Chess Match No. 5
Closed 1h 30m
Chess Match No. 5

Chess Match No. 5 NYC Reviews and Tickets

(55 Ratings)
Members say
Slow, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Absorbing

About the Show

SITI Company and Abingdon Theatre Company present the world premiere of an avant-garde work inspired by American composer, writer, artist, and philosopher John Cage. 

Read more Show less

Show-Score Member Reviews (55)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
98 Reviews | 23 Followers
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Must see, Great acting, Experimental

See it if you are a fan of experimental theater, a fan of John Cage or of Anne Bogart/SITI Company. Enjoy spectacular sound design and unique lighting

Don't see it if you only like musicals, narrative plays, hate experimental theater or require plot and characters to enjoy a performance; You hate John Cage Read more

105 Reviews | 58 Followers
Thought-provoking, Experimental, Innovative, Fun, Ambitious

See it if you like John Cage's ideas. Like abstract, conceptual, even absurdist theater. Want your thinking expanded or your assumptions challenged.

Don't see it if you want traditional theater. Aren't familiar with (or willing to learn about) Cage's ideas. Need a clear plot; this is ideas-driven. Read more

100 Reviews | 15 Followers
Enchanting, Unique, intelligent

See it if u want 2 c John Cage's work & ideas come alive under Ann Bogart's genius/u want 2 c Siti's s Will Bond & Ellen Lauren exude brilliance.

Don't see it if if u don't want to think, need a story

76 Reviews | 21 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, And super original.

See it if your are a little tired of kitchen dramas and plays with a linear story and you are open to a different type of show, super well done.

Don't see it if you like regular plays and are not open to enjoying something out of the box. People are going to hate it or love it, and that's good.

287 Reviews | 32 Followers
Thought-provoking, Resonant, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if You enjoy a production that makes you think

Don't see it if You're looking for a simple story

141 Reviews | 57 Followers
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Quirky, Slow

See it if You are a great fun of John Cage; you want to see some experimental theater works which discuss time, sound and space.

Don't see it if You like plot-driven or traditional plays. Nothing really happened during the play and the dialogues can be incomprehensible.

304 Reviews | 37 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if don't mind something avant-guard, philosophical and imaginatively presented

Don't see it if need a conventional plot and have short attention spans

52 Reviews | 15 Followers
Intelligent, Profound, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Weird, but interesting.

See it if You want to know more about a modern, provocative composer who was a brilliant philosopher.

Don't see it if You want constant action and just want to relax, without having to think. Read more

Critic Reviews (16)

The New York Times
March 28th, 2017

"They are not visibly doing theater, if that means plot, traditional characters or singing cats. Except, of course, that they are. You just need to recalibrate your expectations…‘Chess Match No. 5’ is a cerebral peek into an artist’s worldview…Will Bond, displaying the impish smile of an eccentric scientist, and Ellen Lauren, whose deceivingly detached inflections recall Laurie Anderson’s, putter around the stage in a manner that feels aimless and deliberate...Go with an open mind—and ears.”
Read more

Time Out New York
March 20th, 2017

"Even as it quotes Cage, 'Match' resists him, and the resulting performance is respectful, warm-hearted, lovely…and inert...There should be an interesting tension between Bogart and Cage—there's so much that's different, they should come together in a crash. But the SITI method sands and polishes and burnishes 'til there's no salient edge left. Though the piece is about Cage, it doesn't use Cage: aside from the chess games, all of Bogart's structures are rigid."
Read more

March 19th, 2017

"Clarke's finished product onstage is—in the most objective sense of the word—boring. And yet, it's so Cage-like in spirit, you almost can't fault Clarke or director Anne Bogart for crafting 'Chess Match No. 5' in just this meandering way...Nevertheless, this sensory stimulation can't bear all the weight of keeping us engaged for the entirety of the plotless conversation between He and She...And yet, you leave the theater seriously questioning whether boredom is a fair basis of criticism."
Read more

Lighting & Sound America
March 23rd, 2017

"Works best as a kind of tribute to a singular figure in 20th-century culture, done with great affection and no small amount of charm...The text doesn't really assist in understanding the line of Cage's thought, and the director's slick, often amusing direction may be at odds with his rather austere ideas. For most of its running time, 'Chess Match No. 5' feels likes an accomplished, but not particularly illuminating, piece of staging that may be a little too superficial for its own good."
Read more

Theater Pizzazz
March 27th, 2017

"While backgrounds of various interdisciplinary areas will provide entertainment, depth of field for individual audience members isn’t necessary to enjoy this delightful romp...Choreographer Barney O’Hanlon designed movement with a sense of play and gentle ease...The spare but resonant framework of 'Chess Match No. 5' allows us to enjoy the light show, ponder John Cage reflections on life and art and philosophy, and consider images as images and sounds as sounds."
Read more

Front Row Center
March 21st, 2017

“It gets dense and there is no real story, yet I was thoroughly entertained...This is a show that must be grasped with an open hand. If you try to make too much of it, hold on to any one moment too long, or ‘figure it all out,’ you won’t like it. If you can let it just flow over you and just notice how some of the mind bending makes you feel, you will definitely enjoy yourself...The sound design in this show is a complex masterpiece…By the end of the show, I had tears in my eyes.”
Read more

Theatre Reviews Limited
March 19th, 2017

"There is nothing like watching theatre directed by SITI Company’s Anne Bogart. Her attention to detail is unparalleled and her signature staging that includes crisp and precise movement is transformative...A remarkable production...With smiles and precise gestures here, a few dances there, and with scintillating words everywhere, the remarkable talents of Bond and Lauren open the door to the possibility for members of the audience to rehearse their own conversations."
Read more

Theatre's Leiter Side
March 19th, 2017

"Rarely dramatic and primarily intellectual, the dialogue covers Cage's thoughts on his work process, aesthetics, music, art, and life; it can now and then be stimulating, even funny. Because of its patchwork structure, the conversations jump around in subject and manner. But since everything spoken exists in a theatrical vacuum where the speakers, regardless of how well acted, are essentially intellectual abstractions, their words frequently become like the sounds that Cage considered music."
Read more