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Duat

Members say: Ambitious, Great singing, Confusing, Quirky, Thought-provoking
73
Critics
73
12 reviews
Members
72
31 reviews
 

Soho Rep presents Daniel Alexander Jones' new play with music, which marks the return of his stage alter ego: the vivacious Jomama Jones.

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Comprised of three parts and developed in collaboration with director Will Davis, 'Duat' marries Jones’ long-form solo autobiographical improvisations with his musical work as Jomama Jones. Both an alter ego and an archetype, Jomama is a musical sensation that Jones channels and fully embodies. In this triptych, two halves of a soul hunt through a hall of records; a librarian breaks the seal of a mysterious archive; and a teacher and her class prepare the pageant to end all pageants. 'Duat' conjures a spell of disintegration, transformation, and regeneration through a performance that's a little bit vaudeville, a little bit rock and soul.

 

Cast & Creatives (16)


Reviews (43)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
73
Avg Score

75
The New York Times

"Jones’s hearts-and-flowers-themed exploration of life and what lies beyond. This buoyantly didactic show takes gentle pains to remind us that our next breath could well be our last...This sui generis performance piece has been given a sumptuously homemade production under the direction of Will Davis...The sequence is defiantly unlike either of the other two parts in 'Duat,' yet it is also thoroughly of a piece with them...For Mr. Jones, there’s comfort in eclecticism." Full Review

75
Theatermania

"'Duat' is a show unlike any other playing in New York...'Duat' brims with ideas, not all of them fully developed. Under the laissez-faire direction of Davis, the piece jumps between Jones' personal narrative to sections about Egyptology and pop divas...A lack of narrative clarity regularly leaves us feeling lost in Jones' expansive spiritual and intellectual kingdom...Still, the enchantment of discovering a world so big and unexplained is a feeling one rarely encounters outside of childhood." Full Review

90
Time Out New York

"A luxury of theatrical overabundance. Writer-performer Daniel Alexander Jones and his ’80s soul superstar alter ego Jomama Jones are serving up a kind of gourmet tasting menu—a flight of Joneses, or Jones three ways. Each section in the evening's triptych is in a genre by itself...After many pleasures, we finally move into the piece's most musical sequence and we are stunned by the talents before us...Jones is fully capable of measuring our hearts, but he doesn't. He lightens them instead." Full Review

45
New Yorker

"'Duat' is a complicated piece whose ideas are too big to work onstage. One gets the sense that Jones and his director didn’t want to leave anything out of this overstuffed production...Jones has a scholar’s love of black art, but everything gets further confused in the second part of the show...In 'Duat,' Jones is dramaturgically at war with his most inspired creation, one that benefits from the freedom of his imagination, not from the limitations of his 'truth.'" Full Review

65
Lighting & Sound America

"Having worked hard, and effectively, to establish a certain mood in Act I, Jones executes a sharp left turn, dragging the show into someplace altogether different...Where did the poetry go? If the director, Will Davis, can't reconcile the show's opposing halves, he has cast the production well and maintains a warm, affable feeling throughout...There are many, many fine things in 'Duat' but, as it stands, they are in need of sorting out." Full Review

85
Times Square Chronicles

"Up and very coming director Will Davis and Jones are a good match. Together they create a reality/fantasy that surpasses one lifetime...There is not one member in this cast that isn’t extremely talented and all are to be applauded, especially the very young and talented Colimon and Gund-Morrow. But make no mistake: this is Daniel/Jomama Jones' show. There is not a moment on stage that isn’t well thought out and breathtakingly simple. The writing is clear-cut and captivating." Full Review

90
Theatre is Easy

"'Duat' is a most sincere and ardent confession, delivered with a kaleidoscope of a theatrical magnum opus. Daniel/Jomama Jones does not spend a single moment on stage without being thoroughly captivating. The writing is simply breathtaking...'Duat' certainly promises an experience to be remembered, and moreover, to be pondered upon, as the audience exits with seeds of hope planted in their hearts." Full Review

