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

Confusing, Great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Riveting

See it if You have some familiarity w/John Cage. You want a play about big, philosophical ideas. You like abstract & non-linear plays.

Don't see it if You're expecting a plot. You have no familiarity w/John Cage. You don't want philosophy and big ideas.

Also I didn't get everything in this play. I lost them a few times. However... Read more Read less

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

Funny, Great acting, Confusing, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if you like John Cage, interesting plays about avant garde music/musicians, and thought-provoking, quiet, good acting.

Don't see it if you don't like slow pieces, meta, and unconventional pieces that lack a traditional story. I liked it, but it was weird and not for everyone

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

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.

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.

Also It's all about expectations. If you go expecting (& wanting) a relatio... Read more Read less

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

Confusing, Edgy, Great acting, Quirky, Challenging

See it if You like Endgame, Sandbox, Exit The King, The Chairs. . . and outstanding actors

Don't see it if Like comprehensible stories with linear plots

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.

Dated, Great acting, Indulgent, Intelligent, Slow

See it if you enjoy John Cage and don't care much about plot

Don't see it if you're looking for a linear (or any) story

Also It was uncanny how much that guy looked like John Cage! Good casting, ... Read more Read less

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.

Also I kind of liked it.

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

Also Find Anne Bogarts essays and lectures on theater deeply inspiring, but... Read more Read less

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

See it if You like experimental/ devised theater, or John Cage. You like philosophy, and you like letting your mind wonder and consider things.

Don't see it if you don't like experimental theater, performance art, 2 person minimalist shows, or if you need plot, message, or concreteness.

Also This is definitely not for everyone but I'm a fan of experimental thea... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Profound, Great staging, Great acting, Abstract

See it if You enjoy experimental theater done by masters of their craft

Don't see it if You have a short attention span or get lost in big ideas

Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You like think-pieces, with terrific performances. Two-character one-set play that will expand your mind.

Don't see it if You want to check your mind at the door.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Clever, Dizzying, Creative

See it if you are interested in John Cage, the work of Bogart/SITI company, philosophical ruminations on art and life, whimsical work with no plot

Don't see it if you dislike quirky "pretentious" theater, plot-less scripts, intricate but strange sound/lighting design, the viewpoints method, Cage's work

Profound, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Edgy

See it if you enjoy philosophical shows with experimental elements.

Don't see it if you prefer drama, plot-driven shows.

Clever, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Edgy

See it if you like the writings of John Cage and his theories about sound and music. The staging demonstrates many of the concepts discussed.

Don't see it if you get impatient when nothing seems to be happening on stage or when everything the actors speak is drawn from someone's writing.

Also John Cage was keen on sensitizing audiences to unintended sound. Silen... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Slow, Bogart, Intelligent

See it if like thinking and/or John Cage

Don't see it if you can't stand things that move very slow.

During previews
Quirky, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Edgy, Slow

See it if You are a fan of avant-garde composer John Cage. You are a composer. You really enjoy highly unusual theatre. Different is your thing !

Don't see it if You are looking for a traditional style play. This could not be more untraditional ! You want mindless entertainment with lots of laughs.

Also This is an event based on the sometimes very strange conversations com... Read more Read less

During previews
Intelligent and thought-provoking., Slow, by design., Quirky and avant-garde

See it if You like absurd theater, existentialism, a play that makes you lean in. It's a conversational meditation with unexpected production detail.

Don't see it if You're inclined to find stuff like this pretentious/not worth it. It's two people on a sparsely set stage, playing chess, talking, w coffee.

Also Well, obviously with scores that range from 7 to 98, this show's not f... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Delightful, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if you enjoy engaging with intelligent and quirky avant-garde work that only requires you to accept what occurs onstage and allow it to be.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy post-modernism, shows that don't utilize narrative structure, or experimental theatre

Also Ellen and Will are absolutely delightful to watch onstage and the show... Read more Read less

During previews
Refreshing, Quirky, Slow, Thought-provoking, Zen

See it if You are interested in being in the moment, want to be immersed in John Cage's thought (not his music), like quirky stuff, do yoga

Don't see it if You are an impatient philistine and proud of it

Also A memorable play to share with an attentive audience.... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You are curious about John Cage, the Father of Indeterminism.

Don't see it if Avante- garde subject matter is not your thing.

Also I still can't determine if I really liked this or fully understood it ... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Ambitious, Confusing, Excruciating, Slow

See it if If you like avant-garde theatre. This play is solely composed of quotes & statements. Exhausting to watch.

Don't see it if If you don't like theatre of the obscure

Also Ms Lauren's acting is flawless.🎭🎭🎭🎭🎭 Some one to look out for. And yes... 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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