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What We're Up Against (WP Theater)

Members say: Relevant, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Entertaining

About the show

WP Theater presents the Off-Broadway premiere of Theresa Rebeck's comedy, a darkly funny and all-too-relevant exploration of gender politics in the workplace.

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"Why is it still like this?” Janice sighs to Eliza. It’s 1992, and Eliza is the brainy new recruit at a small-shop architecture firm. But she’s struggling to get a foothold on even the lowest rung of the company ladder, and starts making moves to blow the lid off their pandora’s box of office politics and social maneuvering.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

“Ms. Rebeck’s play isn’t about sexual harassment. It’s about all of the other ugly ways that a woman can be foiled and dismissed, ostracized and worn down, when she’s just trying to do her job. It’s also about what happens when she dares to show her anger...As sitcomish as it sometimes feels, ‘What We’re Up Against’ has a complex view of its characters and their dynamics...The cast is an impressive assemblage of talent...Oddly, though, the flashiest roles belong to men.” Full Review


“With its undeniably sharp perspective and neat archetypal characters, ‘What We're Up Against’ is guaranteed to infuriate — which is why you should see it...The story is dramatically compelling, the rage behind it undeniably authentic, and the characters are recognizably human...Even if you disagree with Rebeck's take on the way women are treated in the workplace, it is impossible to resist this ever-unfolding Machiavellian tale...An uncomfortable but vital night at the theater.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"The play couldn't feel more dated...A provocative premise, but Rebeck's writing fails to do it full justice. The characters are so one-dimensional they might as well have their defining traits tattooed on their foreheads; the dialogue is repetitive and exclamatory; and the storyline feels padded despite the relatively brief running time...The performers bring a fierce energy to their characterizations that goes a long way toward compensating...It rarely rises above the level of cliche." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“'What We're Up Against' suffers from nagging little structural problems that occasionally prove undermining...The play that houses it could stand a firmer foundation...The play tries to occupy a middle ground between satire and drama that really means it, never really paying full tribute to either approach...The dialogue could use more zing at times...It suffers from a certain fuzziness of presentation that keeps it from landing a knockout punch." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“Rebeck's…stingingly smart…dramedy about sexual politics…Forget about the play's being set in 1992…or that it's not about physical exploitation; the topic couldn't be more pertinent…You have to buy the one-sided depiction of the men…to appreciate Rebeck's argument…Its actors are all well cast, although the eye-catching Rodriguez is not your conventional image of an architect. Playing against type, she establishes herself as the sharpest pencil on the drafting table.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

“It’s so heavy handed, starting with the aggressive title...The problem with Rebeck's play is that the argument she wants to put forward is so clumsily and obviously handled that viewers who would be inclined to agree with her by the time she arrives at her closing line will have long since been put off...Angry she should be, but there’s a way to temper it and thereby register her anger even more effectively.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"There are a few twists and turns that could be cleaner...Adrienne Campbell-Holt doesn’t bring out the layers, as much as Ms. Perez did and I found myself comparing the two productions, with Life Force Arts, Inc bringing much more well rounded production...Ms. Rebeck’s play is dark, timely, foul-mouthed, juicy and seems like it is placed in the '50s not now, but the truth is we have not come along way, baby." Full Review


“Good timing turns out to be the production’s strongest asset. While Rebeck’s script is certainly thought-provoking, it is also somewhat superficial and full of two-dimensional characters. Fortunately, a first-rate cast and Campbell-Holt’s mostly astute direction help elevate the proceedings...‘Why is it still like this?’...One wishes Rebeck had chosen to actually explore the answer...In the end, what the audience is up against in feeling satisfied is the playwright’s laziness." Full Review

Time Out New York

“A bitterly funny workplace comedy...This is prime Rebeck territory—driven characters locking horns in pursuit of a prize—and the current political climate makes this 1992 play seem frighteningly timely...'What We’re Up Against' is not as fully realized as Rebeck’s later works; the premise wears thin, and the characters can come across as mouthpieces for a message. But director Campbell-Holt and her accomplished cast, send sparks flying as genders and generations collide.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"'What We’re Up Against' relies on some sitcom-y dialogue, and some standard dumb male tropes, though ultimately I found it to be an honest and realistic depiction of what it’s like to be a woman in the workforce...All of the actors are extremely well cast and committed to their roles...Perfectly directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, 'What We’re Up Against' feels like a realistic depiction of a toxic office." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