40
Theater Pizzazz

"Its high concept is American avant-garde art...The goal of these themes to connect, however, was a fail, resulting in the opposite: a play that couldn’t make up its mind about what it wanted to be, with no apparent arc, no journey, and nothing new to say...To his credit, the cast of talented performers gave Jones and director Will Davis, who helped develop the piece, 100 percent...'Duat' ends up feeling like a self-indulgent piece that needs to go back to the drawing board." Full Review

95
TheaterScene.net

"Directed by Will Davis, 'Duat' is a powerful example of the dynamism of collaboration and personal inspiration. Distinctly unique and featuring a young and effervescent ensemble of actors, in 'Duat' Daniel Alexander Jones has created a wonderful homage to his alter-ego and life in the form of a memorable and rousing piece of theater." Full Review

80
Diandra Reviews it All

"The rare theatre production that divides audiences in its label of either insanity or genius, which is what theatre is supposed to do: break boundaries...A layered theatre experience with nuances and symbols that will come off beautiful and intelligent to some viewers, while to others it will be a moot point...'Duat' is a theatre production for the intellectual who likes to uncover the hidden meanings that make the story surpass its telling to become a discussion of morality. " Full Review

90
Exeunt Magazine

"There’s something beautifully unapologetic about where 'Duat' goes, conceptually and staging-wise. Its horizons keep broadening, into the cosmic, the metaphysical, and you go with it...This is a show that sprawls all over the place, but does so in a way that embraces the poetry and possibility of failure...'Duat' is fierce, funny and mournful; a sung, sometimes whispered, ode to race, queerness and difference. It profoundly touched me." Full Review

55
Theatre's Leiter Side

"Attractively designed by Arnulfo Maldonado (sets), Oana Botez (costumes), and lights (Solomon Weisbard), and uniformly well performed, ‘Duat’ is the kind of thing Soho Rep has been doing for years. Aficionados of this strain of downtown theatre may flock to it, but, while appreciating bits and pieces, and even laughing now and then, this viewer often longed for a Rosetta Stone to decipher that Jones boy's artistic hieroglyphics." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
72
Avg Score

75
Funny, Ambitious, Delightful, Refreshing

See it if you are a fan of Daniel "Jomama" Jones and are interested in a bit of his back story.

Don't see it if you are looking for a traditional play with a through plot.

67
Great acting, Quirky, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if You are an adventurous theater-goer

Don't see it if You have trouble following abstract concepts..

77
Ambitious, Edgy, Intelligent, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if You like clever and unusual writing

Don't see it if If you like " traditional " theater

60
Indulgent

See it if You have a thing for sentimental growing up homosexual (rather than queer or gay) stories and some fine young performers.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of honeyed music, mannered presentation, a sincere and earnest aesthetic.

92
Dizzying, Epic, Great writing, Great singing, Sprawling

See it if You are interested in a highly original and moving presentation of a mixed-race and homosexual childhood.

Don't see it if You are looking for a linear plot or are uncomfortable with depictions of homosexuality or racial tensions.

Also The story veers from personal revelations through pronouncements by Eg... Read more Read less

79
Thought-provoking, Indulgent, Confusing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like both the introspective storytelling staring a queer person of color of the first act and the spectacle of the last

Don't see it if you want the storyline to even resemble something linear

63
Ambitious, Banal, Disappointing, Great singing

See it if you enjoy autobiographical shows, want to see some talented young performers singing.

Don't see it if you want to see a coherent show, lived through the 60s, 70s and 80s yourself, dislike navel grazing.

Also The 2 acts are only loosely joined together. Act one is basically a le... Read more Read less

79
Ambitious, Quirky, Resonant, Great writing, Great singing

See it if you are open to theatrical surprises. The first act is completely unlike the second. Both acts have beautiful singing and poetic writing.

Don't see it if continuity is important to your theatrical experience. There are three deeply varied and only normally connected sections.

