The Mint Theater Company presents Lillian Hellman’s second play, a family drama set against the backdrop of labor strife in a small Ohio town which threatens to tear apart both town and family. More…
Andrew Rodman is running the family business and failing at it. The workers are out on strike and things are getting desperate. Rodman brings in strikebreakers, naively failing to anticipate the disastrous impact that this will have on his family and their place in the community where they have lived for generations.
"When' Days to Come' debuted, Hellman was criticized for not taking sides in her many-sided set-up. But the playwright landing neither here nor there is an enormous plus: she takes all sides with sympathy. 'Days to Come' is not perfect...Fortunately, J.R. Sullivan directs with exquisite precision. There seems to be nothing he hasn’t guided the cast to do...This revival is so accomplished that I hope Bank does what he often does — revives a few more of the playwright’s works." Full Review
“’Days to Come’ is not without flaw...Hellman wasn’t yet able to smoothly entwine the disparate strands of her plot, and on occasion she indulges in the preachiness that forever after was to be her besetting sin. Nevertheless, it is as dramatically potent as any of her hits, and the Mint’s production, directed with self-effacing sureness by J.R. Sullivan, is so strong as to paper over the author’s occasional missteps. The cast couldn’t be better.” Full Review
"I usually think of Hellman's work as tightly plotted and smoothly structured; 'Days to Come' is neither...While the plot focuses on how a strike at a brush-making firm affects the small town where it occurs, the show also has a lot to say about relationships, money, family secrets, how to live a worthwhile life...The result is somehow both too flabby and too thin, but still compelling. Hellman's point of view is not simple, and it is that complexity that makes the play worthwhile." Full Review
"A high quality Off-Broadway revival...The play contains strong social themes that were powerful to the time period in which it was written, and relevant to our present day political climate...This production, directed by J. R. Sullivan, keeps the audience actively engaged, while successfully portraying Ms. Hellman’s compelling theme...The cast fully embodies the style and pace of the time period...They play off one another very well, allowing Lillian Hellman’s dialogue to flow naturally." Full Review
"The well-acted production...smoothly directed by J.R. Sullivan...proves a fascinating family drama set in a time of economic hardship and labor unrest. This 'Days To Come'...makes a compelling case for the play’s continued relevance...Hellman doesn’t ridicule her characters for their concern with the everyday over sweeping historical trends...The great success of this crisp production is the sympathy it engenders for its somewhat hapless characters." Full Review
"Freely flowing across categories and genres, watching this finely-acted production under the direction of J.R. Sullivan, it is not hard to see why audiences may have been confused by 'Days to Come' in 1936. The play, which vacillates between melodramatic, realistic, and hard-boiled qualities, ambitiously—and quite successfully—captures both the local and global scene of its conflict...Exciting and refreshing, a play easily cast as a period piece is most surprising for how it is not.” Full Review
“In this earnest production, director Sullivan and his large cast breathe new life into a depression era tale of unrequited love amid theories of economics. Boasting top notch production values and veteran actors, it is highly watchable, if not highly relatable...Getting an 82-year-old play to resonate is a tough trick and, here, the melodramatic turns and existential crises of the night ultimately keep us at a distance.” Full Review
"Very fine production...Most of the women are peripheral to the story...But there is much focus, though not a sufficient amount of depth, devoted to Andrew's wife, Julie...Alternating between family drama and Depression-era labor issues, 'Days to Come' serves neither satisfactorily, but it's still a worthy venture for the Mint, and an intriguing curiosity for audiences." Full Review
"With eleven characters competing for our attention, there is little opportunity for any of them to strike more than one note. There is more speechifying than conversation...The level of the acting is not up to the Mint’s usual standard...J.R. Sullivan’s direction does not pull things together. It was far from a successful evening, but it was interesting to see the state of Hellman’s craft just before she wrote her great family drama 'The Little Foxes.'" Full Review
“Sullivan has directed a superb ensemble of actors who do all they can for Hellman’s play. But the uneven quality of the script gives some cast members an appreciable advantage over others...Too many subplots and insufficient narrative focus...But the Mint revival demonstrates that, even in this minor work, Hellman exercised a gift for compelling dialogue and a prophetic vision of how uncivilized Western civilization can be.” Full Review
"The Mint production of Lillian Hellman's 'Days to Come' is a smart, relevant play burdened with plotlines that are its undoing...Directed by J. R. Sullivan and played by an able cast of eleven, 'Days to Come' tells a riveting story in a stop-and-go way, much of the 'go' in Act Two...The characters all seem to stand for something but are scantily sketched, just providing impressions...'Days to Come' is best viewed as a period piece." Full Review
"If it runs aground, it is, nevertheless, a fascinating work...Just when events come to a head, the playwright goes off on an unaccustomed talking jag, convening several characters for an extended postmortem that drains much of the evening's excitement...Until this point, J. R. Sullivan's production maintains a steadily mounting tension, aided by a solid, and sometimes inspired, cast...Even though it disappoints, for anyone with a serious interest in Hellman, 'Days to Come' is a must." Full Review
