New York | 1h 20m | Already closed

Cal in Camo

From 10 critic and 31 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing

About the show

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and Colt Coeur present this world premiere about a young mother who tries to understand her present by looking into her past. More…

William Francis Hoffman's moving and darkly funny play probes the nature of family bonds and questions whether the wounds of our past irrevocably impact our capacity for human connection. Cal’s worst fear about motherhood has come true and in a desperate attempt to understand her present, she summons her only connection to a long-lost past.

1h 20m | Already closed | Rattlestick Theatre (West Village)

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"Given the somber plot, 'Cal in Camo' is often surprisingly humorous, with actors who reach deep to pull out emotionally charged performances…Relish the amusing moments, because 'Cal in Camo' is a gut-wrenching play…'Cal in Camo' is meant to be uneasy, and director Adrienne Campbell-Holt makes sure of it. The dialogue is fast and the narrative hard, begging to be heard...The camouflage is ripped aside and the human spirit is revealed, bruises and all." Full Review

Time Out New York

"William Francis Hoffman’s powerful, too-brief 'Cal in Camo' is ruthlessly grown-up...In fiercely written dialogues, each damaged person unlocks another. Hoffman writes beautifully for actors: climactic, showcase scenes (if not yet the interstitial bits or the plot). In these bravura moments, Campbell is startling and Wesley is superbly vulnerable. But it’s Harbour, his massive buffalo forehead beetled down in confusion, who’s unmissable here. His performance fills the room." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Directed with precision and style by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, 'Cal in Camo' often gets away with a too-heavy use of symbolic imagery by having the actors play everything right on the surface...Harbour is terrific as the man who tries to deny his primal instincts in the name of civilization, while Campbell is devastating, and ultimately haunting...Wesley, however, is the play’s true revelation...He brings a childlike wonder and sweetness to a part that might have been played just for show." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"‘Cal in Camo’ a well-acted, naturalistic, emotionally taut, kitchen-sink drama peppered with ambiguity...Some of it is straightforward, some is surreal, some is funny, and some is opaque...‘Cal in Camo’ teeters too often near symbolism's slippery sinkhole...but the play's savory dialogue and credible performances grasp you tightly enough to keep you involved throughout its 70 intermissionless minutes." Full Review

The New York Times

"An earnest and tenderhearted play about the search for family…Staged with scrupulous attention to detail by the director, Adrienne Campbell-Holt, and an expert design team, this production shares its characters’ questing and sometimes awkward sincerity…Wesley, Campbell and Harbour convincingly convey the awkwardness of people out of their element. But they can’t disguise a sense of spontaneous character sometimes being subordinated to a writer’s cosmic purposes." Full Review


"Their mysteriousness may be an intentional product or simply a result of the characters being a means to the author's end; either way, it can obfuscate the action of the play, or at least distance us from what is otherwise a production characterized by its immediacy. At its best, though, that immediacy can certainly be quite gripping...In this production, with the care of Campbell-Holt and the commitment of the actors, it's the power of feeling that leaves the strongest mark." Full Review


"Playwright Hoffman offers a quirky, weirdly compelling if not totally satisfying take on contemporary American life. Mr. Hoffman’s dialogue is richly expressive bordering on poetic and enhances his true-to-life melancholic characters. The plot is slender and problematic...Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s direction realizes the material with the thoughtful performances and proficient physical staging...'Cal in Camo' is interestingly odd but is off-kilter." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“Although the ensemble cast members deliver impressive performances with authenticity and believability, Mr. Hoffman’s script is somewhat less impressive as is Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s direction. The script is often less than believable and the characters' traits are not always consistent. Ms. Campbell-Holt’s direction is serviceable but rarely stretches beyond the basics...However, ‘Cal in Camo’ is at times an engaging psychological study of one fractured family system.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“An exercise in clinical depression that seems determined to be as off-putting as possible...The playwright is so busy drawing neat little dramatic patterns that he never gets around to creating characters who make any sort of psychological sense...As Flynt, a one-dimensional icon of suffering, Paul Wesley is hopelessly lumbered...The people don't make sense, but as long as the symbols are in place, I guess the author is happy.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

“Cal and Tim are so volatile that audience members will wonder why they’re watching such unpleasant people...It may be that the eventual ‘Cal in Camo’ saving grace is its illustration of how disappointed and disturbed people find a way to get through to one another. Unfortunately, Cal, Tim and Flynt are unbearable for so long—Adrienne Campbell-Holt is the flummoxed director—that by the time they reconcile, few watching them will care.” Full Review

Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if You like a good truthful story about marriage, family, struggle, and disappointment, and mistakes and will they keep it together?!

Don't see it if You want sugar coating of real family in its beginnings.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if You can appreciate a small play that packs a big punch with complex characters and great performances (esp. David Harbour!)