“Directed by Campbell-Holt with a fluid pace, engaging blocking, and a fine eye for social satire...A top-notch cast of favorites from the stage, screen, and TV delivers Rebeck’s sardonic laughs with well-crafted comic portrayals that are not so exaggerated...An entertaining and sorely-relevant production that makes us laugh, even as we shake our heads, roll our eyes, and grit our teeth at the outdated practices that still sadly prevail in our present-day culture.” Full Review

Theater Life

"An all-too-timely, darkly humorous play...Director Adrienne Campbell-Holt focuses attention to keep the hour and 45 minutes of dialogue brisk...The questions are typical of those asked by those defending themselves against charges of sexual bias and who point to women who stand up for themselves as having attitude problems, so the audience can understand the viewpoints of the coworkers as well as Eliza." Full Review

Village Voice

"An enjoyably sardonic comedy...With its frequently humorous and sadly all-too-relevant look at sexist attitudes, 'Up Against' is an apt programming choice for WP, which here provides a well-tuned production...Shows Rebeck’s dexterity as a smooth and entertaining storyteller...If some viewers might wish that the playwright had presented deeper characterizations and sharper satire, anyone who has ever worked in an office can attest that paper cuts are awfully painful, too." Full Review

Stage Buddy

“Relies very heavily on its dialogue. Fast-paced and yet annoyingly overly verbose at times...The play was relatable to anyone who has ever worked in any kind of office at any time; it was certainly not a black comedy, but more an accurate reflection of the day-to-day office politics with a funny observational commentary spattered throughout. The characters were certainly well established but never seem to grow." Full Review

Motherhood Later

"Packs as much a sexism punch even today...The show features a likeable, accomplished and feisty cast...There is nothing new here...but the strong cast brings the story home. With little character development, we might as well just know them for their gender and role at the firm, thus the focus becomes the takeaway, which asks or rather pleads...Why haven’t things changed?! Sadly, there is no satisfying answer, nor is the play as ultimately satisfying as it might be." Full Review


"It's a solid setup, which leads to a mildly satisfying comeuppance. But nothing about Rebeck's play is particularly surprising or, more importantly, challenging, unless, I suppose, you happen to share Stu's mindset. And, if you do, you're probably not hanging out at the Women's Project Theater." Full Review

The Culture Mom

“It’s not about sexual assault, but rather office politics, gender imbalance, and equality, all which are issues that pertain to what we are hearing about today...Delves into office politics in a smart, refreshing way. It’s honest, real, and its dialogue cuts right through the heart of a problem that persists in nearly every workplace. The combination of direction, acting, the set, the 1990’s haircuts and costumes, the music that plays between scenes – it all works for me.” Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Fast-paced, entertaining direction...The chief problem: Eliza emerges as the only three-dimensional person onstage...Creating such easily hateful characters sets up an imbalance of power between Eliza and everyone else, which allows Rebeck to preach to the choir...She wields her messages like blunt objects. But who am I to say that we don’t all need a good smack in the head from time to time?" Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Funny, Relevant, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you like plays about the confrontation of sexism. If you like to see women standing up for themselves against men.

Don't see it if You want to see a play that has nothing to do with controversial topics like sexism.

Thought-provoking, Profound, Relevant, Resonant, Spot-on

See it if you'd like to understand the depth and scope of the misogyny that got us a human twatwaffle running loose in the White House.

Don't see it if you'd like to cling to the belief that sexism isn't a systemic, relentless nightmare that propels mediocre/bad men above exceptional women.

Also Set in the early 90's, this play shows how far we really *haven't* com... Read more Read less

Great acting, Dated

See it if you want to see some great acting

Don't see it if you want a current, edgy play about sexism. Women and men pulling other women down, not new, not done with any wit

Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You want to be reminded that we have made very little, if any, progress in the workplace.

Don't see it if You want to see a play with easy answers

Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Great writing

See it if Very satisfying evening on sexual harassment with excellent acting and writing seen a number of Rebeck plays and this one held up well

Don't see it if Do not like timely topics

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

See it if Extremely well acted, totally engrossing show. And totally relevant.

Don't see it if you have no interested in issues regarding women in the workplace. Play takes place in 1992. Still, unfortunately, totally current issues.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you want a sobering but unfortunately still true view of women in the workforce. The writing is brilliant!

