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Thom Pain (based on nothing)

From 204 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Quirky, Clever, Absorbing, Disappointing

About the show

Drama Desk Award-winner Will Eno returns to Signature for a new staging of his surreal and very real one-man show, starring Michael C. Hall ("Dexter," "Six Feet Under," "The Realistic Joneses.") More…

"Thom Pain (based on nothing)" follows Thom Pain as he desperately, and hilariously, tries to save his own life…or at least make it into something worth dying for. Directed by Oliver Butler (Obie and Lortel Award-winning "The Open House").

Member Reviews (204)


Great acting, Quirky, Clever, Absorbing, Disappointing
Avg Score

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Clever, Great acting, Edgy

See it if you like existential plays; TP's mostly abt love, couples, connectns, childhood trauma, thought processes, death. Hall mesmerizes. Engaging.

Don't see it if you dislike solo shows/brief audience interactions. TP is in-your-face, but it's funny and smart. A reminder to carpe diem. Barebones set.

Great acting, Interesting, Different, Engaging, Slow

See it if you like slightly surreal theatrical experiences. Surprising, twisting and somewhat poetic. Hall is masterful.

Don't see it if you prefer more conventional linear plots. Sometimes stream of consciousness.

Also It starts a bit confusing because it is unusual but a rhythm develops ... Read more Read less

Unconventional, Confusing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if An unconventional solo show. Michael C Hall is great & does an amazing job engaging the audience.

Don't see it if You are looking for traditional play. It's a bit confusing but I was never bored and found it to be pretty amusing.

Quirky, Absorbing, Delightful, Profound, Resonant

See it if You want to experience one man’s cerebral meanderings through his lifetime of memories and experiences shared with an audience.

Don't see it if You dislike one person shows or shows without a strong story line. This has no clear plot beginning, middle or barely an end.

Also I loved it. Michael C Hall does quirky, in your head stuff so well...I... Read more Read less

Profound, Sad, Funny, Insightful, Devastating

See it if Introspective rumination on life under the spell of depression. Deeply sad, lonely & vulnerable; and painfully funny. Gave me much insight.

Don't see it if You don’t want to connect and empathize with a depressed character. You don’t enjoy solo shows. This is all a monologue by one character.

Also Example event: A depressed child loses his innocence when his dog dies... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Felicific

See it if u want to see Hall's nuanced, thoughtful perf of Eno's crafty, stylized, dense, nihilistic monologue about 1 man's search for life's meaning

Don't see it if you like your shows to be easily digested and tied up neatly in a bow; you need high production values to justify the cost of your ticket.

Also Michael C Hall is riveting and engaging. Between Eno's substantial tex... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if Eno's existential verbal doodling is well served by Hall's quirky delivery & Butler's dead-pan direction Could be about a emotional break-up

Don't see it if Nonlinear, nonuniform & nonsensical, drama can drive some screaming from the theatre Getting on Eno's wavelength (or trying to) is essential

Smart, Suave, Fluid, Philosophical, Sly

See it if you would like to see a brilliantly written piece of philosophical stand-up comedy brilliantly performed.

Don't see it if you are looking for a traditional drama: this is (essentially) a 1-man show.

Also I saw the original production of “Thom Pain” by a then-unknown Will En... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Clever

See it if you enjoy stories, word play and mind play that often starts normal but turns out opposite delivered in a superb performance by one actor.

Don't see it if you do not like one person shows that talk at you about what seems like almost nothing but makes you think about almost everything.

Great acting, Funny, Quirky, Well-paced, Indulgent

See it if you're a fan of Michael C. Hall & Will Eno, you like being challenged & get the humor in "Zippy," you're amused by life's contradictions

Don't see it if you don't like 1-person shows or plays without plots, wandering monologues that seem to go nowhere, quirky humor, nebulous character studies

Great acting, Indulgent, Funny, Slow, Disappointing

See it if you want to see a master performer hold the attention of hundreds of people working with a less than a bare stage & not much of a plot.

Don't see it if you lack patience. This is a monologue of interruptions and distractions.

Great acting, Great staging, Edgy, Quirky, Great writing

See it if Hurt man humoursly displays his pain. Eno provides the ennui & Hall serves the irritation. Set appears abandoned mid-task by the thoughtless

Don't see it if Sixty-five mins. of Holden Caulfield-esque uneasiness and superiority. If you're waiting for a Kevin or a Dexter breakdown, look elsewhere.

Also Thom Pain's life, like the set, is under construction.

Great acting, Intelligent, Confusing, Indulgent, Overrated

See it if you’re a Will Eno completist.

