The Hearth presents the New York premiere of Beth Hyland's play about a sorority that mounts a show to commemorate the death of one of their own. More…
Annie Lambert was murdered in the middle of her senior year. So her sisters of the Beta Tau Alpha sorority at SUNY Onondaga are memorializing her in the best way they know how: They're putting on a play. 'For Annie' uses Greek chorus, pop music, dance, and a lot of glitter to explore grief, guilt, sisterhood, and what it means to remember. The inaugural production of The Hearth, a new theater company dedicated to shows about and by women.
"The performances are so natural and convincing that it’s easy to be persuaded that this is a devised piece based on personal experience and improvisation. But the play is masterfully scripted from the first curtain speech to the final number…Director Emma Miller guides the production gently without imposing extraneous staging that might disrupt the illusion…These are the fascinating, if somewhat macabre, questions that Hyland's sophisticated play is asking." Full Review
"Hyland’s writing is filled with authentic details that vividly realize her central character as well as subtly delineating the rest of the group...Hyland’s highly theatrical treatment infuses such a sadly familiar situation with dynamism as well as restrained sentimentality...With the plucky charm of the young Sandra Bullock, Julia Greer is captivating as the student playing Annie...Director Emma Miller’s exhilarating staging makes the series of vignettes on display quite compelling." Full Review
"The ensemble is well formed with a palpable team spirit...While at times repetitive and over-sustained, 'For Annie' is a successful foray into the world of domestic violence...The show well encapsulates the power and sensitivity of complex female characters. Above all, the playwright has created characters that can live, breathe, and communicate without pretense...With such pragmatic actresses under the direction of Emma Miller, 'For Annie' becomes a tale not to be missed." Full Review
"Hyland’s sensitive and thought-provoking drama is centered around the story of grief-stricken sorority sisters responding to the murder of one of their own...Nick moves from devoted boyfriend to obsessive and suspicious boyfriend to violent boyfriend. At this point, the play also becomes didactic...The play has the potential to be a powerful teaching tool for a very broad audience. All the ensemble cast members are (where appropriate) engaging, energetic, emotive, or enthusiastic." Full Review
"Annie and Nick's story is typical in many ways, but its very typicality is what makes its telling important...The choice to present 'For Annie' as as play-within-a-play lends it dimension, and it is very successful in creating the reality of its frame...It isn't easy to realistically play non-professionals acting, but the cast pulls it off convincingly. The leads all give solid performances...The play does some interesting things around our experience of authenticity as audience members." Full Review
"A sincere exploration of the pressing issue of domestic violence...although, theatrically, it tends to oversimplify and oversweeten its tale...Miller's cast brings high energy...to the production, and Hyland writes with compassion. But the play feels unfinished, making little use of the theatrical elements at its disposal...Hyland seems torn between artistic complexity and the desire to educate…Still, it's hard to fault a young company for tackling a difficult subject with spirit." Full Review
See it if you enjoy new plays being incubated by a company that clearly has a lot to say. Great acting and staging in a small space. Makes you think.
Don't see it if you like bigbudget proscenium theatre. You don't like stories about college kids today (it deals with tough issues through the college lens)
See it if you like intimate staging, great performances, smart direction, appreciate complex female characters
Don't see it if you don't want to be challenged, are close-minded
See it if You're interested in examining the different ways we cope with tragedy, you want to see the inaugural production of a promising new company!
Don't see it if You aren't interested in contemporary plays.
See it if You want to see a play based on a true story that is very relevant, sensitive and eye opening. Want to laugh at times and think as well
Don't see it if You don't like plays based on true stories. You have a difficult time dealing with sensitive matters such as domestic abuse.
See it if you care about issues on college campuses, mental health and domestic violence. A high-energy package with hidden emotional depth.
Don't see it if maybe you need more structured, formal staging. Or you'd be bothered by the light touch on serious issues (though it's a smart approach!).
See it if You are interested in relationship issues. If you care about contemorary college life. Appreciate a fine 'boot strap' theatrical production
Don't see it if You require highly polished finished productions. Are uneasy with the important issues of dating violence and sexual assault.
See it if you want to see a well written show about domestic violence that will leave you thinking. Well done, well acted.
Don't see it if you're looking for more traditional theatre. The space is non-traditional but fits with this show.
See it if You would enjoy a play about how a group of college friends deal with the grief and loss of one of their own.
Don't see it if If you don't want to feel the need to decompress after the show or care for deliberately "amateur" productions.
See it if You are passionate about domestic violence issues. If you want to see immersive experimental theater with an emotional plot. Great structure
Don't see it if You're sensitive to taboo issues n find "college theatre" exhausting. Writing flowed beautifully but the ending needs changing!
See it if You want a play about a social issue-relationship abuse-presented in a clever manner. You like intimate staging.
Don't see it if You want sharp staging & direction: there's excessive movement & unnecessary volume. I wanted it to settle down & breathe better.
See it if ...you want to learn about domestic violence, care about college issues, want to see work by a promising young playwright.
Don't see it if ..you prefer polished theater, domestic violence is a trigger, want to see work by an established writer.
See it if you know nothing about the show or anyone in it. Works best if you're not on the "in". Expect nothing. Respect the gesture. Root for them.
Don't see it if you have lofty standards.
See it if You're looking for an educational play raising awareness about abusive relationships to bring to your school/college/student group.
Don't see it if You're triggered by themes of domestic violence or abuse. You're not interested in a PSA-type production. Poor pacing/staging bothers you.
See it if if you want to learn about the perils of young love from the inside; a must see for anyone with a college age daughter; a show with a messag
Don't see it if you are not into off-off-Broadway type of productions; you don't care for the "like" generation and their morals; you like musicals.
See it if you're interested in college issues or just really enjoy intimate/immersive theatrical experiences.
Don't see it if you prefer larger, more polished productions. This production is raw, but that's a large part of its charm.
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