Already closed | 2h 15m | Upper W Side

War

From 74 member  reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Great acting, Confusing, Original

About the show

Lincoln Center presents the New York premiere of Obie-winning playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' drama about a family forced to deal with the ghosts of its past. More…

After their mother has a stroke, tensions escalate between Tate and Joanne. As they attack each other in their mother’s hospital room, they are ambushed by two strangers who make a shocking claim about their grandfather during WWII. With bold theatricality and disarming humor, 'War' follows a fractured family as its members navigate the landmines of the past and try to broker peace with each other–and themselves–in the present.

2h 15m | Already closed | Claire Tow Theater (Upper W Side)

Member Reviews (74)

MEMBERS SAY:

Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Great acting, Confusing, Original
69
Avg Score

55
Boring, Confusing, Edgy, Unfocused, Long

See it if you're willing to tolerate stretches of boredom and incoherence for occasional glimmers of insight and intelligence.Some strong performances

Don't see it if you want BJJ to know what he's doing. Terrible jumble. Gorilla parts demeaning. Second act is much stronger, if you stay (many left).

75
Entertaining, Uneven, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if Interesting idea interposed with realistic themes.Believable writing. Solid performances. Relatable, sought-provoking, moving.Very enjoyable

Don't see it if Tool that makes it interesting in the beginning is overused turning the protagonist into narrator.Meyers is miscast agewise (not talentwise)

76
Interesting, Entertaining, Clever, Original

See it if I enjoyed the story & performances. It's an interesting concept & aspects of the production are definitely clever & unique!

Don't see it if Parts of it can seem a bit slow. Myers is talented but is miscast as Tate. Would have been better with an older actor.

70
Ambitious, Disappointing, Intelligent, Slow, Uneven

See it if you want to see an early (albeit less deft) work by BJJ, one the freshest current voices in theatre; you like to explore issues of identity.

Don't see it if you expect a fleshed out, cohesive, masterful addition to BJJ's impressive oeuvre. (It's not very good, but lesser BJJ is still worthwhile).

75
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you're interested in a really exciting, really messy new play that goes all over the place but ultimately lands.

Don't see it if you're expecting the perfection that was An Octoroon, Appropriate, and Gloria. This show is something else.

83
Absorbing, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if You're a fan of the work presented at LCT3, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' previous plays, or ambitious new plays/playwrights in general.

Don't see it if You dislike family dramas, especially those about class, privilege, race, and/or illness.

89
Intelligent, Original, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Terrific acting ensemble

See it if you are interested in the writings of Jacobs-Jenkins. Not one of his best plays, it still makes for an interesting night of theatre.

Don't see it if you do not want to engage in a conversation after the performance. The play contains a lot of food for thought.

33
Disappointing, Indulgent, Overrated, Slow

See it if You enjoy lengthy rambling shows and long monologues (2 hours 15 minutes). You think it's insightful to see humans make ape noises and crawl

Don't see it if You don't want to see a disjointed mess of a show that's poorly written

63
Ambitious, Disappointing, Edgy, Original, Thought-provoking

See it if You like well designed sets and good actors in odd circumstances. However, there were long stretches of confusing and surreal interactions.

Don't see it if You like linear stories without long drawn out monologues. The story became grating after a while and went around in circles.

90
Smart, Creative, Intelligent

See it if You are a fan of BJ-J, and you should be, or of Woodard who is as good as it gets here. It operates successfully on several levels.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with mysterious, the sometimes surreal, with several levels of reality. OK, not everything works, especially the end.

50
Confusing, Indulgent, Slow, Overrated, Awkward staging

See it if you're a fan of a by-the-numbers family finds a secret/hospital drama.

Don't see it if confusing, pretentious and "arty" guidepost scenes aren't for you.

