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
Avg Score

Great acting, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you want to see the excellent acting of Will Bond & Ellen Lauren

Don't see it if you think you are going to learn about John Cage

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.

Ambitious, Dated, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if You like heady obscure intellectual theatre and are a friend of experimental theatre. Helps if you know and enjoy the work of John Cage.

Don't see it if You are looking for a plot.

Fluffy, Indulgent, Clever

See it if You enjoy old musicals regardless of performances.

Don't see it if You'd be bothered by low energy.

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
Dated, Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow, Intelligent

See it if You're interested in the words of John Cage and like avant-garde theater of his bygone era then this is for you. If not, don't go.

Don't see it if You are looking for traditional theater. You will be totally bored.

Also Luckily his music is not played.

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
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

During previews
Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if YOU LIKE CRAP!!!!

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

During previews
Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You don't mind being spoon fed an intellectual premise as opposed to discovering it woven inside an interesting narrative interestingly told

Don't see it if You're looking for a well put together performance piece that's filled with fully flushed out ideas.

During previews
Funny, Great staging, Slow, Intelligent, Dizzying

See it if Avant-garde piece using chess as metaphor for living. Great lighting, 50's vibe with humor.

Don't see it if Non-linear, quirky piece. Slow, meant to be thoughtful, often painful.

During previews
Slow, Thought-provoking, Funny

See it if You are a fan of John Cage or want to learn about him. The play caused me to do a (very) little research about him.

Don't see it if You are a fan of plays where "something happens." The most action you get here is making a pot of coffee. Which suits the man, I guess.

During previews
Clever, Absorbing, Great acting, Exquisite, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy witty intellectual plays.

Don't see it if You prefer lighthearted shows.

During previews
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great design

See it if Have an appreciation for the music and life of John Cage. It's important to see this play in its historical context. Great design elements!

Don't see it if You want a traditional narrrative story structure. The play is a thought-provoking dialogue between two actors. It's reflective of the art.

During previews
Repetitive and tedious, Indulgent, Slow, Good production values, A distracting soundscape that feels as though it has adhd

See it if you are obsessed with John Cage (this show exalts his work, using his words). Some comic moments. Cute & necessary dance breaks.

Don't see it if you have sound sensitivity, want to be entertained, or haven't had caffeine before hand.

Also I wanted to like this show, but the longer I sat there the more disapp... Read more Read less

During previews
Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy random weirdness. You don't require a direct story line, want to view common things in new ways.

Don't see it if You just want to be entertained without thinking. You don't like random streams of conversation. Want to just see a story.

Also I had a hard time scoring this one. I would have given it at 95 for my... Read more Read less

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

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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