Don't see it if you think that women have been integrated into the workforce and that sexism doesn't exist.

Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if The major plus for this basically good play set in '92 is timing and current situation of females exposing their attackers in the work place

Don't see it if Rebeck's somewhat repetitive writing does shine a light on women's discrimination at work and creates the mood perfectly with a solid cast.

Too conservative and safe

See it if You want to see a show about a woman who rises up and does well in a predominately male driven workplace

Don't see it if You are looking for something different. This show took absolutely no chances and five minutes in you pretty much know what’s going to happe

Also This is the definition of what I would call a “safe” show. Everything ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Resonant

See it if Smart script, crisp dialogue, perfect actors, great sets. Fascinating window int 1990s gender issues at work. Lots of funny moments!

Don't see it if You don't like shows set at work or are looking for a musical. Otherwise, there's no reason to not see this witty play!

Absorbing, Intense, Relevant, Slow

See it if you ever wanted to experience office politics which out having to actually be involved in them.

Don't see it if experiencing this office politics drama cuts a little to close to the REAL LIFE drama of your current work place.

Also Having been fired from three different architecture firms and then lai... Read more Read less

Clever, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if see also

Don't see it if see also

Also A 95 by partner and an 88 gets a 92. The entire cast have his/her role... Read more Read less

Up up and away

See it if Play has snap, crackle and pop. Writing is near flawless, a female David Mamet. Direction is excellent. Stage design is brilliant. KR bomb.

Don't see it if You hate polemics disguised as plays or obscene dialogue. You hate actors with distracting tattoos. One actor has his hands full. Good grief

Also Krysta Rodriguez is clearly the attraction, even in a play with Marg H... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if A 90’s work place drama involving a womans treatment by a male dominated staff and other women. Well written and produced.

Don't see it if Do not see if you prefer musicals or light dramas. Do not see if you are put off by women’s issues relating to equality.

Thoughtful, Solid, Safe

See it if you want to support the voices behind Women's Project and Colt Coeur. It's a solid but not overly challenging or earth-shattering script.

Don't see it if it's not really great feminist art, OK? You learn that the lead character got her job by sleeping with the boss, a "wait, what?" situation.

Also A lot of the press around this revival calls the script as timely as e... Read more Read less

Great acting, Relevant, Banal, Overrated, Talky

See it if The current conversation about sexual harassment has you riled up.

Don't see it if You want the playwright to take you somewhere new.

Also Like other Reneck plays, she articulates the obvious very well; too ma... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You enjoy entertaining plays about serious subjects.

Don't see it if You dislike feminism.

Funny, Clever, Edgy, Intense, Relevant

See it if Over-the-top comic satire of blatantly sexist office. Recently hired young woman is smarter than everyone else. Fireworks ensue.

Don't see it if You don't like caricatures. You don't see the humor in foul language. You can't laugh, scream and cry at the same time.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You are not tired of workplace dramas. You enjoy the twists and turns of the way sexism plays out in an office setting.

Don't see it if You can’t deal with lots of raw language. You have no interest in realism you are looking for fantasy. Realism portrayed is painful to watch

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Slow

See it if you enjoy shows that are relevant to today's gender politics. The first act is slow but it picks up after intermission!

Don't see it if you want a musical, something upbeat, or a show that will blow you away

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you're interested in an entertaining yet concerning portrayal of workplace sexism in 1992 which unfortunately remains relevant. Great cast.

Don't see it if you're looking for a play with a lot of new ideas—the plot is predictable, but fast-paced and deals with important issues.

Also The set is two levels so you may prefer to sit further back for the mo... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You want to see a play about work place politics, the treatment and how some women try to get ahead.

Don't see it if You are not interested in a play about the work place and how some women might be treated.

Funny, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you want to see a thought-provoking play about the dynamics and inequities that still exist for female workers

Don't see it if you are offended by cursing; or demand fully developed characters

Also I think this play overall did a nice job of exposing some of the probl... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Timely

See it if you want a story that depicts male cronyism in the workplace. Each role is a caricature, very well acted. Do not sit in the first 2-3 rows.

Don't see it if you dislike cartoonish roles, even if accurate in their portrayal of how people can behave.

Must see, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing, Upsetting

See it if you want to see an extremely well-written and incisive look at sexism in the workplace that makes you squirm in how accurate it is.

Don't see it if you want to leave the theater feeling good about the world.

Cast & Creatives (12)