"What is most impressive is the extensive research that Hellman devoted to this play...The first act goes quickly, serving as a great setup for an exploration of class differences...The resulting action in the second act is more farfetched; Hellman seems to veer away from all that research. Though the drama and scandal ramps up, act two is longer and more of a slog to sit through...Still, 'Days to Come' is worth seeing, especially since it's unlikely that this play will come around again." Full Review
"The Mint’s production, directed by J.R. Sullivan, presents a sharp and smart little play—originally under-esteemed but, unfortunately, no long-dormant masterwork...The cast is uneven. On the plus side, Brookshire’s Julie has a kind of glamor that brings to mind Gene Tierney...It’s hard to care deeply about any of the Rodman lot except for chic adulteress Julie." Full Review
"The plot points and traffic feel strongly crafted and intricately created, although the focus shifts numerous times and in many directions, with a great number of characters that add little to the movement forward...The production fails to find the rise and fall within each scene, losing the rhythm that was fairly well constructed within the writing...The actors all do their best, delivering well spoken lines in an intricate war, but the passion and purpose evades the director." Full Review
"Well-staged and smartly acted, it still leaves us underwhelmed by a script that bites off more than it can chew...Hellman thrillingly eschews simplistic agitprop, fully humanizing her characters...But it's Hellman's expansive scope that is also the play's undoing: Not only does it dilute focus, but the linguistic labor and dramatic contrivance...ensures a long and often painfully dull process...Neither as funny or tragic as it has the potential to be." Full Review
"The Mint Theater revival, with the company’s usual fine acting and first-rate production values, doesn’t make a convincing case that the initial audience was shortsighted, nor that the play was somehow before its time...Some have argued that Hellman’s divided focus in 'Days to Come' is meant to show us the connection between private morality and public policy. This sounds right to me. Indeed, for all its structural flaws, the play is replete with issues that still resonate." Full Review
"Beneath the surface of this unremarkable plot is the more dynamic storyline driven by Hellman’s complex characters and their authentic, relevant conflicts...The important themes of Lillian Hellman’s play and the rich, enduring questions it raises are unfortunately overshadowed by the production. Overall, the performances are weak, and the direction seems uneven...That battle of the Titans gets lost in the Mint Theater production of her play and falls flat." Full Review
"In part due to Hellman's inexperience as a writer (it was only her second play) and J.R. Sullivan's initially sluggish direction, the production really doesn't come fully alive until after intermission, largely because the first act is so heavy on exposition as it introduces both its vast cast of characters and numerous plot strands. But the second act makes up for it, with plenty of crackling dialogue and surprising twists to keep the audience fully engaged." Full Review
"The Mint Theater’s revival of 'Days to Come' is to be appreciated more as a curiosity in view of Hellman’s fame and accomplishments than a successful work...The flaws as well as the strengths show in the faithful, generally well-acted Mint production...There are too many dramatic contrivances for this to be a play anywhere nearly as good as top-level Hellman. Still, her effort to shine a spotlight on problems of her era and people caught in the conflicts was worthy." Full Review
"Hellman writes the plot and scenes very concisely, with intriguing plot twists...But in the play, Hellman tried to do too much. The drama introduces the many, many issues, but there is just too much there for her to successfully examine, and for the audience to absorb...The drama simply has no real center or heart, and, ultimately, is not particularly satisfying or captivating...The cast is flawless, admirably performing their scripted roles." Full Review
"This is neither Hellman's or the Mint's best ever production. It's nevertheless intriguing to see some of her best future characters in embryo...The play failed because she tried to do too much. And that hasn't changed in this revival. Director J. R. Sullivan works hard, but not often enough successfully so, to weave all these plot strands together and help the actors clarify what makes them tick." Full Review
"In summary, Hellman's overheated drama sounds like a Clifford Odets play but where his plays are tightly constructed, this one is all over the place with each character offering a new plot line. It is not so much that the play is unfocused but that there are too many stories, the error of novice playwrights who think they have to get everything in the first time around. While Hellman…spent eight months on the writing, the play still seems to have a great deal of undigested material." Full Review
"The play is filled with social and political significance that might have had more impact and make more of a statement in the current climate. However, it spends too much time on the intricacies of the family and too little time on the plight of the working class...Sullivan does a brilliant job directing, but even he can’t undo the long-winded repetitive conversations, and many times slow moving rhetoric...of a very poorly written play with some good and not so good performances." Full Review
"Mingles multiple subjects in a somber and garrulous plot that, because of a lack of compression and synthesis, has more themes that it can comfortably contain…For all its Depression-era relevance,…it became mired in a melodramatic mélange of adultery, family strife, labor problems, murder, hoodlum rivalry, and legal chicanery...Splattered with awkward blocking and dull, conventional acting, not a single performance digging deeply enough to strike more than a one-dimensional note." Full Review
See it if You like plays with positives and negatives of both sides in a small industrial town in the 1930s when a factory was yet to be unionized.