Don't see it if you enjoy shows with a point. If there was one I missed it. The title is “based on nothing,” and that sums it up.

Also There’s no reason for this play to exist. It’s only 70 minutes, but I ... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Strange and mysterious, Absorbing, Not for everyone, Absurd and existential

See it if hmmm, you like Eno, Butler, Hall or some combo, would be OK watching 1 man meander thru a 90m meditation on a life still under construction.

Don't see it if Want trad/fluffy play, don't like being unsettled, want clear story arc, don't want to be toyed with, don't like strange/odd w bit of menace

Also The most challenging aspect of this play is how to describe the feelin... Read more Read less

A very peculiar solo show with a very good actor.

See it if You appreciate Will Eno and Michael Hall

Don't see it if You don't like solo shows that are really weird.

Banal, Disappointing, Great acting, Indulgent, Quirky

See it if You really want to see MCH up close and personal. You want a nice short evening out, or you live Will Eno

Don't see it if This play insulted my intelligence, made me not care at all about the "story," and sitting me along while I waited for something to happen

Intelligent, Indulgent, Edgy, Great acting, Overrated

See it if you are a Michael C. Hall fan and if "stand-up existentialism" appeals to you.

Don't see it if you don't like solo shows or nonlinear scripts.

Banal, Clever, Great acting, Insipid

See it if You think you could enjoy a play that is based on nothing. N.B. The spelling of the title!!

Don't see it if You need a play based on something! You like meat and potatoes !

Disappointing, Great acting, Indulgent, Quirky, Yawn

See it if you love Michael C Hall.He is brilliant.Play itself is standard Eno. monologue. If you like his stuff, go; otherwise, go b/c of Hall.Amazing

Don't see it if you don't enjoy Will Eno's monologues.At 70 minutes, I still found it too long.It's a 30 min skit.Amusing,fascinating acting,pompous set.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like intelligent plays that are more stream of consciousness and focus on existentialism. Hall gives a great performance.

Don't see it if you don't like one-man shows and long monologues or plays where there is more plot.

Great acting, Masterful, Banal, Disappointing, Quirky

See it if Michael C. Hall is a dynamic performer and a terrific actor. He’s always fun to watch, and he gives a masterful solo performance here.

Don't see it if The play itself was a rambling, incoherent mess. Filled with stream of consciousness crap, fake-outs and jokes that went nowhere.

Beautifully presented, pointless circumlocution

See it if You like Michael C Hall. He is very good but at the end of the day it's interwoven stories do add to nothing.

Don't see it if A graphic description of a dog's death would upset you. It is in the opening and made me fearful of more violence. There wasn't.

Also I saw it Sunday and today is Wednesday, yet I realize I cant remember ... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Intense, Indulgent

See it if you like the dark, yet humorous self introspection of Eno's plays and to watch a great performance.

Don't see it if you don't like one man shows without a plot.

Ambitious, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if you’d love a peek into the mind of a pretentious, depresssed white guy or if you love Michael C. Hall, who does as much w/this as possible.

Don't see it if you’d be annoyed watching a cis straight white guy have an existential crisis & seeing his thoughts never once touch upon his own privilege.

Also I get the feeling this play is intended to speak to the universal huma... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Clever, Funny, Quirky, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy entertaining rambling. Mostly due to Hall's spot on performance, the show was funny and enjoyable but without direction.

Don't see it if you don't like to hear one actor talk about nothing for an hour.

November 11th, 2018
"Oliver Butler’s new production lets some fresh air and even a sliver of sunlight into the nocturnal depths of its title (and only) character’s imagination...But while I’m usually grateful for glints of optimism in these cynical times, I can’t honestly say that this transformation is for the good...
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November 11th, 2018
"Eno’s text is a wonderfully light thing—a butterfly’s erratic passage through a man’s mind as he tries to narrate both his past and the constant, irritating demands of the theatrical present...'Thom Pain' has to fight a little too hard to be heard, where director Oliver Butler has given it a ver...
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November 11th, 2018
"Canon or not, faced with Eno’s play now, I found myself recoiling from its aggressive flippancy. There’s something brittle and deceptive about 'Thom Pain’s' systemic self-deprecation...The pleasure of the production is watching Hall in moments of simple, full presence...The problem is that what ...
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November 11th, 2018
"The 70-minute monologue never really coheres into a discernible storyline, which will certainly prove frustrating for those looking for a linear narrative. But the play's deliciously clever wordplay and theatrical inventiveness provide myriad rewards for the more open-minded. Signature’s current...
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