Ends Apr 23

Cry Havoc!

Members say: Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, Intense
11 reviews
82 reviews

Bedlam presents Stephan Wolfert's solo show in which he weaves personal stories of his military service with some of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches.

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After six years in the Army, Stephan Wolfert hopped off a train deep in the mountains of Montana and found himself at a performance of 'Richard III' that changed his life forever. In this two-act, one-man show, Wolfert examines his own experience pre- and post-service. The military recruits citizens and trains them to kill, but what does the "de-cruit" process look like? How do we re-learn to live together?

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Cast & Creatives (5)

Reviews (93)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score


"'Cry Havoc!' is a piece with theatrical roots, and Shakespeare aficionados will certainly appreciate the angle of interpretation that Wolfert presents. But he and his director, Eric Tucker, have created a play whose purpose distinctly veers from the artistic and toward the edifying...While this is a valid use of theater, patrons should know going in that they're more likely to receive a masterful TED Talk about the psychological ramifications of war than a crafted work of art." Full Review

The New York Times

"A full-bore autobiographical solo with a meddling co-writer named Shakespeare...Wolfert is a puckish performer with a lithe build...Throughout, he peppers this material with lines from Shakespeare, a lot of them. And that’s a problem...Mostly the iambs gum up his own story...After Wolfert concludes his monologue...stagehands create a ring of chairs and the audience circles up for a combination of talk-back and group therapy...This coda is affecting, also protracted and self-congratulatory." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“It begins with the actor Stephan Wolfert presenting his improbable and thoroughly gripping life story…But in the switchover between acts, he surrenders the power of his narrative to create a kind of ad hoc group therapy session, which undercuts the power of his own best work…Anyway, the first act, under Tucker's direction, is consistently gripping, although there are a few passages in which Wolfert could dial down the energy level; at times his intensity threatens to become exhausting.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“'Cry Havoc!' cries out to be seen because of the wrenching immediacy brought to its issues via the remarkable performance of Wolfert, a 50-year-old Iraq combat vet...Standing in a totally unadorned black space,...his sleek, dancer's body dressed only in a black T-shirt and dark gray slacks, Wolfert...is the embodiment of ‘the complete actor’...After you leave 'Cry Havoc!,' you'll never look at a homeless man with an ‘I'm a vet. Please help’ sign the same way again.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

for a previous production "One of the most compelling one-man shows you’ll see in quite some time...Peppering his story with beautifully performed soliloquies and speeches from Shakespeare’s most powerful plays, Wolfert recounts his discovery of the power of the Bard...It’s also his tremendous command and love of Shakespeare that most certainly furthers his program. One cannot help but be brought in by his infectious passion for the work.." Full Review

Boston Globe

for a previous production "Powerful theater can ensue when an artist simply, or not so simply, decides to bear witness...Stephan Wolfert commits himself body and soul to that mission in 'Cry Havoc!’, and the result is riveting...Wolfert delivers a dynamic and physically expressive performance...He emphasizes the timeless universality of the soldier’s experience...Wolfert also makes demands on the audience. In particular, he forces us to think about our responsibility to and for the vets." Full Review

Berkshire On Stage

for a previous production "It is harrowing, hilarious and uplifting. On a bare stage, different worlds come alive by Wolfert’s storytelling and sound effects that he orally mimics...Wolfert’s performance is a high-powered and tender portrayal of a man who has escaped from a dysfunctional, alcoholic family that tried to stifle his creative fires. As his story unfolds he grabs our emotions and challenges our intellect. It is a performance not to be missed." Full Review

Berkshire Eagle

for a previous production "At once intensely personal while, at the same time, it reaches out not only to veterans in need but to a broader community that, Wolfert insists, needs to understand the plight of veterans and come to their aid...Wolfert meaningfully and seamlessly weaves various soliloquies from Shakespeare into his narrative, a technique that, in less skillful hands, would be little more than pretentious gimmickry. Wolfert is a galvanic, at times frenzied, performer with a captivating personality." Full Review

Berkshire Edge

for a previous production "In the play, Wolfert often calls on the words of Shakespeare to present the next phase of his story, or to express in glorious tones the inglorious world he has occupied. He moves freely and conveniently between these two worlds...Wolfert is a dynamic performer, a compelling storyteller, and a consummate actor and mime...The play moves swiftly and even the hardest narrative is treated with patience...There is such a directness in all this that it is a marvel." Full Review

On Stage Blog

for a previous production "A captivating and powerful one-man show...While much of this play is heavy with turmoil, Wolfert does add humor to break up the emotional roller coaster he is taking the audience on. These real-life stories of war and its aftereffects are vividly told, and with seemingly boundless energy, physically acted out by Wolfert in a way that no other actor could do with the same authenticity and passion. This play is unique, honest, compelling and poignantly relevant to today’s world...A must see!" Full Review

The Arts Fuse

for a previous production "Wolfert interweaves excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays ripped from their context more or less appropriately, yet always making a powerful point. His point is war, war and the pity of war. War and what it does to its warriors...Wolfert’s 'Cry Havoc' does seem to call on us to do something, to act, to walk out of the theater with more than an empathetic catharsis under our belt...Both his message and his performance are more than worth the attention he commands." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Boring, Relevant

See it if PTSD and veterans

Don't see it if one ,an shows, shakespeare

Absorbing, Profound, Relevant

See it if you want to be absorbed in a one man show, by a talented and forceful actor, that speaks to our society.

Don't see it if you dislike reference to Shakespeare and dislike one man shows.

Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Riveting

See it if you're interested in the military, veterans' issues or American military history.