Don't see it if You want a play with a definite preference for one side or the other. Herman shows us good and bad of both factory owners and workers.
See it if you like compelling family drama with great acting and a beautiful set for a small off-off broadway theater.
Don't see it if you are not a fan of period piece plays. If you want a crystal clear line between good and evil as the play doesn’t take sides.
See it if You like a chance to see a period piece by a famous Woman playwright when few women were, and want some great edifying drama.
Don't see it if Are not interested in ideas and great character work in a moving play, but prefer a fluffy musical.
See it if You want to see a play about a family in Ohio and what happens when there is a labor strike in the company they own and how all are affected
Don't see it if You are not interested in a play about this family and strike breaking.
See it if It was an interesting story about strike breaking that we should all be aware of. Well acted, thoughtful about a problem with two sides.
Don't see it if If you just want to laugh and not be involved with labor problems.
See it if you like a well balanced representation of the conflict between Labor and Management. Excellent writing and acting.
Don't see it if you expect a play favoring the Labor movement. This play is sympathetic to both side's views and the characters are realistically played.
See it if you're pro-union, you recognize Lillian Hellman is America's answer to Ibsen, and you like period details on your social criticism.
Don't see it if you're a member of the 2% who recoils at the thought of having all the pretend stripped away so you're forced to see your greedy self naked.
See it if you are interested in the work of brilliant Lillian Hellman. Amazing the research and thought she put into writing this amazing play.
Don't see it if You like to call anything not of the present moment as outdated & can't admire groundbreaking work of the past.
See it if You like dramas that deal with family dynamics. Also if you enjoy plays that deal with workers and the institutions that employ them.
Don't see it if Complicated stories do not interest you.
See it if You enjoy the setup based on a different era. It's always interesting to watch how people acted and reached in a different time and space.
Don't see it if You do not enjoy a two hours show or simply prefer musicals or comedies.
See it if a seldom-performed Hellman play exposing a budding playwright finding her footing in American Drama appeals to you; a fan of Hellman's work.
Don't see it if seeking new, edgy works that are tightly-written & focused; disinterested in themes of union strikes, scabs, affairs, and spoiled Americans.
See it if You like thoughtful period pieces. This one's about labor in the '30s, strike-breaking and naiveté. Family drama, maliciously amusing.
Don't see it if serious topics don't appeal to you. You dislike period pieces, have no interest in Hellman.
See it if Even handed treatment of townspeople: factory owners, workers, service people, and union organizer. Strike breakers not so much.
Don't see it if You don’t like depression era issues of wealth/poverty, labor/strike, economic, friendship & personal problems with ambiguous resolution.
See it if You like Lillian Hellman and want to see a really fine staging of a seldom-produced play that came between Children's Hour and Little Foxes.
Don't see it if You're not a fan of talky plays written early in the last century.
See it if You’re a fan of Lillian Hellman’s work and you want to see a thoughtful drama on labor vs. union.
Don't see it if You don’t like dramas that make you think about what has gone on and what is going in the the world RIGHT NOW.
See it if you want to see the 1st play by L. Hellman that shows a piece of Americana with union strikes, & strike breakers affecting family loyalties
Don't see it if you are not interested in period pieces of depression plays that show how a union strike causes destruction to a family & town.
See it if you'd enjoy a management VS workers strike & union-themed play. Well-written & performed. Doesn't really take a side, one way or the other.
Don't see it if you want a lite comedy, expect a decisive point of view from the author, & want to be spoon-fed the right or wrong side of the situation.
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