Closed 1h 45m
Women of a Certain Age: Election Year in the Life of One Family, Play Three
East Village
86

Women of a Certain Age: Election Year in the Life of One Family, Play Three NYC Reviews and Tickets

86%
(73 Reviews)
Positive
93%
Mixed
6%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Relevant, Intelligent

About the Show

Tony Award-winning playwright and director Richard Nelson returns to the Public Theater with the final chapter his new three-play cycle about the Gabriels of Rhinebeck, New York.

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Member Reviews (73)

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85
Clever, Great writing, Great acting, Profound, Touching

See it if you enjoy kitchensink dramas; the trilogy is a great example. I preferred the 3 plays to Chekhov; the issues are relevant, the humanity deep

Don't see it if you want a happy ending. Life can be brutal. I didn't like the misguided seance talk, but otherwise all 3 boast outstanding writing. Read more

66
Banal, Cliched, Pointless, Great acting, Slow

See it if you are a completionist and must see all 3 parts of this trilogy. Well acted. You relate to severely passionless family interactions.

Don't see it if it feels myopic & aimless. Characters go through the same life transition at the same time in the same way. Not microcosm but a microscope. Read more

Critic Reviews (23)

November 9th, 2016

"The Gabriels are the tenderly wrought creations of the playwright Richard Nelson...As we listen to its members talk, even on trivial subjects like the decoration of cookies, we feel the far-reaching tremors of a scared country that has come down with a rattling case of identity crisis...Before you know it, this modest play has indirectly addressed matters both of the utmost immediate relevance—the election, the economy, the medical industry—and of cosmic implications."
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November 11th, 2016

"Certain notes of hubris in the project, like much self-referential preening about art, were already jarring on election night. Imagine them now. Some people find reassurance in the cast’s palpable warmth; some find Nelson’s Chekhovian languor a balm. But I’m troubled at how 'The Gabriels' assumes a sameness; it’s nearly two hours of self-perpetuating agreement...It’s relentlessly plaintive and, we now know, utterly beside the point."
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November 9th, 2016

"Even if it weren’t so despairing about some of the largest issues we face today, the astonishingly full and fine-grained performances of the six-person cast, under Nelson’s direction, are almost too much to handle...Despite that drollness, and the frequent laughs, the tone of 'Women of a Certain Age' is not only grimmer but angrier...Already, watching the play, I felt that the anarchic spirit of Trumpism had somewhat overwhelmed Nelson’s playwriting levees."
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November 9th, 2016

"It's an interlude swollen near to bursting with sorrow and comfort, with losses absorbed and yet-to-come, with crushing disappointments but also with stubborn strains of humor and humanity...Although the Gabriel plays are inextricably political, they are also profoundly human and personal. Not one character on the stage feels inessential to the drama and not a single actor fails to bring a lifetime of intimate knowledge to his or her fully inhabited portrayal."
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November 10th, 2016

"The playwright’s own intensely personal direction, at Off Broadway’s Public Theater, is brilliantly sustained by a tight ensemble of actors who have been with the project since the beginning...Mary Gabriel, Thomas’s third wife and now widow, quietly rules this roost, as does the sublime actress Maryann Plunkett, who steps back into the role she now owns...Cast in Nelson’s ultra-naturalistic style, the voices are measured, thoughtful, comfortable — and comforting."
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November 9th, 2016

"These exquisitely intimate plays and these engaged audiences long ago began to feel like family, and 'Women of a Certain Age,' which left me in tears at the end, comforted me later on...As with Nelson’s model Chekhov, the big picture is in the details. It’s the accumulation of them in these mostly quiet moments that make 'Women of a Certain Age' so rich an exploration of identity...Nelson again is the masterful conductor of these amazing actors."
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November 17th, 2016

"The final chapter in writer and director Richard Nelson’s trilogy leaves the titular family where we met them — in angst-riddled limbo...Everyone in the family, played by the finest ensemble in town, hopes for something brighter. Knowing the results of the race for the White House deepens the play’s dark streaks."
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November 11th, 2016

"A play that deals with election results cannot help but resonate differently with audiences before votes are tallied and after...The blending of the play's world so intimately with our own makes for vitally naturalistic theater. Naturalism has always been the specialty of Nelson's play cycles, which he directs with great subtlety...It's a shame to say goodbye to characters who so expertly capture our anxieties, as well as to the magnificent actors who take on these roles with full devotion."
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November 16th, 2016

"As the shadows draw in around the Gabriels, they remain remarkably gallant, and you want to cling to them for dear life. More than once, I was filled with sadness over the knowledge that this was the last time I would be seeing these characters and the superb ensemble playing them...Nelson, who also directed, has done a valuable thing with the Gabriel plays...The darkness threatens us all, and we must find a way to make common cause or the future will be bleak."
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November 9th, 2016

