Happy Days (TFANA)
Closed 1h 40m
Happy Days (TFANA)
77

Happy Days (TFANA) NYC Reviews and Tickets

77%
(56 Reviews)
Positive
80%
Mixed
13%
Negative
7%
Members say
Great acting, Slow, Masterful, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest ('Hannah and Her Sisters,' 'Bullets Over Broadway') stars in Samuel Beckett‘s absurdist comic classic about a woman buried up to her waist and sinking into the earth.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (56)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
30
Disappointing, Dizzying, Excruciating, Slow

See it if My first Beckett and my last Beckett. All 30 points earned thanks to Dianne Wiest.

Don't see it if Oooof. Bad. Ooof. Can I get the hour of my life back?

80
Thought-provoking, Quirky, Indulgent, Slow, Symbolic

See it if Woman stuck in the sand talks to herself and barely-responsive companion to pass the time. An extreme metaphor for the human condition.

Don't see it if The image was memorable but despite good acting, it dragged a bit and wasn't all that deep. We all focus on trivialities and smile to get by

Critic Reviews (23)

The New York Times
May 4th, 2017

"Life is terrible and yet, as played with ineffable gentleness by Wiest, whose alto flute of a voice has never seemed so gay and vulnerable, Winnie is no whiner...She finds laughs not only in the words but also in the gaps between...Great performances don’t on their own make definitive revivals. It’s not that there is anything notably wrong with Bundy’s dutiful staging...To the extent the production supports and frames Wiest so she can excel, it need not be better than it is. But it could be."
Read more

Time Out New York
May 5th, 2017

"The affecting revival at TFANA welcomes such sadness: In Wiest’s beautifully limpid performance, moments of bitter self-awareness pass like clouds over Winnie’s determined sunniness, enriching the play’s absurdism with plangent notes of deep feeling (including real hurt at Willie’s inattention). This 'Happy Days' fills you with a desire to comfort its heroine, but also with the knowledge that such comfort could only be cold."
Read more

The Wall Street Journal
May 4th, 2017

“Rigorously faithful to Beckett except perhaps for its scenery…This production’s realism made the situation’s grotesqueries all the more horrifying and the dramatic challenge all the greater…Ms. Wiest heroically carries the play on her shoulders and brow—sometimes breaking into fury, sometimes visibly working herself into happiness…Yet, in Ms. Wiest’s powerful performance, there are times we come to doubt those smiles…A vein of unease runs through Ms. Wiest’s portrayal.”
Read more

Theatermania
May 4th, 2017

"Dianne Wiest is now re-creating her marvelous performance, full of humor and pathos...Director James Bundy lets Beckett's frequent stage pauses play themselves out, sometimes for a tad too long. Still, Wiest's humorous and poignant Winnie is one for the ages...It's the somber tone of this production that distinguishes it...Despite their infrequent interaction, Wiest and Conroy succeed in creating endearing chemistry onstage in marvelous moments of theater magic."
Read more

Lighting & Sound America
May 8th, 2017

"I've seen all sorts of actresses take on the role of Winnie, but none have made the character quite as purposeful as Dianne Wiest...The deft, utterly natural way that Wiest handles these bits of business are, I submit, the key to this production...It's fascinating to see how Bundy and his star deliver a characterization that feels both classically Beckett and yet its own distinct creation."
Read more

TheaterScene.net
May 13th, 2017

"All I can say is, move over Ruth White. Although you haven't been displaced in my heart and mind, the TFANA's Winnie, Dianne Wiest, reigns supreme. Her vivid, varied and touching performance in this endurance test of a play is so rich and ripe with detail that I pity any other actress I see in the part."
Read more

Theater Pizzazz
May 15th, 2017

"Even buried up to her neck in dirt, Dianne Wiest can act circles around most other thespians...'Happy Days' is a challenge in that it doesn’t weather the test of time as well as Beckett’s better known works...It’s allegorical, to be sure, but, oddly enough, lacks roots...No matter, for this is a Wiest workshop, or showcase if you will (craftily helmed by director James Bundy) and that’s more than enough. It’s an absolute treat to watch her work through Winnie’s difficulties."
Read more

CurtainUp
May 5th, 2017

"Under the assured direction of James Bundy, Wiest lends a determinedly naturalistic interpretation to Beckett's lines...She finds immense poignancy and much that's poetic beneath the surface banality of the text. But 'Happy Days' is anti-naturalistic; and, in this instance, the straightforward, unadorned quality of Wiest's performance leaves money on the table...With so much in Wiest's performance that's remarkable, it may be ungrateful to concentrate on what's missing."
Read more

Front Row Center
May 5th, 2017

"The entrancing, harrowing two-act play is widely considered one of Beckett’s best...As portrayed by Dianne Wiest, Winnie flaunts a breezy attitude for the entire first act, while uttering lines that tear at one’s heart...It's perhaps part of the genius of Beckett’s art to provide fodder for a seemingly inexhaustible array of arguments, propelling the thinker to dive ever more deeply into her thoughts."
Read more

Theatre's Leiter Side
May 18th, 2017

“It does seem…that Act One's pacing, with so many long pauses, is a bit draggy and that Wiest…seems more concerned with her moment by moment thoughts than any ultimate objective...However, Wiest, faithfully carrying out Beckett's detailed business, perfectly matches her own winsomeness to Winnie's struggle to maintain an upbeat attitude in the face of the inevitable. Lovers of Beckett and Wiest will have little to complain about.”
Read more

DC Theatre Scene
May 13th, 2017

"Samuel Beckett’s bleak, comic and compassionate play...Wiest handles the comic moments deftly, but there seems real feeling when her Winnie momentarily drops her deliberate optimism...There is no question that Wiest delivers an impressive performance...Two hours of even a hauntingly humdrum existence is at least a half hour too long. Nevertheless, 'Happy Days' is the Winnie show, and Wiest makes the most of it."
Read more