Don't see it if You're not fond of plays w/ characters who are lost and lonely and whose lives are a bit grimy (literally in one case)

Relevant, Original, Absorbing, Intelligent, Touching

See it if You want to be frightened, saddened and uplifted. You are inspired by well-developed characters coping with challenging circumstances.

Don't see it if The following themes don't interest you: postpartum depression, man & nature, and our need for connection.

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

See it if you want a drama about alienation and man's primal need for attachment. You are interested in characters on the brink.

Don't see it if you want an unambiguous takeaway message or an action-packed plot. Here you are steeped in a mood: desperation tinged with hope.

Entertaining, Relevant, Quirky

See it if you like flawed characters trying their best to survive

Don't see it if you don't like realistic plays that deal with the messiness of relationships and life

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

See it if You want to see a trio of fine actors coping with the trials in their lives.

Don't see it if You are interested in light comedy. These characters have serious life issues.

Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you like to see characters growth.

Don't see it if you don't like plays dealing with dysfunction.

Raw, Poignant, Original, Relevant, Intense

See it if You recognize the frustrations and uncertainties of roles we choose to live. Excellent acting (esp. Barbour). Writing a little uneven.

Don't see it if You are unequal to seeing disillusionment. Some nudity.

Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you like tension between classes. Well develop characters. The hard dynamics of a relationship.

Don't see it if strong language and nudity is an issue.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Confusing, Quirky, Great acting

See it if You like life affirming stories, stories about family relationships, tense and emotional boilovers, fan of Paul Wesley of Vampire Diaries

Don't see it if Slow paced family dramas turn you off, stubborn people's behavior exasperates you, uncomfortable with a gun on stage

Great acting, Intense

See it if you enjoy seeing superb actors wrestle with a slightly unwieldy script.

Don't see it if you're not overly adventurous.

Great acting, Great staging, Slow, Contrived at times, Thought-provoking

See it if You love catching the latest downtown/off-Broadway shows by new playwrights at a venue devoted solely to original work.

Don't see it if You want everything spelled out for you, or don't like slow-moving domestic dramas.

Great acting, Absorbing, Resonant, Intense

See it if You enjoy watching a piece where people act like people. Great acting, the actors almost seemed to want to bust out of the theatre.

Don't see it if You need a fluff piece or you're not interested in human connection and disconnect.

Great acting, Uneven, Unfocused

See it if The performances are great especially Katya Campbell.

Don't see it if There are some great moments but I found it a bit unfocused, would have liked to have seen more of Cal's struggles play out.

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you want to interpret everything you hear. The characters are basically unpleasant

Don't see it if you like a comprehensible plot.

Confusing, Great acting, Uneven writing: some scenes are wonderful, some are just odd., Riveting, Characters needed some more back-story

See it if You enjoy oddball character studies. You want to see some really good acting. You like themes about family & love.

Don't see it if You want a play w/more of an actual story. You don't like character studies. You want clear motivation for characters.

Good acting, Decent debut play, Interesting, Discomfiting

See it if You want to see a fairly short, discomfiting play with decent acting in an intimate setting.

Don't see it if You don't think a man should be writing a play about postpartum depression because you can definitely tell.

Uneven, Flawed, Ambitious, Intense

See it if see it for David Harbour's excellent performance. This is the writer's first play and while a bold first attempt, his novice is evident.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in seeing a deeply flawed new play. Cal In Camo is ambitious, but aimlessly directed and features and uneven cast.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Intense

See it if you want a great drama featuring two exquisite performances (Wesley and Harbor). great new voice directed very well.

Don't see it if can't think of a reason not to!

Ambitious, Great acting, Edgy, Original, Intense

See it if you have a taste for original shows for a cheap price. Maximum cost to see this show is $45. The talent is through the roof! Amazing acting.

Don't see it if you have any issues with partial nudity, which occur in a few scenes.

Raunchy, Slow, Intense, Disappointing, Dizzying

See it if You like obscure shows.

Don't see it if You're looking for a light hearted night at the theatre

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Must see, Intense

See it if You love shows that make you think, have experienced or know someone who has experienced post-partum depression, you enjoy EXCELLENT theater

Don't see it if You don't like theater, being absolutely blown away by the beauty of a performance or feel uncomfortable with nudity

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Riveting

See it if You love emotionally-intense dramas that pack a punch but let you laugh along the way.

Don't see it if You're looking for fluff.

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if Powerful plays with well drawn characters and great dialogue dealing with original situations is your idea of a great evening of theatre !

Don't see it if You cant handle some raw dialogue and don,t care for regional plays that shout small town stories and dialect.

During previews
Absorbing, Edgy, Original, Thought-provoking, Fresh

See it if like drama that goes against expectations; isn't cliche, well acted and surprising in plot development and great use of the stage.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with some nudity; cannot deal with issues of post partum depression, uncomfortable family issues. Huge metaphors.

Cast & Creatives (11)