Already closed | 1h 45m | East Village

What Did You Expect?: Election Year in the Life of One Family, Play Two

From 81 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

About the show

Tony Award-winning playwright and director Richard Nelson returns to The Public Theater with part two of his new three-play cycle about a year in the life of the Gabriels of Rhinebeck, New York. More…

'What Did You Expect?' brings us back to the Gabriels' kitchen, with the country now in the midst of the general election for president. Over the course of one evening in the house they grew up in, history (both theirs and our country's), money, politics, family, art, and culture are chopped up and mixed together while a meal is made.

Member Reviews (81)


Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

Disappointing, Overrated, Slow, Great acting, Excruciating

See it if You love Richard Nelson’s naturalistic, kitchen-table drama plays.

Don't see it if You’d be bored by listening to a regular family sit around a table having a boring conversation about literature and mortgages.

Slow, Quiet, Unobtrusive, Disappointing

See it if you saw the first installment of the trilogy and are committed to seeing the rest.

Don't see it if you're craving absorbing drama -- this family is super low-key even when in conflict.

Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow, A bit borin, Uninteresting

See it if you want to support The Public Theater.

Don't see it if you want an absorbing story. The election was supposed to be a major part of the play, but it was hardly mentioned.

Disappointing, Great acting, Slow

See it if You like great acting. Good moments throughout delivered by a strong cast.

Don't see it if You think theater should move, jolt, surprise, be about something. When some is reading out loud at the top, you know you're doomed.

Great acting, Disappointing

See it if More of a statement than a play concerning a family caught up in the political/ economic fall out in U.S. Rather inert but well acted.

Don't see it if The current economic/political atmosphere in the U.S. doesn't interest you.

During previews
Cliched, Banal, Ambitious

See it if You like boring plays

Don't see it if You want your money woth it

September 18th, 2016
"'What Did You Expect?' wears its topicality with modest stealth...It is a testament to Nelson’s well-honed craft, and that of his cast, that these topics are seldom addressed directly yet are embedded in the play’s every fragment. His family cycles inhabit the here and now with an unobtrusive th...
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September 20th, 2016
"The show blends into the world around it; likewise, the plays themselves blur into one another…But while it's warmly familiar and gorgeously performed, ‘What Did You Expect?’ sometimes misses its step. Writing at top speed (three plays in a year!), Nelson takes insufficient care over his texture...
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September 17th, 2016
"By exploring the underwater part of the iceberg whose visible tip is politics, Nelson is challenging the idea of what political theater can be...The extreme naturalism of the writing is made delightful by the intelligence and humor of the characters...To keep material that deliberately abjures e...
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September 17th, 2016
"While the play is undeniably static, such timeliness and the talented ensemble's fully lived-in performances ensure that you're utterly drawn into the family's world. The effect is akin to eavesdropping on a private family conversation, so intimate that when a bottle of wine is opened you feel m...
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Cast & Creatives (14)