The Play Company presents an irreverent, genre-bending piece about a Chinese dissident artist. Part of the Summer Shares season at La MaMa. More…
Theater makers Christopher Chen and Lee Sunday Evans apply their playful imaginations to the work of a Chinese dissident artist. Their hybrid show invites you to navigate a labyrinthine trail between truth and perception, authority and authenticity, illusionary art and real jeopardy.
“Upon entering the space at La Mama that is part art exhibit, part performance site, it is clear that this won’t be your typical piece of entertainment. Even before taking your seat, so many questions come to mind about the goal of the experiment that is explained as a variation on human imprisonment and its effect on the psyche. The concept instantly grabs your attention and sets the stage for a powerful and moving personal story – or so one would think.” Full Review
“Evans has created precisely the right ambience for capturing the play’s nuances by inspiring performances that seem off-the-cuff and honest enough to suck the audience into its world. Each member of the ensemble has a relaxed, everyday believability that makes their lies like truth (to quote Shakespeare). Heady as ‘Caught’ is, you’ll find that by the end of its 80 minutes you may not have understood every jot and tittle but that you’ve certainly been caught. And that’s the truth.” Full Review
"Messes with your head in the most exquisite of ways...The show is in places very funny, but it also has some thought-provoking things to say about truth and lies and perception...By the end of the fourth scene, which swerves into the unexpected, the audience is unsure of everything, including whether to applaud. All this might sound frustrating, but it’s actually fun to experience, helped along by the credible acting and fine work in a small space by the design team." Full Review
"An intricately constructed, unrelentingly destabilizing puzzle of a play about the anatomy of truth and the provocative power of illusion…The story that the sympathetic Lin Bo tells is not what it appears to be. Neither is much else in this ever-shifting play, directed with exquisite precision by Evans, and slyly designed every step of the way…The one thing spectators can be sure of is that they are inside a production that is also a kind of art installation, and that it is messing with them." Full Review
"Each scene unfolds itself like a mysterious Chinese box, directed craftily and ingeniously by Lee Sunday Evans…The cast is outstanding, and especially memorable are Leslie Fray, who plays both Joyce and the curator, and Jennifer Lim…This play is definitely an adventurous departure from the traditional structure of most theatre, and especially with the inclusion of an art-installation into a theatrical piece, 'Caught' is worth checking out. " Full Review
"Chen, who as a playwright is the smoothest of con artists, has neatly constructed a series of scenes that fit into each other like Chinese boxes...The director, Lee Sunday Evans, stages this flimflammery with the surest of hands, aided by a cast who are skilled at playing straight even in preposterous circumstances...Altogether, 'Caught' is a funny, stimulating evening that urges us all to think twice before spouting the received ideas that make us feel comfortable with ourselves." Full Review
"'Caught' is filled with so many unreliable narrators and shifting stories, it is hard to know what is what...The feeling is akin to waking up from a dream, only to find oneself in another dream. Yet thanks to committed performances from the cast, we keep re-suspending our disbelief...Even if you get lost along the way, Evans' sure-footed production will keep you from drowning in confusion...Chen gleefully pokes fun at the myriad fallacies that presently reign over American art and media." Full Review
"A lively rumination on the truth claims of various intellectual pursuits…Chen finds both humor and pathos in the position of artists in an age of science and technology. ‘Caught,’ which is satiric without being didactic, gets at the folly of imposing scientific standards on discourse that isn't meant to be scientific…The Play Company has assembled a resourceful production that, though frugal, appeals to spectators' eyes and ears." Full Review
"Chen's dark meta-comedy, 'Caught,' is a smart, self-assured meditation on the politics of truth, in art and in life…Under Evans's direction, 'Caught''s cascading series of revelations unfolds crisply, set against shifting white backdrops that give the impression we're in an art gallery, and a theater, at once…There's a frame around every fact, Chen suggests. Theater, an art form in which no one's who they say they are, helps us see it." Full Review
"The physical production is beautifully realized…The execution couldn't be better: Evans and her team clearly found the 'Inception'-esque challenge of the text exciting. Performances are strong throughout…Where the piece can sometimes feel thin is in the text itself. Chen broaches ideas, but he's too quick; since each scene is barely 20 minutes long, it has only time to contribute to one really clever thought. Still, it turns out to be a useful thought." Full Review
"It's not a mystery but rather, a series of scenes in which each one changes the context of the previous scene — leading you to ask what is true and how you can be sure....Chen's play has no narrative. And to say too much would ruin the experience. Let's just say that Evans keeps all the reversals from being confusing. Instead, they're disorienting in the best possible way, leading you to question everything you thought you knew." Full Review
See it if you enjoy performance art & are in the mood for an experience that will challenge your perception of reality & generate plenty of discussion
Don't see it if you like theater in a box, with linear narratives & the play's message served on a silver platter
See it if you want a play that is intelligent and funny, with a non-linear plot that constantly makes you question what is truth & what is illusion
Don't see it if you don't want one that's intentionally confusing & that takes you out of your comfort zone by overturning your expectations & assumptions
See it if You like unpredictable plays that draw you in through multiple levels and challenge you to think.
Don't see it if You prefer straightforward shows with easy-to-follow plots.
See it if you like funny plays that have the ring of truth to them. Also knowing about theatre insiderness will help! I laughed a lot.
Don't see it if you struggle with language heavy plays, plays that really on traditional story-telling.
See it if you enjoy plays that take you on a journey—with a number of bumps along the way. Good ensemble acting.
Don't see it if you enjoy linear plays. Or if you don't want to be played with by this production.
See it if you enjoy intellectually challenging theatre. Portrays lines between perception & reality; truth & fiction; art & activism & it's very funny
Don't see it if you don't want to be "caught" being entrapped in the very issues the play is exploring.
See it if you are interested in exploring what "truth" means or are interested in postmodernism.
Don't see it if you are looking for a show with a plot that proceeds in a traditionally narrative way.
See it if You like theater that makes you think and is also enjoyable. Excellent script and acting and several fabulous dizzy moments of pure joy.
Don't see it if You like plays that are conventional.
See it if You enjoy being challenged by a piece of theater. This show delights in confusing you, so just go along for the ride.
Don't see it if You don't like confusing or challenging theater. This show sticks with you, but only if you can allow your mind to be expanded.
See it if You'd like a thoughtful, intelligent exploration of life and humanity in a small theater setting
Don't see it if You need a linear story with a plot, dislike off-Broadway productions in small settings or feel uncomfortable with dissimulation
See it if You enjoy theater in a small setting, you are ok with being confused about the truth (it's the point of the show)
Don't see it if You need a straightforward plot, you don't like monologues
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