New York | Ends Jan 27

Exquisita Agonia

From 10 critic and 47 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

About the show

At Repertorio Español, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz debuts his newest play about the survival of a modern family who must confront the past in order to move forward. More…

'Exquisita Agonía' (Exquisite Agony) is a delicate but relentless story, which explores a middle-aged woman’s obsessive quest to find fragments of love in a young man who has received the gift of life when he receives a new heart. Performed in Spanish with English subtitles via Simultext In-Seat Captioning System, by request ONLY.


"It’s beautifully written...There’s rueful humor, Chekhovian reveries and a sense of the mystical all with a demonstrative Latin sensibility. The dialogue is filled with passionate eloquence and is made even more pleasurable by experiencing it in Spanish...From the film noir opening to the combative finale, director José Zayas has staged this arresting production with visual flair. Mr. Zayas’ sensitivity for the material enables the cast to mine all of the play’s comedy and emotion." Full Review


"An explosive first production...As in several of Cruz's previous works, drama ignites from the friction between the banal and the magical...Pulses are sure to quicken over the course of two hours thanks to Zayas's taut staging, which takes a delicate situation and refuses to treat it delicately...Cruz has a talent for sustaining such doubt, the exquisite agony of which will linger in your mind long after you leave the theater." Full Review

Diandra Reviews it All

"Conceptually, I thought 'Exquisita Agonia' was brilliant...Cruz’s writing, along with Jose Zayas meticulous direction, make sure Lorenzo is the ghost that haunts everyone...Admittedly, the second act is A LOT. It is a heavy act that takes the noble curiosity of the first act and erupts it with familial pains and secrets...Yet, there are a lot of laughs and prompters of enlightening thoughts. Cruz’s words on love could move a rock to bleed." Full Review

Off Off Online

“A thought-provoking and entertaining new work...Centers on the unsaid, the unfinished and what is known as cellular memory...Cruz’s plot flirts with science fiction...It also toys with the concept of transference...The cast is superb, particularly Nicolas, who delivers an energetic and comical performance: it’s engaging on all levels...Through the dialogue, crisp and fluid, Cruz tells a fascinating story of where humanity really lives and where it ends.” Full Review

Berkshire Fine Arts

"With a cast that is professional in every way that the term repertory suggests, director Jose Zayas creates a graceful and well-timed piece of theater...Cruz’s own background in classical and popular vocal venues are apparent in the authenticity of his creation of world of his characters...Cruz uses elements of magical realism to knit a story that has psychological and spiritual implications for everyone...The playwright is deep, but he is also funny. There is much humor here." Full Review

The Theatre Times

"Director José Zayas commandingly marshals his actors through the somewhat unpredictable plot with poise and nuance. His actors move gracefully on the at-times crowded stage...Cruz’ play is a wondrous tale of the journey his various characters take in their quest for fulfillment, for family, for love. He conjures up a world, original and ephemeral, where passion and humor effortlessly coexist. Few writers can juggle those two seemingly contradictory notes." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"The first act is charming but a tad listless...The combination of a flightly, flirty first act with the savagely hurled accusations of the second act does verge on soap opera at times...Then again, it is never dull, and Zayas' cast manages the hairpin turns in tone with the lightest of touches...My one reservation about 'Exquisita Agonia' is that the material may be a tad too carefully, casually handled here...Nevertheless, this is a lively, well-acted affair that builds to some genuine dram... Full Review


“A complex drama that’s both provocative and poetic...A significant new work..Brisk, no-frills directing style...Until the explosive moments toward the close of the second act, the production has the aura of a mild-mannered family dramedy. It brings out the comedy and a smattering of pathos but eschews the mysteriousness of the magic realism that gives much of Cruz’s writing its seductive appeal...The performers are commendable in their verisimilitude.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“It doesn't always feel like the characters wholeheartedly believe what they're saying...In the midst of these interesting investigations of emotional overindulgence and generosity, Flores is a graceful, sensitive Amér...Nicolás’s Millie is sensual, even earthy, making her flights of fancy a little jarring. Some blocking choices are difficult to decipher, but if concessions must be made to Abrego's gorgeous lightbox-and-aortic-red-tree set, it is worth it.” Full Review

The New York Times

"A poetic tangle of a new play...As the family’s clashing feelings about Lorenzo come to the surface, the play turns unwieldy. Beautifully strange at the start, it gets as messy and confused as the emotions it contains...She never does learn much about this young man in whom her husband’s heart is taking root, changing him in unexpected ways...Neither do we, and that feels like a missed opportunity all around." Full Review

Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like affecting drama that is passionate and intelligent and that surprises and provokes discussions

Don't see it if you don't enjoy foreign language theater.

Also The best play by Nilo Cruz since "Anna in the Tropics"

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you like the writings of Nilo Cruz and his way of not letting you go with the easy way out of a line plot.

Don't see it if you want to see a typical, predictable, story that won't let down your first desires for an anticipated development.

Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Intense, Relevant

See it if you like intense, emotional psycho-drama that is extremely well acted

Don't see it if your Spanish is weak or non-existent and you feel that reading the translation on the LED screen in front of you would be too distracting

Also I was particularly impressed by the performances of the lead actress L... Read more Read less

Dash of agonia

See it if Pulitzer winner's new play is calling card enough.

