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New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

Dead Brains

From 3 critic and 19 member reviews
Members say: Intense, Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Confusing

About the show

In Erik Champney’s dark and often comic thriller, art is dangerous and nothing is sacred. Part of the 2018 Planet Connections Festivity. More…

Henry and Philly have gotten a little caught up in the fantasy. No truth. No regret. No boundaries. Artist and muse, they are idols in their own minds. Enter Corey – vulnerable and real. Now a decision must be made about his role in their game. It’s time to change the rules. Again and again and again. 'Dead Brains' was the winner of The Kennedy Center’s National AIDS Fund/CFDA-Vogue Initiative Award for Playwriting.

Arts Independent

"'Dead Brains' leaves a mark on you from the onset: its unique name, its compelling performances; its razor-sharp direction; and surely, it’s psycho-drama...The cast of three were both a tight ensemble and group of stars. The chemistry between the actors...was chilling and remarkable...Champney wrote about an artist wanting to create a masterpiece. I guess it was Champney who actually did that. This show is absolutely a work of art." Full Review

Outer Stage

"Champney’s writing is equal parts deep literate drama, witty contemporary humor, and base raw sexuality. The brilliant story line kept the audience totally engaged with its sinister twisted plot!...The ensemble of actors including...worked together like a perfect symphony of talent and charm. 'Dead Brains' has some truly riveting moments laced with dark humor...This is a cleverly produced show that makes you question your own mortality and even your own perceptions of life." Full Review


"Gossage was phenomenal. She was totally believable. I was with her every step of the way totally convincing me she had serious mental issues. The direction by Adam Chisnall was brisk and effective and his use of sound enhanced the mood cleverly. His staging supplied as much tension as Erik Champney’s piercing dialogue. Both kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The show was exciting, scary, and twisted – in both plot and mind – to the end, which was a good thing." Full Review

Absorbing, Ambitious, Dizzying, Riveting

See it if You like theatre that takes risks and isn’t afraid to talk about the darkness in humanity.

Don't see it if You are put off by brief nudity, simulated sexual acts, homosexuality, dark humor and dark themes.

Also This is a slickly produced intelligent play that expects its audiences... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing, Sexy

See it if you like unconventional plots esp. w/ surprise ending. A mix of romance, drama, suspense & horror! A tour-de-force of the titillating trio.

Don't see it if if you are squeamish or offended by some nudity and sexy scenes on stage. But for art's sake, it is done quite tastefully & deliciously too!

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Confusing

See it if you enjoy well acted intense dramas.

Don't see it if you hate plays that don't provide explanations for everything that happens on stage.

Grisly thriller of art and violence

See it if Beautiful muse of gay/bi artist brings out his darker side. Innocent stranger gets caught up in kink and more.

Don't see it if nudity, simulated sex, sadism, violence. Gripping theater. I would have thought it was unusual, but I saw "Trainspotting Live" last week.

Also In an interview, the author said his inspiration was the couple in Sam... Read more Read less


See it if You want to see dark gritty messed up drama

Don't see it if You are bothered by scenes of violence and sexuality between two men

Also I was terrified going into see this play. Not because I was scared or ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intense, Shocking

See it if you are interested in a Machiavellian play mixing sensuality, twisted romance and violence.

Don't see it if you don’t like horror. If you don’t like brief nudity/torture/dark themes.

Also This is a provocative work exploring the mental and physical torture t... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing

See it if you like shows on dark, edgier topics

Don't see it if a gay story line bothers you

Also My reaction was mixed on this play. It kept my attention but I think t... Read more Read less

Dark, Intense, Indulgent

See it if you like art that explores a sadistic view of art.

Don't see it if you feel uncomfortable with manipulative characters and dark undertones, you do not want to take the time to get into the storyline.

Great acting, Quirky, Raunchy

See it if Quirky off-the-wall sometimes, the cast carries off a somewhat muddled play.

Don't see it if You're looking for insights.

Intelligent, Disappointing, Engrossing, Hitchcockian, Sociopaths playing sick games

See it if You want to see a well-made provocative, gay/bi themed thriller.

Don't see it if You do not like disturbing pieces. If you are looking for light entertainment or something sensual.

Also I did not like this piece a great deal, but I respect that it was well... Read more Read less

Dark, Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Quirky

See it if You want to see a play that is edgy and dark with some pretty good actors.

Don't see it if You don't have an open mind and you are put off by brief nudity and simulated sex acts.

Disturbing, Bloody, Polished, Amoral, Creeoy

See it if you think you might learn something from (or even enjoy?) the graphic enactment of aestheticized mental & physical torture.

Don't see it if you think that the graphic enactment of mental & physical torture might make you queasy.

Also All 3 actors in the current production of “Dead Brains” give strong pe... Read more Read less

Scary, Quirky, Indulgent, Cliched

See it if you'd like to see a mashup of American Psycho meets Cruel Intentions. You like scary-style "life is art".

Don't see it if you don't like over-the-top femme-fatales (from both a woman and a man). Show includes gun violence and torture.

Ambitious, Edgy, Confusing

See it if you like dark theatre base on mind games, that segue to darker actions. Matt Maretz is the standout.

Don't see it if the issue is that the Playwright created 1 dimensional malicious characters. It left me empty & I didn't care about these antiheroes.

Also I want to root for a protagonist whether or not they are successful. T... Read more Read less

Edgy, Intense, Indulgent, Confusing, Contrived

See it if you want to see a show that deals with a cast of damaged characters that are involved in escalating games of deceit and manipulation.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of shows that deal with the macabre, or of shows with on stage displays of blood and violence.

Violent, Bloody, Arch, Sadistic, Questionable thesis

See it if U R fan of violence, sadism, brutality, guns, knives, games playing, art made from found objects, faulty reasoning, male nudity, cheese

Don't see it if don't want gun pointed at U much of play, expect a rationale, wonder why these characters aren't apprehended yet

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting

See it if you like honest drama

Don't see it if if don't have any interest in LGBT issues

Absorbing, Intense, Raunchy, Romantic, Sexy

See it if You like a dirty seductive drama with a plot twist.

Don't see it if You are squeamish, or uncomfortable with sex scenes.

Also Really enjoyed the master manipulation of the main male character and ... Read more Read less

Edgy, Thought-provoking, Must see, Profound, Great writing

See it if you enjoy the kinds of stories that gradually unravel to reveal you actually have no idea what's really going on until the end.

Don't see it if you like feeling comfortable and safe in the theater. This play will rattle your cage and its dangers are what make it so much fun.

Also The mind games being played on the characters can only be matched by t... Read more Read less

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Cast & Creatives (6)