Already closed | Soho/Tribeca

Bad Penny

From 14 member  reviews
Members say: Quirky, Delightful, Refreshing, Absorbing, Confusing

About the show

Part of The Flea's "Mac Wellman: Perfect Catastrophes" series, "Bad Penny" asks: how do we make choices in the face of the end of the world as we know it? More…

From the show:


A man and a woman sit in a park. They appear to be a couple, but aren’t. The man is clutching a car tire. The woman has a penny in her pocket. The mythical Boatman of Bow Bridge is coming. He is coming to take away the person who is in possession of the penny. How do we make choices in the face of the end of the world as we know it?

Member Reviews (14)


Quirky, Delightful, Refreshing, Absorbing, Confusing
Avg Score

Great staging, Great acting

See it if You want to see something in a nontraditional space. This was done outside in a courtyard

Don't see it if You are expecting to show up in a theater sit in a seat and watch a play that takes place on stage

Also After being introduced to this playwright earlier in the night and bei... Read more Read less

Quirky, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you like Mac Wellman and the edgy theater the Flea is known for.

Don't see it if you expect to understand what is going on. Fun to watch, but ultimately I didn't get it.

Edgy, Entertaining, Refreshing

See it if like Mac Wellman. An old play that still engages today. staged well to get the audience more involved

Don't see it if need a linear narrative then skip this. Though this is a very accessible Mac Wellman play.

Quirky, Dizzying, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if You’d like to sit outside and watch young actors throw themselves into the messy wackiness of a Wellman play about a road to hell thru NYC

Don't see it if You want clarity or a traditional play. It’s not Hadestown (although there is some singing!)

Refreshing, Clever, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if you like cleverly meandering text circling around the meaning rather than spelling it out; you've never seen anything by Mac Wellman.

Don't see it if this is quite straightforward and accessible by Mac Wellman's standards but don't expect a plot-driven narrative play.

Also Wonderfully set in a small backyard at The Flea; recreates very quinte... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Evocative, Delightful

See it if you want to see great performances as mercurial and dynamic as the weather.

Don't see it if it's so short and delightful that even if you get lost in Mac Wellman's language the show is still a good time.

Enchanting, Refreshing, Edgy, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if You want a unique (not too long) night at the theater.

Don't see it if You can’t stay outside for longer than an hour

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Confusing

See it if you like deconstructionist theater and if you appreciate an experience (rather than a coherent narrative).

Don't see it if you want structure, narrative, or a plot. This doesn't have a ton of that.

Quirky, Thought-provoking, Hilarious, Delightful, Clever

See it if You love sitting outside with friends and watching people bicker over cosmic misfortune and flat tires

Don't see it if You hate sunshine and great writing

During previews
Historically important script, Good lead actors, Uneven production, Innovative, Smart

See it if you are interested in innovative theater that is script-based.

Don't see it if you are in the mood to experience a traditional play: This is not that!

Also Hard for me to score! From the mid-1980s though century’s end Mac Well... Read more Read less

During previews
Meaningless, Dizzying, Stupid, Indulgent, Quirky

See it if You want to see what passed as profound avant guard in the 1980s. Characters trying to define them self as they take refuge in the park.

Don't see it if You expect insights, humor, and anything resembling stimulating art.

During previews
Fun, Unusual, Unexpected, Chaotic, Quirky

See it if You want really different, really fascinating theater.

Don't see it if You need something purely linear or straightforward. This is Mac Wellman, y'all, prepare for some joyous weird.

Also BAD PENNY is a fun one. The decision to take the show outside was a gr... Read more Read less

During previews
Great writing, Masterful, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if You love language & poetry. Acting & staging is superb - you're right there in the thick of all this grappling with the human condition

Don't see it if You expect to "get it" immediately. It lingers and needs to be discussed and seen again. Would even recommend reading in advance.

During previews
Good cast, garbage play: stay home., Disappointing, Banal

See it if you have absolutely nothing else to do that evening. Actually, simply go elsewhere instead.

Don't see it if Loud music, stupid dialogue, ranting and raving from characters having hallucinations, characters talking past each other. Go elsewhere.

Also Every 3 or 4 years, The Flea puts on a zero value production. This is ... Read more Read less

September 9th, 2019
"Mac Wellman’s ‘Bad Penny’ Promises a Boat Ride to Hell: The Flea Theater has revived this brief play, in which a flat tire is the least of the problems you might encounter in Central Park."
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September 8th, 2019
"Mac Wellman's skewering of America in 'BAD PENNY' and 'SINCERITY FOREVER' at Flea Theater"
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September 21st, 2019
"From the evidence of the 1990 Sincerity Forever and 1989 'Bad Penny,' Wellman is not particularly interested in plot but makes copious use of satire, poetry and symbolism to write absurdist plays which skewer hypocrisy and pretense in America."
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September 7th, 2019
"A day in the park in New York, but it's not a walk in the park….a heightened dramatic distillation and affectionate parody of what it's like to live in New York, and... to be a New Yorker.. would surely have worked better in a set, or setting, more recognizably NYC."
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Cast & Creatives (3)