Already closed | Brooklyn


From 23 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Quirky, Ambitious

About the show

Why theatre? What is it for? What is it about? Why? This new work from Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne takes these questions, and many others, on a journey that is both dramatic and joyful. More…

From the show:

Why theatre? What is it for? What is it about? Why? takes these questions, and many others, on a journey that is both dramatic and joyful. The piece allows us to discover that we are not alone in asking these questions and that many great theatre practitioners have been inspired by the exploration of these questions. “Theatre is a very dangerous weapon.” These words were written in the 1920s by one of the most creative and innovative directors the theatre has known – Vsevolod Meyerhold. Meyerhold saw the menacing dangers that the theatre, and art in general, were facing in 1930s Russia and saw “the writing on the wall.” This did not deter him in his work as he held onto the hope that the revolution could win.

Member Reviews (23)


Great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Quirky, Ambitious
Avg Score

Brilliantly played, Affecting, Spare, Captivating

See it if you are interested in modernist theater, theater mechanics, the history of 20th century tyranny or demonstrations of great acting.

Don't see it if you are looking for a full play: This is an enacted lecture-demonstration.

Also I’ve followed director Peter Brook’s work since my junior year in high... Read more Read less

Find out what celebrated director peter brooks has to say about the role of theater: it's both playful and unfortunately tangential

See it if delightful: 1st half by 3 skilled actors playfully show what lies behind the actor's craft

Don't see it if off-point: 2nd half tale of leading lights in Comm Russia theater snuffed out by Stalin; does not directly address central ? why theater

Also Play starts off w story that God created theater to relieve men and wo... Read more Read less

Slow, Great acting, Delightful, Ambitious

See it if you are a fan of Peter Brook or the actors involved in this production. There are two plays going on, and this tends to be confusing.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy talky theatre or plays that do not have sets or costumes. You need to pay attention to the language.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great writing, Great acting

See it if enjoy three great actors talking about acting and the development of Russian acting teachers. A great performance piece

Don't see it if a true play, start middle and end is what you most enjoy

Quirky, Disappointing, Intelligent, Confusing

See it if want some fun acting lessons (first part), have recently taken a course in early 20th cent. Russian Literature, don't mind being confused

Don't see it if you don't like pretentious theater, want all three actors to project (2 of the 3 were great)

Also if theater is supposed to be for everyone, I think the Public's Public... Read more Read less

Edgy, Slow, Quirky, Disappointing

See it if You like cerebral theatre.

Don't see it if You like a plot Also the acoustics are poor. It was difficult to hear and understand Hayley Carmichael. Listening device added echoes.

Slow, Quirky, Great acting, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you can be content with splendid actors doing what they do even if it is unclear what that is. Not sure what or "why" this is theater

Don't see it if you are looking for a coherent story line or a message that is clearly presented. But any chance to see these actors is worthwhile

Informative, Ambitious, Uneven, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you're under the spell of Peter Brook and Kathryn Hunter... I sure am. The first third of this production will reward you for coming.

Don't see it if you're indifferent re: Russian theater history as a big chunk of the show is devoted to the life/work of Stanislavksky disciple Meyerhold.

Also Memorable Quote: "The path to simplicity is not easy."

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

See it if Fans of Peter Brook, Kathryn Hunter, Marcelo Magni Or become fans after this. The craft of acting has never been harder or looked easier.

Don't see it if You need sets, dramatic action or irrelevance

Quirky, Profound, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You ask existential and social questions about theater, perspective, control, truth

Don't see it if You prefer a linear plot--this is a kind of staged essay about theater; a lot of ideas in one piece seems confusing to you

Not to be missed, Great acting, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if u want 2 c the WHY of acting & life told by Peter Brook & Marie Helene Estienne & an extraordinary cast, touching, beautiful, life changing

Don't see it if u want 2 miss a once in a life time opportunity to experience the joy & sorrow of life interpreted by writing, directing & acting geniuses

Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Slow, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you are a huge fan, you want to see some great acting work but not in relationship to anything else, you see everything, you love Meyerhold

Don't see it if you want actors in relationship to other actors - this is mostly monologue split between 3 people who don't relate much to each other

Must see, Intelligent, Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Mature work of a theater legend exploring the essence of the art form

Don't see it if “Bare boards” play of thoughts and not enough action

Quirky, Riveting, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if you're interested in what a genius writer/director is experimenting with at the moment. It's fascinating to see him at this time of life.

Don't see it if you like a linear, traditional piece of theatre. This is definitely not that.

Resonant, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if you are excited to think and ponder as this presents ideas and has masterful actors. Simple. Quick.

Don't see it if you wants sets, costumes, story, etc. as this is focused on the words. It's philosophic, historical and relevant. Sometimes funny. Also sad.

Fable-like, Unusual, Quirky, Enchanting, Clever

See it if You want to see the continuing work of Peter Brook and three great actors play on stage.

Don't see it if You need a set. Or something more lush in its design/dramaturgy.

Also It's an interesting experience - a mix of fable, ode to the theater, u... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you're a fan of Peter Brook's legendary work, a theater creator, or want a simple yet thought-provoking show.

Don't see it if you expect a linear story or normal play. It doesn't tell the tale of a few characters, it explores the motives and techniques of theater.

Masterful, Slow, Relevant, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if If the theater you want hold the mirror up to nature.Peter Brook one of the giants in theater and self reflecting

Don't see it if you mostly want to be entertained.

Ambitious, Slow, Overrated, Cliched, Banal

See it if You have no expectation. Nothing else to do.

Don't see it if You are not interested in theater. This play is about theater mainly.

Clever, Thought-provoking, Slow, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You are a fan of Peter Brook and also ask the question of “why” we do theatre

Don't see it if You need strong sets/costumes to make you visually involved. Not traditional theatre. Don’t come looking for characters going through a plot

Also For me this was separated into two parts and both were extremely diffe... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Indulgent, Profound, Clever

See it if you like thoughtful, beautifully simplistic philosophical musing on stage.

Don't see it if you're looking for an engaging plot.

Thought-provoking, Slow, Indulgent, Great acting

See it if You want to see some great actors illuminate theater history.

Don't see it if You can handle anything that is indulgent.

Poetic, Slow, Romantic, Quirky, Intelligent

See it if you're interested in a master theatre maker turning inward to investigate why and how "theatre is a very dangerous weapon"

Don't see it if you're a casual fan of theatre or want an experience that is in any way conventional

Also NEW DEAL TICKET PROGRAM: TFANA offers $20 tickets to every show they p... Read more Read less

September 26th, 2019
"Peter Brook Asks the Ultimate Question in ‘Why?’: A new work from one of the indisputably great directors is partly a tribute to theater and partly a warning about theatricality."
read more
September 26th, 2019
3/5 Stars "'That Big Question, On Stage and Off': Peter Brook and collaborator Marie-Hélène Estienne reflect on theater, generally and in another troubled time"
read more
October 1st, 2019
"The performance takes place on a nearly empty stage and uses only three actors to tell its story. While the evening is mesmerizing, the play seems unfocused, beginning with the question why do we do theater and ending with the political dangers to theater artists who create experimental theater."
read more
September 28th, 2019
"Those for whom theater is their religion are more likely to appreciate 'Why?'….less a play than a kind of elliptical lecture-demonstration of, and paean to, the beauty and danger of the theatrical arts….nuggets of theatrical wisdom you might hear in an acting class."
read more

Related content

Cast & Creatives (3)