See it if Holder's intelligent albeit unorthodox generational diorama about a man named Charles. Sharply written having 'diamond in the rough' quality
Don't see it if Absurdist plot goes a bit awry when "individual Charleses" become "universal Charleses" but Finn's taut direction keeps apace with aplomb
See it if you like plays that go off into the abstract
Don't see it if You like your plays to stay somewhat in the reality where they start. Read more
See it if You would like to see how three generations of men talk to each other
Don't see it if You don't believe in the inverse Bechdel test
“A moving exploration of the fleetingness of life…Carl Holder’s vision is bold, and his grasp of technique is commanding…Bewildering, though always engaging…Three talented and skilled actors vibrantly appear in the production, and faithfully fulfill the author’s intentions with their mesmerizing performances…Director Finn’s staging is a supreme melding of all of the technical elements with the expressive work of the actors...Ms. Finn has exquisitely rendered Holder’s work."
"As 'Charleses' pushes the discussion of legacies and lineages further, it adds more flavor and edge to what is otherwise a mostly realistic play. However, at a certain point...the play loses its grounded focus and unfortunately becomes a bit confusing. Several false endings and an extended epilogue seem to be repetitions of the same point. 'Charleses' is nevertheless engaging and wildly imaginative. It uses recognizable characters to tell a powerful story in cerebral and inventive ways."
”We watch Charles grow up, have conflicts with his father and/or grandfather, go through various stages of adulthood and then old age and finally death. It’s very much a cycle of life experience. Unfortunately it feels at times like we’re seeing it play out in real time…Ultimately ‘Charleses’ relies on the audience’s ability to find fascination in the mundane…The big question is whether we can sit through an hour and a half of these ponderings.”
"Occasionally, 'Charleses' leaves its strange rhythm behind to stay put in well-trod territory...Fortunately, there are enough moments when the play gets specific and allows individual moments to have their own significance...The direction of Meghan Finn maintains the ritual rhythm at the heart of the work. All three actors effectively transition between ages, time periods, and characters...If the play has a major weakness, it is the lack of a feminine presence."
"This play patiently and benevolently gives each generation its say...'Charleses' is a well-written and exquisitely directed and performed play. If you haven’t had a 'show don’t tell experience' in a while, please go see it. I’m sure you will be left with the pleasurable task of learning to like three nice but flawed people. They are solid, and totally different from each other, and speak as often as not in facial expressions."
"Holder’s dialogue is vague enough that each scene leaves the audience with emotional resonance, but not much literal context. The abstractness works well, at first. What doesn’t work well is that the script doesn’t do anything with it...Even the question of machismo – which is only portrayed in the most generic of displays – is left unanswered as the play spirals off in a different direction...The actors did a good job with what they were given."