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Dying in Boulder

From 7 critic and 19 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Slow, Funny, Quirky, Ambitious

About the show

A comic but moving exploration of American cultural confusion around aging and dying - and our inability to control either. More…

In a quest for a "good death," a dying Caucasian-American Buddhist in Boulder, Colorado enlists her reluctant mixed-Filipino family in micromanaging her impending funeral rites.


"Its articulate characters confront life’s challenges including death, birth, and disappointment with stalwart resolve, humor and mysticism. At times it seems overly leisurely but falls into place as it reaches its lovely conclusion...Director Ian Morgan injects as much focus and visual variety as possible with his energetic staging, melding the fine performances with picturesque qualities." Full Review

Melinda's Malarky

"A thoughtful play that looks back on the life a dying woman and her orchestration of her Buddhist burial. The play orbits around dying, the 'big D,' and how people confront or deny the inevitability of human mortality...Faigao-Hall manages to view the yin & yang of life & death and its acceptance & denial in varying cultural norms. The play uses levity to raise the solemn topic of a dignified death...A sensitive and thoughtful play unafraid to face the fear of facing death." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"At fade-out it’s both Bayani and, more significantly, Lydia spotlighted. But if she’s the one with whose dramatic arc we’re meant to be interested, she’s not intriguing enough...Perhaps a play is valid taking the attitude that all religions are worth little, and that therefore none is better nor worse than the other: take your lame choice. But 'Dying in Boulder' only modestly fills the bill." Full Review

Theater Reviews from my Seat

"'Dying in Boulder' begins as a dark comedy which explores our reactions to end of life care...For every light-hearted joke, there are also deeper musings which emerge...The first act swings unevenly between humor and wisdom...The second act veers uncomfortably from light and slightly edgy comedy to a much darker place...The uneasy mix of sitcom laughs and stinging family dysfunction ultimately hinders the play’s focus." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A plot problem, a character problem, and, most of all, a credibility problem. The playwright, Linda Faigao-Hall, has taken on a challenging dramatic situation -- a deathwatch -- but, despite some intriguing touches here and there, doesn't make compelling drama of it. For all its exotic trappings it is, at heart, an ordinary dysfunctional family donnybrook in which the usual bill of complaints is aired...Morgan's direction does its best to smooth over the script's less-credible aspects." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"A fairly standard work about death and aging...The play is as much about sisters as it is death, but neither Jane nor Lydia is a compelling character. Lydia is too shrill and disbelieving, while Jane is overly woo-woo...Morgan is unable to grab hold of any significant conflict to drive the story until it’s too late; it would have benefited by being trimmed from two acts and two hours to about eighty minutes without intermission." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Although the playwright seems to be setting up 'Dying in Boulder' as a comedy, the second act gets deadly serious. And not in a good way...To pursue what proves to be a threadbare story about sisterly ill will resolved in a deathbed, the playwright blows an opportunity to deliver a satirical study in how some people and even some places can casually annex a variety of different cultural traditions to suit their fancies. A schizophrenic effort that ultimately satisfies neither as comedy nor d... Full Review

Absorbing, Must see, Resonant, Intense, Great writing

See it if you like riveting stories of culture clash, family drama, & the oft-comical awkwardness of mortality. Intense, poignant, real.

Don't see it if you really have serious issues with mortality and just don't want to deal. Nor if you are looking for fluff.

Also Mobility impairment note: There is an elevator. Seats are folding chai... Read more Read less

Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a funny but moving production about living and dying. You want to see how a family deals with beliefs and an impending death

Don't see it if You don't want to be entertained. The thought of and talking about death disturbs you. You don't like small theaters.

Affecting, Slow, Well played, Insightful, Human

See it if you have any interest in the ways of dying in the contemporary US, & what those customs do to families compelled to participate.

Don't see it if witnessing a deathwatch for a close relative might bring you more pain than insight.

