See it if A tour de force. Deeply affecting. I was with her every second. What an amazing performance! What a life!
Don't see it if Some of the events of her life were very graphic and deeply disturbing.
See it if you like one person shows
Don't see it if you hate one person indulgent shows
See it if you like one-person shows; what you really want from the theater is intimacy; if you want to hear a real story of hardship and triumph.
Don't see it if you want more than one woman on a stage as your idea of a show.
See it if you want to hear a very personal story from a master theatrical storyteller.
Don't see it if you're expecting perfection. The performance is a little stilted, the stories don't add up to enough.
See it if you like autobiographical solo shows about really tough subject matter, done in a compelling way by someone with real stage presence
Don't see it if you want an easy evening of laughs, or are uncomfortable with someone who really hates her mother, for very good reasons.
"Ms. Orlandersmith holds us in a taut, quiet spell for the 80-minute show...relates the grimmest details of her youth from the perspective of the accomplished writer and performer who transcended them. She can access the pain and the fury, and bring it alive for us with spellbinding immediacy."
"potent, wrenching...those allergic to poetic survivor solos might wonder if we need another yarn of escape and empowerment, but Orlandersmith’s cutting language and cool, patient delivery hold your attention. 'Forever' begins and ends in Paris’s Père Lachaise cemetery, and it reminds us that while corpses moulder in graveyards, fresh blossoms sprout there too."
"At times, 'Forever' — Dael Orlandersmith’s new solo piece about growing up with a violent drunk of a mother — is like the film 'Precious,' only with songs by Patti Smith. You’ll either be shaken by the emotional violence or leave feeling guilty for not being affected...Art as therapy isn’t always gripping."
"There are no new stories, so the fact that this is another tale of a mother daughter relationship that was horrible is not the problem. What is the problem is that the text is a tale, not an experience...Thus the show becomes a narrative, not a journey. What she intended as riveting ends up being interesting and little more."
"Orlandersmith implicitly asks: What if we used this opportunity to paint a realistic portrait of the dead, rather than a touched-up glamour shot? The result of this experiment is a mixed bag of compelling ambiguity and boring unprocessed emotion."
"Dael Orlandersmith's touching solo piece, 'Forever' is a warm, embracing presence; proof of being a survivor with an eye toward the future. Perhaps, many years from now, that future will involve a troubled soul visiting her grave site to connect with someone who helped shape his or her life."
"What’s exceptional is the way she weaves her material into a compelling narrative, embracing the audience in her memories...The performer speaks directly to the audience in the first person, now and then briefly changing voices to suggest someone else. It’s a straightforward performance that, apart from the honesty with which she conveys her feelings, avoids the kind of tour de force versatility such works often count on."
"The often riveting autobiographical solo play is intense, and it is very bitter. 'Forever,' which revisits material Orlandersmith explored in earlier works, makes an attempt at understanding, and even forgiving, the author's mother, but it seems formulaic rather than heartfelt. The power of the evening is in its fury."