Don't see it if Be prepared for mucho reading if not a native speaker. Even adept speakers want subtitle crutch for nuance and curiosity of comparing terms.

Also A lot of camp. Cast really chews the scenery and comes back for second... Read more Read less

Relevant, Riveting, Intelligent

See it if It is interesting. Lorenzo’s son was a wonderful. I like it

Don't see it if Need to be act more natural. More relax

Intelligent, Intense, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you want to experience something out of the ordinary

Don't see it if trying to read subtitles on a tiny screen is bothersome

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Enchanting, Intelligent

See it if You love spanish language plays w/good acting and a good set

Don't see it if you don't care for sm theaters or foreign language plays

Perfectly not over the top

See it if You want to see an interesting an unusual take on how family reacts after a loved one receives a heart transplant

Don't see it if You do not understand Spanish and don’t want to read subtitles. But that should not stop you from seeing this

Also This is the second show this year I have seen at this theater. Not sur... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Resonant

See it if You like a tale well told

Don't see it if You hate reading translations in front of you

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Intense

See it if See if you know at least a little spanish

Don't see it if you want to just sit back and be entertained without investing much of yourself.

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

See it if you want a thoughtful exploration of an oddly untouched subject in human life, with twists and turns that make for good theater.

Don't see it if Because of the positioning of the subtitles they distract from a full appreciation of what is going on on stage, for non-Spanish speakers.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Refreshing, Thought-provoking, Clever

See it if You are intrigued by a story about a heart recipient and the woman who cannot let her husband go. The acting was excellent on the whole.

Don't see it if If you don't like hearing things in another language - although the surtitles were easy to read.

Also Loved hearing this gorgeous language even though I cannot understand i... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you like drama with a good dose of humor. The characters are diverse and entertaining. It is a very enjoyable show and worth seeing!

Don't see it if you get annoyed by those who are overly dramatic. The mother character is a bit excessive at times but fits well within the show.

Also This is my second show at this theater. I've learned that if you need ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Intense

See it if The play is powerful. If you enjoy family dramas, that explosion in a closed space feel, this is perfect for you.

Don't see it if The first act falls limp, especially compared to the dynamite second act.

Thought-provoking, Funny, Exquisite

See it if you are a fan of Nilo Cruz' work, new plays that prompt thought, you speak spanish or would enjoy watching a show in Spanish with subtitles

Don't see it if You are not bilingual and don't like reading subtitles, you are looking for a spectacle show.

Also The script itself is interesting, but uneven. The premise is fascinati... Read more Read less

Funny, Great writing, Profound, Confusing, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see some great theatre in a less traditional space.

Don't see it if You get distracted by subtitles during shows.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if Enjoy philosophical text , family issues as the subject matter with an engaging cast. If you’re a fan of Nilo Cruz.

Don't see it if If heavy text with deeper meaning is not interesting to you . Don’t enjoy plays in Spanish.

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You want a meaty family drama with real wit.

Don't see it if You don't speak Spanish and you find reading a translation in front of your seat very distracting--always looking away from the stage.

Entertaining, Ambitious, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see a dramatic story in Spanish by a very talented writer

Don't see it if You don’t want to read in English to follow or want a lighter story

Great acting, Quirky, Slow

See it if You enjoy family drama shows. Note: The show is in Spanish. There are subtitle screens at each seat.

Don't see it if You don’t like repetitive dialogue that asks the same question without answer.

Great writing, Absorbing, Indulgent, Intense

See it if You enjoy lyrical writing performed by a (mostly) high quality cast, and you enjoy stories about problematic relationships.

Don't see it if You aren't fluent in Spanish and don't like to read subtitles, or are not interested in family dramas.

Also The theater is quite lovely and well-appointed.

Ambitious, Indulgent, Romantic, Thought-provoking, Edgy

See it if Cruz's drama concerning illusive nature of love vs obsession Rich, poetic language ofttimes overwhelms story Zayas' staging wisely discreet

Don't see it if Act 2 spins wildly out of control becoming a violent & often shrill pyscho-drama about family greviences Borders on a telenovela Big letdown

Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if you have wondered how a meeting between the family of a heart donor and the recipient might go.

Don't see it if you don't speak Spanish and are not prepared to read the translated lines on the screen on the back of the seat you are facing.

Also It was frustrating at times to follow the dialogue; the translation fr... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Disappointing

See it if you like a show with potential and promise, a beautiful theater, beautiful stage and music

Don't see it if you don't have a lot of tolerance for melodrama. It had promise, but the staging was sub par.

Intense, Absorbing, Indulgent, Riveting, Must see

See it if You have yet to see a play performed in a language other than English. You enjoy tense family dramas.

Don't see it if You are looking for something "light." You do not enjoy family dramas. You do not enjoy melodrama.

Also The first thing I would say is that if you are an English speaker and ... Read more Read less

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In-house box office

Direct from the Box Office

Typical fees: $8 - $15 per ticket. Can usually choose your own seats. You can save on fees by buying at the physical box office.
In-house box office
$15 - $69

Cast & Creatives (12)