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)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant
84
Avg Score

90
Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Slow

See it if You enjoy shows like The Human. This is a conversational play. You're watching a family go through life. You're observing.

Don't see it if You prefer a play with higher stakes. This is a very mellow play with 'real' people. Not Huge animated characters.

76
Absorbing, Disappointing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if to spend more time with Gabriels & to appreciate R Nelson’s genius in making us believe that we've been dropped into real family gathering

Don't see it if you'd hate to feel that a decent thoughtful family has lost their mojo. Much dialogue seems tangential. Enticing themes introduced&dropped.

86
Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Slow

See it if love great natural acting, are a fan of these plays by Richard Nelson where everyday people struggle to make their way in difficult times.

Don't see it if you need more plot than this play delivers, or if you can't identify, for example, w/ the financial crises of hard working people.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Intense

See it if You're looking for something smart and engaging without a lot of flash

Don't see it if your'e looking for spectacle or political humor

Also I went into this show not having seen the 1st part and knowing little ... Read more Read less

83
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if Great ensemble acting with quiet dignity and grace, well written and contemplative

Don't see it if You like plot driven plays

100
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Resonant

See it if you want to experience theater up close and personal. It is a glimpse of our lives that we can brilliantly watch objectively.

Don't see it if You like your shows big and loud. It is an intimate piece that makes you wanna do life all over again and hopefully get it right this time.

79
Ambitious, Slow, Resonant, Relevant

See it if you like (literal) kitchen sink realism; this is very quiet & low key, with no major action or twists. Real world problems overheard.

Don't see it if you would like more than to be a voyeur to a middle-class family, however well-acted, written, and timely.

95
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you're a Richard Nelson fan or if you're curious to see superlative ensemble acting. A really wonderful experience. It's quiet & deep.

Don't see it if you're bored by the thought of watching people sitting around preparing food & talking or you need big, explosive drama to satisfy you.

90
Absorbing, stimulating, superb production

See it if you enjoy wordy plays, traditional but intellectually exciting, with wonderful ensemble acting. Get an ALD to help with hearing soft speech

Don't see it if you don't like talkative, soft spoken plays with little action and no denouement. If you haven't seen Part I (Hungry) this wont mean much to

Also If you like Richard Nelson, have seen the Apple family saga and Gabrie... Read more Read less

88
Clever, Absorbing, Intelligent

See it if you love a good family drama

Don't see it if You are hungry ( they cook on stage)

85
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy realistic plays, a fantastic set, and a great cast.

Don't see it if You want a completely engaging and exciting story with twists and turns.

95
Absorbing, Masterful, Great writing, Profound, Nuanced

See it if You love beautifully written and acted pieces of theater. Beautiful ensemble work about real life.

Don't see it if You have a tiny bladder. 1:45, no intermission.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant

See it if you are fans of family drama and contemporary life, excellent ensembles, realistic adult situations portrayed exquisitely

Don't see it if you need churning plotting and show-off acting, have trouble hearing unmiked dialogue

88
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you enjoy topical plays about family dynamics. This play is just one ordinary day in the life of a lower middle class family.

Don't see it if you need a lot of action

82
Intelligent, Original, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Resonant

See it if See it if you want something original and current. How does a family deal with the long term loss of a love one.

Don't see it if You want to see something light and funny.

74
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You like subtle low key topical material

Don't see it if You are aurally impaired

100
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if See if you like thought provoking drama on timely subject matter

Don't see it if Don't see if you are looking for light fare

95
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy fly-on-the wall explorations of relationships, with fantastic acting.

Don't see it if you are annoyed by plotless shows. This one is more about the people - no story, per se.

91
Great staging, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You're interested in an interpretation of middle class life as it's lived today

Don't see it if You're easily depressed by the issues facing middle class people in their 50's

91
Ambitious, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You want to be a fly on the wall if a play with innovative themes and a naturalistic style with a heart of gold.

Don't see it if You want a big flashy play with multi media and sexy transitions.

100
Absorbing, Great acting, Must see, Riveting, Great writing

See it if You like great acting

Don't see it if You're into a lot of action or melodrama.

During previews
90
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Resonant, Exquisite

See it if you want to see the finest ensemble of actors currently on a New York stage.

Don't see it if you only like shows that are more plot-driven.

During previews
85
Absorbing, Delightful, Relevant, Great acting

See it if you want to see an exceptional cast portraying very real characters, you're interested in social issues and their consequences

Don't see it if you're expecting it to be 100% politics. The political talk is weaved in and out, but the play is more about an everyday family's dynamics

Also If you saw part 1 this is more of the same. If you haven't, you can st... Read more Read less

During previews
94
Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant

See it if You enjoy Chekov and natural conversation around the kitchen table

Don't see it if You need action and big emotions

During previews
90
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if You want to see great ensemble acting and a well written play

Don't see it if You need more action in a play


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...
read more

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