Already closed | 1h 30m | Midtown W

Chess Match No. 5

From 55 member  reviews
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.  More…

SITI actors Will Bond and Ellen Lauren create a unique live art performance, part chess game and part music happening, which explores the words and ideas of a visionary artist. Come experience the wide-open mind-bending brilliance of Cage’s insights about the world, art, music, philosophy, and the adventures that life presents. Conceived and directed by veteran theater maker Anne Bogart.

1h 30m | Already closed | June Havoc Theatre (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (55)


Slow, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Absorbing

Dated, Pretentious, boring

See it if you have patience for art-speak drivel that has pretensions to grandeur but is empty of meaning. Full of erudite references to nothing.

Don't see it if you expect insightful writing, character development, relevance and meaning. You are looking for an intermission to escape.

Confusing, Dizzying, Excruciating, Tiring, Boring

See it if You enjoy watching actors make toast, drink coffee, play chess, and talk nonsense for 90 minutes. Trouble falling asleep? Not at this show!

Don't see it if You want to see a play that's about something. This was about NOTHING! 90 minutes of my life gone forever!

Ambitious, Excruciating, Indulgent, Slow, Disappointing

See it if You are willing to spend 90 minutes watching two actors play chess while pretending to talk about philosophical and obscure concepts.

Don't see it if You don't like pretentious theater that tries ( and fails ) to be " avant-garde " and challenging. This is a boring and inert production.

Confusing, Disappointing, Indulgent, Excruciating, Slow

See it if you enjoy pretentious "avant garde" performances which are thought provoking for some.

Don't see it if you are a fan of John Cage. Do not like pretentious plays that seem like they go on and on and on for ever. This play was a long 2 hours.

Also A fellow member of the audience told me that see thought the play was ... Read more Read less

Confusing, Disappointing, Dizzying, Excruciating, Indulgent

See it if You hate yourself. Seeing this was the worst experience I have ever had at the theatre

Don't see it if You value your eyesight. My wife and I could not watch this show because the lighting made our eyes hurt so much we had to close them.

During previews
Weird, Slow, Disappointing, Repetitive

See it if you want to be re-introduced to sounds and like very quirky plays

Don't see it if you can't sit still and watch nothing happen

Also The separation and exaggeration of sounds and lights was somewhat enga... Read more Read less

During previews
Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if YOU LIKE CRAP!!!!

Don't see it if U DON"T LIKE CRAP!!!!

During previews
Confusing, Banal, Excruciating, Indulgent, Slow

See it if you want to fall asleep.

Don't see it if you want something that makes sense.

Also The actor in the play says: "It's a question of how you want to spend ... Read more Read less

During previews
Banal, Cliched, Dated

See it if you like random music like John Cage

Don't see it if you think randomness is cliche

Also This type of theater is pompous and cliché. Dadaism was entertaining; ... Read more Read less

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 eccentri...
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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...
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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 th...
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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 aust...
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