"It's Nelson's greatest strength as playwright and director here that he relegates politics mostly to the background; it's oddly secondary that this is at once the most and least momentous installment in the series with nothing and everything happening simultaneously, and at a dizzying pace. Every moment is flooded with meaning...More than ever, it's the acting that sells it. Everyone is superb."
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November 14th, 2016

“The final play in Richard Nelson's latest cycle, ‘The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family’ is aptly titled as it is devoted to the ladies of the family. ‘Women of a Certain Age’ is an extraordinarily elegiac and Shavian experience of the way we live now in middle-class America. Beginning with seemingly off-hand humor, the play eventually creates a spellbinding mood. You are in the arena of the kitchen alongside the members of the family.”
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November 14th, 2016

"This final play continues to be timely. The situation now is a reflection of middle-class Americans caught up in events that made this election so contentious and its aftermath so problematic...Nelson is a very good writer and 'Women of A Certain Age' has tapped into his gift for finely observed and developed characters. He's also that rare playwright who is a good director who knows how to move his actors around naturally and gracefully."
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November 14th, 2016

"Last Tuesday–Election Night–night was excruciating. The Gabriel plays are merely frustrating...The saving grace is the two performances put in by Sanders and Maxwell. These two have a connection that is pure gold, and it becomes the center of the evening. The other three are planets in orbit giving vague representations of their characters. Each seems to be waiting for someone to stop speaking so that they can say their lines. An altogether underwhelming effect."
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December 10th, 2016

"The cast are all completely marvelous. And in this final installment, they are only more engrained into their characters. They make being in the presence of this family feel authentic, comfortable, and easy…It’s a beautiful structure for us to peek into the world of a troubled but real family, and listen in. To get to know them, witness them, and ultimately become enmeshed into their lives emotionally."
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November 9th, 2016

"Most of the time I listened with impatience to this supposedly socially engaged family...I left feeling that the promise and process in which the plays were put together wound up at best a gimmick to market them. This is unfortunate because, if it weren’t taking place (and being written) on Election Day, I could better appreciate 'Women of a Certain Age' as a well-acted, gentle and insightful look at a family facing many struggles, emotionally and financially."
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November 13th, 2016

"'Women of a Certain Age' is highly relevant in today’s day and age…For the first time in the Gabriel plays, Nelson’s writing shows an elegance as real issues are discussed. Healthcare, jobs, education, gender, gentrification and lack of income weave their way into the conversation. The cast is all sublime and so real."
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November 17th, 2016

"Nelson beautifully illustrates how one particular American family stratum lives in our day and age...The irresistible thing about the Gabriels is how widely their conversation ranges...The Trump-Clinton presidential contest is one of the topics raised...If there’s one element in Nelson’s surpassing work that doesn’t entirely compute, it’s ironically the time spent on such topics...Nonetheless, Nelson’s accomplishment as a playwright is matched by his accomplishment as a director."
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B
November 23rd, 2016

"Their conversation ranges far and wide, from vintage cookbooks to gentrification to outside money’s influence on local politics...The Gabriels do not yet know the election results, but their future does not look bright regardless of the outcome...Anyone who has not seen at least the middle play of the trilogy may not get a lot out of this one. The ensemble cast is outstanding."
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November 9th, 2016

"Playwright/director Richard Nelson ends his masterly trilogy, 'The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family,' with 'Women of a Certain Age'...Nelson’s writing is skillful, insightful and steeped in heightened reality...The family—or, rather, the cast—is exceptional...Plunkett makes Mary so real and her problems so immediate that the actor and character seem the heart of 'The Gabriels'...The plays are not to be missed."
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November 11th, 2016

“The company that has been with the plays all year remains the rare ensemble with no membrane between performance and what feels like intimate reality...Nelson’s goal, as expressed in the program, was to 'portray a world where the personal, the cultural, the societal, the familial, the artistic, the political are viewed not as separate categories, but as dependent aspects of each of our lives.' He does all that, and more."
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November 14th, 2016

"You feel for the Gabriels – the play is notably well-acted – but their rather passive reaction to their woes is a bit annoying...All three plays, directed by Nelson, follow the same narrow path. They’re similarly staged, with the family chatting as they sit around the kitchen table preparing a meal, and all chart an unrelieved downward course. Maybe they’re a more fitting dramatic counterpart to the election than Nelson suspected they’d be."
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November 9th, 2016

"'The Gabriels' is everything the next president is not: thoughtful, meditative, hesitant, self-critical and, above all else, quiet. Nelson and his inspired cast have turned the story of one beleaguered family into an arresting parable of decline in educated middle-class America...Nelson’s work seems more vital than ever. And yet this kind of political theatre is preaching to the converted. What difference can it make?"
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T
November 11th, 2016

"Leave it to Richard Nelson to write so elegantly about the most inelegant era in our country’s recent history...It all seems simple, even simplistic, in summary, but Nelson’s exquisitely detailed writing—his often funny and pointed dialogue takes mundanity to new heights of poetic realism—and deft directing are joined by the flawless performances to make this intimate but expansive play help in the healing that our divided nation will be needing."
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