Also “DYING IN BOULDER” (as the name indicates) is a deathwatch. An artist ... Read more Read less

Funny, Intelligent, Quirky, Resonant

See it if you are interested in the topic of end of life care. And you like quirky characters. Despite the morbid topic, it is surprisingly funny.

Don't see it if you are triggered by talk of death, drug use and/or religion.

Great acting, Quirky, Slow

See it if You are looking for a unique take on a play about death.

Don't see it if You are looking for something fast paced.

Quirky, Intelligent, Funny, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You are interested in a family drama about death. It's moving and amusing and uncomfortable all at once.

Don't see it if You don't want a play about death from cancer, or aren't interested in family dramas. This is sweet & strange, but not a big spectacle.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Slow, Relevant, Great staging

See it if You’d like to see a play about family drama over a dying family member & her wishes, culture clashes, religious & generational differences

Don't see it if You are offended by jokes on religious belief,Alcohol &drug consumption talk might bother you,discrimination discussion will make you bitter

Also The first act was very slow but over all it is a good play and the top... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Relevant, Quirky, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in what people do with the last weeks of their lives, or shows about family dysfunction.

Don't see it if You don't want to see a show about death. But that's probably obvious from the title.

Quirky, Ambitious, Intense

See it if You're interested in where Eastern ideology meets Western prudishness. You're interested in stories about families grappling with death.

Don't see it if Plotlines about child neglect trigger you. You were hoping for a more experimental evening. This is a very traditional play.

Occasionally inexplicable, Nice use of space, Character driven, Funny, Thought-provoking

See it if quirky characters facing end of life relationship issues are your kind of drama. Flashbacks illuminate the development of these issues.

Don't see it if family drama leaves you cold or if inconsistencies annoy you.

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You’re interested in the subject of dying and family relationships and the life choices we must make

Don't see it if needs to be edited too long slow and meandering. It’s a pity because there is some good content but it gets disapaited by too broad scope

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You’re into traditional production; east and west cultures clash; coping with death

Don't see it if You’re uncomfortable with dying from cancer theme; uneven acting

Long, Indulgent, Slow

See it if you want to see an overlong story about death with caricatured people. The humor felt awkward.

Don't see it if you don't need another predictable family death story. Nothing you haven't seen or heard.

Also Is this supposed to be a sarcastic dramedy or a drama with some funny ... Read more Read less

Funny, Slow, Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a somewhat comical view of dying from the perspective of two different culures, and involving a disfunctional family

Don't see it if you don't bring a padded seat cushion. The seating at La Mama Downstairs is horrific. Good actors but first act is really slow

Great acting, Cliched, Ambitious

See it if Well done production with uneven (but sometimes rewarding script)

Don't see it if Not into cancer death story

Intense, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy a drama that follows a dysfunctional family's attempt to deal with death through cultural appropriation of Buddhism.

Don't see it if You are easily triggered by privileged white people claiming religious and cultural practices that has nothing to do with them.

Also A parable on how cultural appropriation of Buddhist religious practice... Read more Read less

Slow, Intense, Good acting, Depressing, Cliched

See it if Pro acting, daughter was a standout. Very overwrought and somewhat cliched on the hippie front as the characters would have had to be older.

Don't see it if You are not into death and dying and family dynamics for 2 hours. Spoiler alert: you get the full enchilada complete with death rattle.

During previews
Asian rock garden on set, Authentic writing and acting, Dysfunctional family in action

See it if Death-bed planning allows cross-cultural and multigenerational dysfunctional family to begin healing their wounds.

Don't see it if Wildly mashed up religious threads: Buddhist, Catholic, hippie, drug/alcohol recovery, spirit of the universe, etc...

During previews
Great staging, Thought-provoking, Funny, Slow at times, Indulgent

See it if You enjoy seeing a dysfunctional family working through the mom dying of cancer.

Don't see it if You like fluffy theater or musicals.

Cast & Creatives (12)