71
Absorbing, Confusing, Dizzying, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if Charlayne Woodard is a revelation. Wonderful casting; theatrical to its core; open absorbing; many issues of inequality are addressed

Don't see it if Like a sprinter that soars over some hurdles, crashes into some and then falls over the finish line. Goes off the rails more than once

80
Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Clever, Thought-provoking

See it if you like to see a writer grapple with big, disparate ideas lassoed into a small family drama

Don't see it if you need one central theme or argument to take home and are uncomfortable with lots of topics being brought up and then not resolved.

69
Ambitious, Confusing, Great acting, Original, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see a great ensemble in a play about family politics, identity, culture, collective consciousness and identity searching.

Don't see it if you don't like plays that are confusing, or that need another draft to really clarify what the author is trying to say and explore

75
Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky, Ambitious, Muddled

See it if you are interested in Jacob-Jenkins work and want to see him explore fresh themes.

Don't see it if you like clearly focused, realistic work.

80
Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

See it if you like Branden Jacob-Jenkin's other works (like The Octoroon), you like plays with a touch of surrealism, you like dramas about family

Don't see it if you're interested in something light and fluffy, you hate any kind of surrealism, you don't like family dramas

69
Ambitious, Original, Thought-provoking

See it if you are a fan of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' work.

Don't see it if you are not interested in unconventional new work that, despite its moments of great depth, does contain a few short comings.

60
Cliched, Confusing, Indulgent

See it if You want to see something that is more experimental. You can tell the cast is talented, despite the confusing and often over-written script.

Don't see it if You have numerous other shows you want to see. Chances are, there's one on the list that will be a more rewarding use of your time/money.

90
Thought-provoking, Great writing, acting and staging, Intelligent, Must see

See it if you like layered, engaging drama with family theme and many sub-themes with fully realized characters. Relevant. great acting and staging.

Don't see it if You need to see a straight line narrative. Or you don't like family themes.

8
Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow, Insipid

See it if You want to be totally bored and not know what is going on!!!

Don't see it if Just don't see it! It's really painfully BAD!!!

69
Confusing, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Original

See it if you like thought-provoking plays.

Don't see it if don't like plays with disjointed time lines.

75
Absorbing, Great acting, Confusing

See it if you like plays with very complex themes about race. Great acting but the material can be confusing at times.

Don't see it if You don't like heady plays that does not have a linear plot line.

58
Confusing, Original, Slow, Disjointed

See it if you would like seeing a well-acted rendition of a script based on a very original premise but needing a severe rewrite

Don't see it if you need cohesiveness and clarity of purpose in your playgoing experiences, you don't like plays in which race conflict is the core theme

74
Smart, Thought-provoking, Funny, Compelling, Slightly cliched

See it if you appreciate smart writing doing interesting critical work. Williams and Woodard are particularly strong. Racial issues handled deftly.

Don't see it if The ideas sometimes seem more effective than the play itself. Much 4th wall breaking. Family/death content can be cliched. Slightly miscast.

79
Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Edgy, Intense

See it if you like writers who bring the whole of their classical education and deep, incisive thoughts to the table

Don't see it if you need something linear and for the tired businessman


June 6th, 2016
"This is a heavily confused play about cultural confusion, a consideration of identity that never settles into a coherent identity of its own…It is so replete with ideas and arguments—and tries to cover so much territory within a confined space—that it chokes on its ambitions. Not that many of th...
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June 6th, 2016
"The play’s violence is emotional and rhetorical, not literal, and derives from tensions about race and class; the playwright’s sharp voice resonates above those of the individual characters, who register semi-symbolically…'War' pokes the audience with racial discomfort—in this case, by playing w...
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June 6th, 2016
"Veering uneasily between naturalistic drama and stylized surrealism, the work doesn't fully succeed on either level…There's no denying the play's cerebral ambitions, even if the playwright is dealing with more themes than he can comfortably handle...Director Blain-Cruz wrestles with, but never p...
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June 6th, 2016
"A bit of a buzz-kill. The play has something potentially interesting to say about language as a means of defining our common humanity and asserting our individual identity. But in its current over-thought, overwrought, and overwritten state the idea is stalled in the format of a strained domest...
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