70
Ambitious, Uneven, Overlong, Charmng

See it if The first section is thought-provoking if long with some great talent, the second difficult to understand the vocals, and the final piece...

Don't see it if ...is not nearly as good. Becomes campy and predictable and possibly decent songs are lost in the less successful and tiresome acting.

77
Ambitious, Clever, Edgy

See it if your looking for the downtown theatre experience. Theatre that is cleverly written, creative but challenges the traditional narrative.

Don't see it if If your not comfortable with the gay-themed stories, musically heavy or a text-heavy production.

79
Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like original productions with a cast that works hard to deliver entertainment with meaning.

Don't see it if you purely want to be entertained as this material is well thought out.

95
Clever, Intelligent, Great writing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if U like experiments in form, beautifully crafted language, great music, and overall ingenious theatricality

Don't see it if U dont like the above likes or having transcendental moments in the theatre! Just do urself a favor and see this!!

96
Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Great singing

See it if You want to be completely immersed in a play you know absolutely nothing about. If you like long discussions on "what just happened??"

Don't see it if You prefer straight forward storylines and if you don't like themes around racism and homosexuality.

78
Ambitious, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Confusing

See it if you like hearing from queer, non-white voices, if you enjoy compelling performances, or if you like being a little out of your comfort zone.

Don't see it if you want your story to be completely resolved or if you don't like the breaking of the fourth wall or interaction with performers.

25
Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You want to be utterly confused

Don't see it if You want to be entertained and enjoy theater

91
Edgy, Masterful, Great singing

See it if you are interested in issues of identity. You enjoy non-linear, thought-provoking theater.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable exploring various forms of identity including race, gender, and sexuality.

86
Enchanting, Exquisite, Resonant

See it if You want to enjoy a night at the theater

Don't see it if you're an over-analyzer

93
During previews
Ambitious, Exquisite, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great cast

See it if you're game for an adventurous, deeply moving & deeply felt portrait of queer becoming; if you want to catch superstar-to-be Jacques Colimon

Don't see it if you need plot; if you have no interest in layered stories shared in elliptical & contemplative ways; if you don't know from 70s/80s kidstv

70
During previews
Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if you are interested in new queer work.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy new work that often times takes dramaturgical turns that confuse and muddle the trajectory of the piece.

70
During previews
Edgy, Intelligent, Intense, Great singing, The-history-of-the-black-world-part-one

See it if You don't mind seeing a stripped-down (almost bare) First Act with a few extra-long monologues.

Don't see it if You're uncomfortable with Gay-Male Themes, or A History of Black Men: Starting with Egyptians, and ending with a Man & an Older Boy Kissing.

80
During previews
Absorbing, Epic, Thought-provoking

See it if Jones is a charismatic and eloquent guide through a funhouse autobiographical cabaret. Messy, mysterious, frustrating and charming

Don't see it if There isn't much by way of drama, so maybe skip if that's important to your enjoyment.

Also early in previews, this production was still working out some pretty f... Read more Read less

75
During previews
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Confusing

See it if you want to engage in a conversation with your theatre-going companions about this play. Very interesting elements.

Don't see it if you need a linear structure in your plays. Also, if you don't want to think.

Also There are many elements in the play that millennial will not get. Also... Read more Read less

79
During previews
Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Inconsistent, Slow

See it if You're up for a well acted though uneven meditation on self and sexual identity, time and transformation, with a great musical score.

Don't see it if You don't have patience for 3 acts; need a linear & structured plot; have no interest in gender issues or don't appreciate drag.

65
During previews
Ambitious, Quirky, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if Autobiographical coming of age of young, gay black man in mid '80's/early 90's. Good performances marred by high concept.

Don't see it if Have difficulty with non-linear, conceptual/philosophical story; feels like a lengthy workshop rather than fully realized work

60
During previews
Quirky, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You want to see good acting in a mediocre and confusing Play!

Don't see it if Can get tickets to a more entertaining and absorbing Show!