The Huffington Post
May 4th, 2017

"Wiest comes out with flying colors...Much of the enormous challenge a performer faces is Winnie’s undeterred rambling. Holding interest has to be difficult, but it turns out to be a piece of cake for Wiest...I’ll go so far as to say that Wiest’s act two is the best interpretation of the heartily harrowing role I’ve ever witnessed. Wiest conveys the ravages of time superbly as well as disturbingly—in a play about nothing if not Beckett’s insistence that time gets us all in the lonely end."
Read more

The Huffington Post
May 12th, 2017

“Effortlessly funny and sad and moving….Somehow all of life’s mystery and horror are contained in what she says though damned if you can put a finger on how Beckett does it…Wiest is a treat, navigating the text with ease, taking you on the almost invisible journey this person is on...What the heck does it all mean? I do know coming out of the theater you don’t really care when it has cast its spell…It’s meaningful and meaningless; pure theater and perhaps anti-theater. In the old style.”
Read more

Off Off Online
May 20th, 2017

“Bundy’s splendid production has the superb Dianne Wiest as Winnie, an eternal optimist who fights constantly against the darkness…Wiest, with her quirky persona, is able to move between the comic and the serious aspects with consummate ease…Wiest does a terrific job of keeping one’s interest…The production achieves a delicate balance between intellectual allegory and popular entertainment, and it should not be missed.”
Read more

T
May 13th, 2017

"Wiest's performance can feel overly mannered in the first half of the show, although she dazzles after intermission...It’s a play in which you have to keep your eyes on her, but you’ll be mesmerized by Wiest’s tantalizing performance in this second half. However, director James Bundy never quite establishes a connection between Winnie and Willie, who is relegated to merely an afterthought."
Read more

scribicide
May 9th, 2017

"Beckett never abandoned his affection for his characters, but he never condescended to them, either. The genius of Ms. Wiest is that just beneath her breathy, matronly chirrup lies surprising complexity."
Read more

Stage Buzz
May 15th, 2017

“Wiest is at the top of her game as Winnie, bringing the character fully to life in a tour-de-force performance. Despite the challenges of performing in an increasingly constrained position, she projects more than enough power and presence to pull it all off…Masterfully done, this production presents a powerful view of a woman in the middle of a very personal journey. Though where she's going and where she's been are matters left up to every member of the audience.”
Read more

Off Script with Dan Dwyer
May 12th, 2017

"Blessed we are to have Winnie played by a superb Dianne Wiest...There are too few visits to the theater that reduce the everyday so truthfully in the head, and so emotionally in the gut, too...Wiest draws you in closer and closer, to her face, to her eyes, in a totally captivating, mesmerizing performance...If I never see another production of 'Happy Days,' I’m blessed with this."
Read more

More Than The Play Blog
May 14th, 2017

“Diane Wiest is captivating…She wins the audience over with perky optimism in the face of her character’s overwhelming dilemma...Her energy stays with us long after the curtain comes down, allowing us to ponder Beckett’s provocative writing and apply it to our own circumstances…Ms. Wiest creates moments that are full of poignancy and humor…She is truly spectacular…The play is a thoughtful encounter that leads to meaningful introspection.”
Read more

Edge New York
May 15th, 2017

“A deep and at times gruesome look at the lives of women, stuck in one place and expected to make the very best of things…In lesser hands, this character could devolve into a harridan, but Wiest keeps Winnie sunny…Beckett is known for his love of the absurd, but in portraying the plight of this everywoman sinking deeper and deeper into the sands of time, he's hit the proverbial nail on the head.”
Read more

Plays to See
May 8th, 2017

"Yale Repertory Theater’s production of 'Happy Days' is both the epitome of existential comedy and tragedy pairing two genius talents – playwright Samuel Beckett and actress Dianne Wiest...Wiest is arguably one of the great American actresses of our time...Getting to see her in such a nuanced role is like watching a master class. The precision of her voice inflections and mannerisms is worthy of study...The beauty of it all is to decipher and see what it individually means to you."
Read more

The New York Times
May 9th, 2016
For a previous production

"At times the pacing might be tighter and Ms. Wiest tends to slip notes of piteousness into her delivery that border on the sentimental...But any actress undertaking this challenging role deserves a medal for valor, and Ms. Wiest’s entrancingly funny, ultimately harrowing performance certainly deserves one...As this fine production and Ms. Wiest’s fearless performance attest, call it what you will, 'Happy Days' remains one of the most unsettling and unforgettable plays in the modern canon."
Read more

N
May 6th, 2016
For a previous production

Wiest is the most engaging Winnie available to local audiences in recent memory…Director James Bundy and his ace design team are whole-heartedly in tune with Beckett’s desire to create an environment that juxtaposes sunny optimism with suicidal despair…As for Bundy’s effort, it deserves high praise for ushering two superlative performances by Wiest and Conroy through daunting roles while leaving no trace of his own presence. His service is to the playwright alone.”
Read more

Watch This Next (3)

83
Great
150+ Reviews
Open run
Six
NYC: Midtown W

An exuberant, pop celebration of 21st century girl power featuring the wives of Henry VIII.

Buy
82
Great
500+ Reviews
Open run
NYC: Midtown W

An actor drinks heavily (think Comedy Central's 'Drunk History') and tries to corral others into enacting a…

Buy
77
Good
134 Reviews
Ends Oct 10
NYC: Midtown W

Following a sold-out run at LCT3, "Pass Over" will come to Broadway for a limited run this August.

Buy