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Time's Journey Through a Room

From 8 critic and 17 member reviews
Members say: Slow, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Absorbing, Quirky

About the show

Set one year after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, PlayCo's drama is a portrait of how we move forward from life-changing events. More…

Part love story and part ghost story, 'Time’s Journey Through a Room' observes how hope can spring up alongside sadness and fear, and change can be realized if we are awake to the present moment.


"With its glacial pace, crypticness and arresting production design, Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada’s 'Time’s Journey Through a Room' at first seems more suited to a museum than a theater. However, halfway through its one hour running time it metamorphosizes into a majestic rumination on the persistence of memory, love and death...Mr. Okada’s dialogue as translated by Aya Ogawa is spare, poetic and perfectly complements his metaphysical scenario. " Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"'Time's Journey Through a Room' is Toshiki Okada's multi-layered exploration of how we process trauma and loss...If you try to understand 'Time's Journey' as a traditional relationship drama, you might become disappointed by the lack of action...Although 'Time's Journey' is in many ways uniquely Japanese, it is also astutely relevant to anyone who has experienced loss, grief, and trauma...The play may well linger in your mind long after time has supposedly moved on." Full Review

The New York Times

"'Time’s Journey' is a response to the Fukushima disaster, and the striking sensory evocation that begins the performance ensures that we make the connection. The translation, by Aya Ogawa, helps with that, too; fluid as it is, it does not feel like American speech...Told in fragments that come together gradually, it is a chronicle of healing, with all its pain and awkward humor and halting steps." Full Review

Time Out New York

"The glacially paced 'Time’s Journey' is challenging...Our heartbeats and our thoughts slow. In this down-tempo mode, 'Time’s Journey' feels like a marathon: Time staggers, creeps, crawls through the room. Your thoughts may be inclined to flutter out of the box that Okada and Rothenberg have made for them, but that’s the task the play asks us to face. Marshal your mind. Look at the difficult thing." Full Review

Village Voice

"A spare, meticulous, and sometimes frustratingly oblique study of human interaction in disaster’s wake...With painstaking precision, Okada shuffles and rearranges his three protagonists to scramble our emotional and narrative coordinates...Deliberately uncomfortable pacing is part of Okada’s exacting design, meant to jolt spectators out of our assumptions about the passage of time..Effective, as far as it goes but it also feels less generously constructed than some of Okada’s previous works." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Sounds like a shudderingly abstract story idea, until you experience Toshiki Okada’s play as directed by Dan Rothenberg...Under Rothenberg’s laser-pointed direction and the equally precise performances of the very fine trio of actors, time is seen and felt as a continuum, in real time...PlayCo’s production is preceded by an enigmatic prologue...A fitting abstraction of this journey of time through the space of a room and the higher spheres yet of emotion, imagination and memory." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Events unfold at a pace that may confound many Americans in the audience...'Time's Journey Through a Room' is never dull, yet it never deeply engages. And once again, one is left wondering if, in its detachment -- not to mention its allusion to still-recent traumatic events -- the play may have much more to say to a homegrown audience...I see I haven't mentioned the production's opening sequence...It is striking, if strangely remote; you can say the same about 'Time's Journey Through a Room.'" Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Evocative, well-crafted, but externally undramatic…Numbingly slow, emotionally controlled, narratively slight, and emphasizing a state of mind more than a dramatic action…Many…are likely to find its tortoise-like pacing, lack of action, and inner-directed expressivity stultifying. Others will be moved by the throbbing trauma present beneath the surface's seeming placidity…The company, each member of which is a native-born Japanese…performs in a cool, emotionally detached way." Full Review

Riveting, Great writing, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if you want to see contemporary Japanese writing in an exquisite production. An authentic representation of young adults dealing with grief.

Don't see it if You have problem with accents. You have an exceptionally short attention span. You need everything spelled out for you in drama.

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if Sparse and poetic...see beyond your eyes. Brief and momentous,

Don't see it if Not ready to deal with loss and healing.

Poetic, Exquisite, Slow, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if It is a beautifully spare production,a subtle yet powerful portrayal of love, and grief in the aftermath of tragedy. Excellent design

Don't see it if you don't have patience for a slow-paced, dream-like play. If you don't enjoy abstract or minimalist theater.

Resonant, Slow, Quirky, Intense, Great staging

See it if A play set across time, we see memory and the present overlap. Likely the most formally interesting show running in NY now.

Don't see it if Some of the dialogue is banal on purpose, other times it is just banal. Fairly staid gender views. Slow pace (tho often to solid effect).

Quirky, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy small plays about big subjects, like survival after trauma and happiness, super sets and super choreography, though no dancing.

Don't see it if Actors are Japanese with occasional hard-to-grasp lines.

Quirky, Slow, Thought-provoking, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if You appreciate the subtlety of language and the disconnect of speaking in a translated dialogue which reinforces the Feeling of loss

Don't see it if You want an easy light evening of theater This is all about the subtitles

Great staging, Intelligent, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if You like thought provoking meditative plays. This play is as much about the conversation after, as it is about the actual show.

Don't see it if You like fast plays. It's slow, and when one of the characters instructed the audience to close our eyes I thought Is this a good idea?

Ritualistic, Slow, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if ceremonial events interests you. The slow precise speech and long posed postures suggests ritual.

Don't see it if If you are looking for a traditional theatrical experience.

Intense, Deliberate, Slow, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if You want to see an inventively done play that is extremely deliberate.

Don't see it if You don’t like silences in plays, want a spectacle, want things to be extremely clear.

Romantic, Slow, Resonant, Intelligent

See it if you're interested in a piece that is more an evocation of than a drama about grief and the journey past it.

Don't see it if you expect a probing psychological drama.

Also This piece probably comes as close as anything to translating a haiku ... Read more Read less


See it if Starts detached. Very slowly gets into their internal, emotional journey of coping with a dead partner and accepting a new one in.

Don't see it if Super. Slow. Talking. With. Lots. Of. Pauses. Irritate. ...You. Death of a partner is triggering. No real plot annoys you.

Also Ticket from Todaytix for $29.

Striking, Interesting, Slow

See it if you enjoy avant-garde theatre.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy having to sit through dialogue delivered at a deliberately glacial pace.

Also I can’t help but think this could’ve been better performed in the orig... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Slow, Confusing

See it if You appreciate works by non-United States born writers and stories.

Don't see it if You don't like shows without a clear plot.

Indulgent, Slow, Disappointing, Cliched, Banal

See it if you want a Zen poem with very little action or poetry

Don't see it if you want a strong story or engaging performances

Great staging, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if You appreciate cerebral interactions

Don't see it if You like fast-paced story development

During previews
Take journey

See it if Interested in Japanese culture. Enjoy short, different theater.

Don't see it if Short length not enough bang for the entertainment dollar.

Also Playwright creates an existential situation and forces audience to mud... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Slow, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if If you are interested in a look at death as a transitional state. It is slow but thought provoking.

Don't see it if Do not see if you do not enjoy a slow with limited action play.

Cast & Creatives (10)