Don't see it if you don't want to participate in a second act that is part audience participation, part group therapy session.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Must see, Great writing

See it if You want to see an intense, informative, riveting great performance. You want to hear about what a person went through in the military

Don't see it if You are not interested in anything military. You don' t like a one man performance. You can't handle the truth.

Absorbing, Edgy

See it if you want to get insight into veterans' experiences intertwined with Shakespeare's classics. Insightful, powerful, unique.

Don't see it if you want light entertainment, want to ignore the realities of military service, don't like Shakespeare, and want chorus girls.

Also This is a show you'll take home with you and think about for a long, l... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intense, Relevant, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if Wolfert's heartfelt solo play about his experiences in the army interwoven with Shakespearean excerpts leaves one both dazed & unsettled

Don't see it if Shakespeare's prose not readily integrated with Wolfert's military exploits thus confusing at times Tucker's manic pacing also harms intent

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if Superb personal presentation by vet about how difficult it is for vets to return to civilian life, but how Shakespeare can help. Passionate.

Don't see it if You have a visceral objection to hearing about the impact that serving in the military has on those who serve multiple tours of duty.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you are a fan of shakespere

Don't see it if you are not a fan of shakespere

Caveat: i had to leave before the talk back, pt to er.

See it if you want to see a seamless interweaving of perfectly rhythmic Shakespeare with intensely personal and controversial material on War and PTSD

Don't see it if you dont like personal stories, dont like emotional performances including tears, you prefer not to hear the reality of the cost of war.

Also Kline in Hamlet? yup, as Henry V? best ever. Branagh MacBeth? yup,... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Perhaps the best one-man show of the season

See it if you want to see one of the best one-man shows of the season. Wolfert takes us on a captivating journey based on his own experience.

Don't see it if you do not like one-man plays.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Tour de force performance

See it if you want to see something relevant, to veterans and all of us. See it even if you generally would not choose a one-man show.

Don't see it if you limit yourself to big musicals.

Insightful, Absorbing, Topical, Constructive, Occasionally goofy

See it if you're interested in the military, Shakespeare, confession, talkbacks that fully engage, and one-man shows done with dexterity & generosity.

Don't see it if you want big production values, a linear story, and more than one person on stage.

Absorbing, Masterful, Must see, Profound, Relevant

See it if you or someone you know has ever served in the military, you enjoy one person shows, you like shows that touch on poignant current issues

Don't see it if the topics of PTSD & the military don't interest you, you don't like one person shows, you're not in favor of second act interactions

Absorbing, Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Thought-provoking

See it if A must see for a veteran and anyone else to learn the hell returning from combat wreaks on returning vets and how little society cares

Don't see it if If Stream of Consciousness is not your style is the best comparison i can make to style, like a story with no punctuation or capital letters

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You want to see a fantastic performance about an important topic.

Don't see it if If you don't want to think. It is a serious play about combat veterans and their outlook and problems.

Also After the intermission there is a chat with the audience and the perfo... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You like a monologue that mixes Shakespeare with the writer/actor personal war stories. It sounds heavy but it is actually entertaining.

Don't see it if You don't really like solo performances ( on a totally bare stage ) especially when they deal with war and its consequences ( PTSD )

Absorbing, Masterful, Profound, Relevant, Riveting

See it if you want to see one of the better solo performances to come along in quite a while. It could be further edited, though.

Don't see it if solo performances are not your thing.

Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Must see, Relevant

See it if You want a personal story combined w/history & theatre exploring the training of the military & the harsh transition back to regular life.

Don't see it if You're not interested in military stories or depictions of war. You don't like one-performer shows.

Absorbing, Edgy, Intense, Resonant, Riveting

See it if A spell-binding tale of family abuse and military psychological trauma. Play adds new depths to Shakespeare's writing.

Don't see it if You're worn down by an assault on your senses that makes you think and feel.

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Great writing, Compelling

See it if You enjoy dynamic one-person shows about a veteran's life experiences - personal storytelling interwoven with relevant Shakespearean texts.

Don't see it if You don't like shows without sets or props, with the magic coming only from the brilliance of the performer and the text.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Heart wrenching

See it if you'd enjoy a monologue that tells the true story of one man's struggle to reintegrate after military service, followed by group therapy.

Don't see it if you don't want to hear about problems that veterans experience and you don't want to sit in a circle and share for the second act.

Also This is a worthy effort to highlight an issue that not everyone wants ... Read more Read less

Intense, Masterful, Must see, Riveting, Tour-de-force

See it if you are open to a bravura, high-speed performance that is both personal and universal, connects ancient history to modern soldiering

Don't see it if you have PTSD; are sensitive to war imagery and profanity; not for the faint of heart; want lightweight entertainment

Also 'Act II" involves the audience in a 'sharing circle' not unlike a supp... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Didactic, Protean, Wide-ranging

See it if For a really personal and thoughtful exploration of Shakespeare's texts, demonstration of Wolfert's abilities as a physical actor

Don't see it if Are militantly pro- or anti- military, looking for straightforward narrative rather than a lesson with no clear answers, vaguely infomercial

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

See it if you are interested in the effects of war, as represented in Shakespeare and as experienced by combat veterans.

Don't see it if you don't like solo shows and have little interest in veterans' issues.

Also The second part of the show is an extended group discussion between th... Read more Read less

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

See it if You want to take a glimpse at a veteran's life and see how wars can affect people in various aspects of their lives.

Don't see it if You dislike one-man shows even though Stephan is great in this show. You don't want to know some cruel facts or have intense emotions.