This Flat Earth
Closed 1h 30m
This Flat Earth
74

This Flat Earth NYC Reviews and Tickets

74%
(236 Reviews)
Positive
74%
Mixed
20%
Negative
6%
Members say
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious

About the Show

At a middle school a seaside town, the unthinkable has happened, placing a bewildered community in the national spotlight. A world premiere from Playwrights Horizons.

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Member Reviews (236)

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83
Ambitious, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if Relevant today.. Relationship between parent and daughter so well done. Interplay of teenagers so good see more re: the Mom and .....

Don't see it if Teenage Girls always portrayed in a negative way. Not sure if first few rows can see the entire set. Voices sometimes do not carry. Read more

71
Movingly shows kids' response to parkland hs-like shooting; but various unrelated subplots flatten effect/cause the play to lose focus

See it if powerfully shows how shootings destroy communities, how adults fail kids on brink of adulthood

Don't see it if manipulative; tries 2 bite off much 2 much; child's whiny naivete unrealistic; response 2 violence, that "stuff happens" is ridiculous Read more

Critic Reviews (24)

The New York Times
April 9th, 2018

"Very sincere and equally ungainly new drama. There is no denying the urgency of this work...Ferrentino is bravely attempting to contextualize 21st-century horrors within the sort of existential framework in which Thornton Wilder and Edward Albee specialized...The ambitious, potentially heart-stirring elements are all in place here. Yet they have been assembled with a disjointedness that taxes our belief. And the performances, perhaps inevitably, lack emotional continuity."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 9th, 2018

"Despite a gutsy performance from the talented teenage lead, Ella Kennedy Davis, and despite the intermittent 'Mmm's of significance that rippled through the audience, I left Ferrentino’s play dry-eyed and weirdly restless...For a play that orbits a school shooting, 'This Flat Earth' is almost aggressively apolitical...I have no idea what Ferrentino has to say about our country’s repeated waves of armed violence."
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The Hollywood Reporter
April 9th, 2018

"Despite noble intentions and sensitivity, 'This Flat Earth' proves an awkwardly written and thoroughly unconvincing drama that squanders the sadly ongoing timeliness of its tragic subject matter...For long stretches, 'This Flat Earth' meanders aimlessly in search of something resembling a plot. That would matter less if the dialogue were more incisive, but much of it beggars belief...The performances prove equally unmemorable, with the exception of the always reliable Gravatt."
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New York Daily News
April 9th, 2018

"The unconvincing 'This Flat Earth' at Playwrights Horizons proves that it’s actually not all in the timing...The show also lacks urgency and authenticity and, as directed by Rebecca Taichman, uniformly believable performances...Ferrentino, to her credit, is drawn to stories of people who are complicated. Too bad in this case she sabotages her own characters, who collapse into contrived and cliched behaviors."
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Theatermania
April 9th, 2018

"Sensitive yet unfocused...Taichman attempts to herd Ferrentino's tonal and thematic cats into a coherent production, landing on one that at least looks professional...A play that feels unfinished, unedited, and rushed to production. This is primarily evident in Ferrentino's scattershot dramaturgy...There are at least two great plays in 'This Flat Earth,' but crammed together like house plants in a dim apartment, they are unable to thrive."
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Lighting & Sound America
April 10th, 2018

"A series of feints and trial balloons, with nothing developed enough to claim our interest or engage our emotions...Buried inside Ferrentino's script is an acute commentary on violence and class in America, but it needs further teasing out...A hodgepodge of situations and ideas, and there is little that Taichman can do to bring clarity to it...Has the feel of an early draft, and one wonders if, given the timeliness of its theme, it wasn't rushed into production."
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Talkin' Broadway
April 9th, 2018

"'This Flat Earth' displays a keen social conscience and a laudable concern for victims of legislation that thrusts guns into the hands of whoever wants them. What it doesn't do is present this issue with an entirely coherent plot or entirely consistent characters...Director Rebecca Taichman often seems at a loss where to put her idle characters, having them wait motionlessly down a hall or linger on a fire escape. She also encourages overacting."
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New York Stage Review
April 9th, 2018

"It is challenging for a writer to bring an inarticulate adolescent into focus. It is equally hard for a juvenile actor to realize a hazy character. These weaknesses in composition and performance are compounded by Ferrentino’s sudden attempt late in the story to reframe Julie and the shooting into the perspective of an entire lifetime...Still, there are felicitous touches to this latest play from the talented Ferrentino."
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TheaterScene.net
April 13th, 2018

"Taichman, who won a Tony last year for helming 'Indecent,' is unable to add any depth to the proceedings or smooth over the script's awkward plotting and strange inconsistencies. The most grating example of the latter is when Julie, who is 13 years old, says she was unaware of any school shootings before the one she experienced. This type of sheltered innocence might fit Ferrentino's larger objectives, but it's completely at odds with the smart young person we've come to know."
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Theater Pizzazz
April 9th, 2018

"Taichman’s direction is affectionately gentle – how could she not feel affection for Ferrentino’s beautiful script? Director and writer are of one mind and present a story that resonates. The cast is uniformly marvelous. Davis shines in petulant innocence, while Saint-Germain is only slightly more mature...Beck’s Lisa is far more chipper than a mother who lost her child should be, using cheerfulness as a very effective shield from the sorrow underneath."
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CurtainUp
April 9th, 2018

