with a lot of air...It's curious how 'The Treasurer' smooths everything out—keeping the language simple and unpoetic, tamping the emotions down, lingering on the smaller moments of life. Is Posner aiming for universality? I'm afraid he's largely achieved passivity." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
75
Avg Score

85
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if a real success; i'll be thinking about this one for a long time

Don't see it if n/a

80
Clever, Intelligent, Relevant, Great staging

See it if You are interested in parent/adult children relationships that are complicated by dementia. Liked the frankness of the story.

Don't see it if Dementia or issues aging parents disturb you. I felt a lot of honest feelings were expressed- life is not always a picture perfect movie.

88
Clever, Great acting, Profound, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You want a new depiction of long-distance and strained relationships

Don't see it if You want 100% realism

80
Sad, Intense, Slow, Disturbing, Conflicted

See it if Cautionary tale about not being able to forgive and be kind after circumstances have changed. Ironically, treasurer: one who treasures.

Don't see it if You don’t want to watch someone suffer because they are so weighed down with emotional baggage that they cannot love a demented old woman.

79
Intelligent, Resonant, Disappointing, Relatable, Angry

See it if you're interested in a difficult family drama involving financial dependence of a senior in decline.

Don't see it if you're looking for a play dealing with dementia and its impact on a family. This doesn't quite fill that bill.

79
Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if You want to see a well written play by a young, emerging playwright whose writing shows great promise.

Don't see it if Dealing with aging and dementia issues are not your thing.

82
Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Sensitive direction and acting

See it if Want to see extraordinary performances in complex subject/play. It's funny, sad, touching, complicated, as good family dramas are.

Don't see it if Can't see distant family grapple w effects of aging, dementia, in controlling parent, want traditional set, don't like breaking 4th wall.

Also The cast of four are all superb, with breathtaking performances by Pet... Read more Read less

60
Disappointing, Slow, Well acted, Superficial, Unfocused

See it if you can't get enough of dysfunctional family dramedies, esply those using the worn device of memory narration. Solid acting (Dunagan!)

Don't see it if you want a coherent story in which people grow. The vignettes added up to nothing. Pace was slow. Cromer had people eat a meal...no surprise

Also Why is the premise that for failing to love an unworthy mother, the so... Read more Read less

80
Resonant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy clever pieces investigating familial ties.

Don't see it if You need dynamic action. You want a classic drama.

75
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if Road-to-Hell is paved by selfish Mothers & self-loathing. Wringing dark laughs out of unfinished family business dampens emotional response.

Don't see it if Dealing with dementia and moving a parent to a nursing home isn't funny no matter how well-acted. Difficult subject is deftly directed.

75
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Slow, Fascinating

See it if you want to see expert performances & smart direction animate a pensive, adventurous reflection on the cruel uncertainties of aging

Don't see it if you need a clear narrative, emotional resolution & likable characters

75
Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Slow

See it if You want to see an early work of a new playwright. Also if you want to see Peter Friedman in a GREAT acting role.

Don't see it if Old people depress you.

77
Great acting, staging, direction of smart, observant "young" writer's poignant play

See it if to laugh, cringe, let-go of the solitude of guilt and sadness, loss of certainties; reflected through prisms of new media, old habits.

Don't see it if some find staging, structure cryptic: to me, both support theme of construction/ de-construction of our minds today. Where (and who)are we?

78
Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you want to see masterful performances by Friedman and Dunagan. They really are great as mother and son dealing with dementia.

Don't see it if you are looking for a finished, well written script. The structure of the play doesn't really work and the end is weak. Staging isn't great.

81
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you want a show that goes deep into a tough subject matter that we all deal with. Wonderful acting and staging. Asks you to think.

Don't see it if dealing with growing old and issues of being independent are a problem to watch

85
Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You'd like to see a new voice in the theater take on a big idea, rather than an issue; if you have a mom.

Don't see it if You're looking for "contemporary relevance" over "timeless resonance."

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you're interested in plays about dementia or about existential thoughts and life as a whole

Don't see it if you want a show with a true three act structure or a very explicit conflict that comes to a head in one climax

78
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if you relish superb acting in an original story. Peter Friedman's monologues were especially fine.

Don't see it if you find plays about aging depressing.

39
Disappointing, Overrated, Fluffy

See it if All you care about is seeing two pretty good acting performances

Don't see it if you are expecting something with meat and substance.

Also Once again the show score reviews have let me down. When I first heard... Read more Read less

77
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Relevant, Slow

See it if If ene

Don't see it if You find it hard to see your future so we’ll described

80
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Great dialogue, Memento mori

See it if you enjoy slightly unpolished works by new playwrights, absorbing looks into aging and guilt, truly outstanding acting/brilliant dialogue

Don't see it if you already have nightmares about getting old (one older audience member behind us said "my worst nightmare", with a laugh)

Also We happily picked up the transcript of an interview with the playwrigh... Read more Read less

73
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Resonant, Cliched

See it if you want a fairly standard family drama with some fantastical elements and clever design

Don't see it if you need a play to have something really groundbreaking to say

80
Absorbing, Intelligent, Slow, Beautiful performances by the two leads, Max posner—another writer to keep your eye on

See it if you want to see two wonderful actors—the always reliable Peter Friedman and Deanna Dunagan at the top of their game.

Don't see it if you don't like plays about family relationships or plays dealing with Alzheimer's.

85
Absorbing, Intelligent, Quirky, Confusing, Great storytelling

See it if you like Deanna Dunnigan. You like family drama and stories about family conflict.

Don't see it if you don't like stories that have people losing their marbles, don't like stories about old people, don't like family conflict and drama.

68
Great acting, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you enjoy plays about real life family issues.

Don't see it if you are looking for something light and entertaining.