"'This Flat Earth' certainly has a torn from the headlines timeliness. But the playwright has over packed it with too many issues that don't connect as smoothly as they should...There's another character whose presence offsets these flaws. That's Lynda Gravatt as Cloris...Gravatt's addressing some of Julie's urgent need to know what's next but stopping short of taking her through all the phases of a normal life makes for a wonderfully moving but realistically unpredictable finale."
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Front Row Center
April 10th, 2018

"While the subject matter couldn't be timelier, 'This Flat Earth' doesn't live up to its promise. Ferrentino has a lot of good ideas that even Taichman's celebrated direction couldn't coalesce...Julie and Zander are not fully drawn characters, they're generic preadolescents. And if the audience can't connect to them, the whole play becomes an intellectual exercise, not an emotional one. While the two young actors do a fine job, they are unable to rise above the material."
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Stage Buddy
April 19th, 2018

"A great play is like a great voyage: terrifying in its vastness, simultaneously bewildering and thrilling. Such is the journey of 'This Flat Earth'...At the play’s opening and in its final moments, our young protagonist Julie begins to ask what is ultimately the most profound question of all: Are you there?...And with the beauty of great metaphor, as Julie's question resonates throughout the play, our questions begin...Devastating and perfectly stunning theatre."
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Front Mezz Junkies
April 9th, 2018

"As the #NeverAgain movement ricochets across FaceBook and Twitter...this compelling new play takes aim at their situation and dives in deep...Directed with an odd overly zealous and unfocused intent by the usually intense Rebecca Taichman...I applaud Ferrentino and Playwrights Horizons in their attempt, but some more work needs to be done to make 'This Flat Earth' feel more relevant and powerful overall, and less of a heavy burden for poor young Davis to shoulder."
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Exeunt Magazine
April 14th, 2018

"It’s an original way into a difficult subject...I think the larger reason why the play feels off is because the questions it asks through Julie — and the suggestion that adults and those in positions of power have not done more to prevent school shootings as a result of desensitization or inaction — feels inadequate at a time when the level of passion surrounding the issue on both sides has never been clearer."
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New York Theater
April 9th, 2018

"Ferrentino is clearly committed to dramatizing social issues. But she doesn’t make the mistake of trying to explain an inexplicable event...Observations feel knowing and assured, made all the more credible because of a persuasive cast, the steady direction by Rebecca Taichman, and the playwright’s playable specifics for her main characters...The cellist scenes demonstrate the thin line that can exist between artful and arty, and 'This Flat Earth' occasionally goes over the line."
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C
April 9th, 2018

"Affecting yet sometimes maudlin new work...Ferrentino’s sharpest drawn character is Julie and Dan’s elderly upstairs neighbor, Cloris, splendidly portrayed by the great Lynda Gravatt...Sadly, Ferrentino is on less firm ground with her male characters and their presence really dilutes the play’s effectiveness...One only wishes that 'This Flat Earth' didn’t fall so flat quite so often."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
April 9th, 2018

"Ferrentino…crafts individually effective scenes but struggles to mold them into well-focused, unified dramas, with consistently believable characters…The most striking thing is...the impressive two-story set…Gravátt, with her lovely combination of gravity and lightness, and the baby-faced Davis, a deeply impressive, delicately sensitive young actress in a breakout performance…It's not enough to rescue the unmemorable 'This Flat Earth,' which…Taichman…can do little to inflate."
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Gotham Playgoer
April 10th, 2018

"I was disappointed. From the very first moment, I didn't buy into it...The topics of gun violence and income inequality could hardly be more relevant and the idea that music has the power to comfort is appealing. Somehow, it just did not come together for me. The level of acting varies, with Cassie Beck and Lynda Gravatt standing out...Taichman's direction hits all the right notes, but the play itself needs a tuning."
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The Wrap
April 9th, 2018

"Ferrentino uses that ripped-from-the-headlines moment, but never constructs a cogent story to give life to the issue of gun violence. At every turn in her plot, 'This Flat Earth' appears contrived, and it’s here that her play’s topicality actually works against the drama...Rebecca Taichman directs, and she is at her best when giving us moments of fantasy."
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Stage Left
April 9th, 2018

"The play builds slowly, darting in many disparate directions as it establishes relationships and conflict that climax in a suddenly surreal closing scene that is beautiful and heart-wrenching, but feels like it belongs in a different play...The themes at work and questions asked are better and larger than the play at hand, but if 'This Flat Earth' serves as nothing more than a vessel for their exploration, however muddled, I suppose it has done its most basic job."
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Towleroad
April 10th, 2018

"A poignant and distressingly timely new play takes on the question of how kids and parents navigate catastrophe's aftershocks with an illuminating - and refreshing - frankness...The mix of perennial school-day dilemmas with a shooting's tragic aftermath draws us closer to imagining what often feels so unimaginable...The play's most devastating insight is that kids are learning early and often that adults don't always have the answers - even, and especially, when lives are at stake."
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Z
April 10th, 2018

"The play's portrayal of grief was one of the most realistic representations I have seen onstage, with a good balance of confronting politically-themed topics and their related emotions. While never feeling overly political or overly dramatic, the play is the perfect amalgamation of our current news agenda through a humanistic lens. There were moments when I could hear audience members audibly crying, but there were also moments when we all laughed."
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TheaterScene.com
April 12th, 2018

"'This Flat Earth' is an important play....This production is a clear clarion call for a problem that is only now becoming locked into our national psyche even though it's grown from a constant and seemingly unending set of events...There is no hammer here pounding the nail home. There is no rallying cry driving you to action. There is just a constant sense of truth in the midst of heartfelt questions and genuine pain...The production is deftly directed by Rebecca Taichman."
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