George & Co. presents a tragicomic piece which plumbs a darker dimension of J.D. Salinger’s iconic novel, 'The Catcher in the Rye.' More…
In 'Holden,' a few obsessive 'Catcher in the Rye' super-fans have taken up residence in the reclusive Salinger’s private writing bunker. Their mission is to get Salinger to publish once more, which spirals into a larger excavation of violence in America and the male imagination.
“What George creates by encompassing not only the facts of Salinger's life, but of those affected by him, is brilliant…There is so much about this show that requires extreme recognition of detail and sticking to the facts while also just letting loose and allowing almost animalistic instincts to take over, all of which these actors understand…It is truly a wonderful, unique experience that brings theater to its finest element and will undoubtedly give us something worthwhile to think about." Full Review
"Absurdly compelling writing-wise, performance-wise, design-wise, and idea-wise…The aspect of the writing for which I commend George the most is her ability to create humanity in assassins, to show us depictions of real, sympathetic human beings…What is equally frustrating and exactly perfect about 'Holden' is that it does not try to simplify or bluntly state its point; it knows it is dealing with complicated ideas, and it seems almost to take pleasure in complicating them even more." Full Review
"The current remount of George & Co.’s critically-acclaimed 'Holden' is as relevant and unnerving now as it was then...The intense tragicomedy interweaves fact and fiction, fantasy and absurdity, in its exploration of the psychopathy of violence...Across the board, the characterizations are indelible. The outstanding cast and direction are supported by an effective design...We should all take heed of the timely messages inherent in 'Holden,' which are masterfully delivered by George & Co." Full Review
"Part of the humor of the play is to watch this spirit-trio try to influence Salinger from within…The choice of the two assassins is intriguing…In this telling, Salinger is not just his own tortured recluse, but with these other notorious presences becomes a kind of caged embodiment of a fractured America…If the book that made the title character famous has a golden sheen of youth and wizened romance about it, this strange, stunning play has anything but." Full Review
"For a long time, I’ve been obsessed with J.D. Salinger...For someone like me, the exploration of the myth and the man in 'Holden' is compelling...On the rare occasion, the production loses its precise grounding...Make no mistake about it, this is a polished work, one undoubtedly other critics will deem 'relevant'...It is a familiar story to us, part of the document of American life, documented and seen so often, and yet so rarely truly confronted." Full Review
"Anisa George's solid direction and the tight-knit cast keep us fully engaged. Even a tangential discussion about the Hindu epic 'Bhagavad Gita' fits well into the overall structure, and mostly the play maintains a balance between the darkly comic and darkly violent. It only loses its footing when, towards the end, the examination of violence takes over completely, and we are paying more attention to the interloper Zev than we are to Salinger." Full Review
"A fascinating if sometimes baffling exercise...Those first two-thirds are riveting...After that the action sags, the pacing loosens. It seems as if George & Co. weren’t sure how to bring things to a close...Still, if you have some tolerance for the avant-garde and the unexplained, 'Holden' will be well worth your time. The actors and creative team have put their heart, soul, and blood into a powerful imaginative portrait of the psyche of one of literature’s most fascinating characters. " Full Review
"The cast is strong and deliver compelling performances with fantastic relationships. The humor is dark yet laser-sharp, physical timing is impeccable, and the specificity of intention is clear in the actors’ performances...The solid technique in both performance and design are undermined by the lack of specificity in the circumstances surrounding the killers’ captivity, leading one to lose connection with the moment at hand to ponder the greater logistics of the conceit." Full Review
"With Anisa George serving as the creator and director, 'Holden' was a mark of a singular vision. For the most part, her consistency in creating her world followed through but there were moments you wished a trimming or two would occur...As it stands now, the balance is off kilter causing the piece to be unintentionally slow moving, even during those bursts of excitement...The characters were well lived in. They moved independently of one another yet had a cohesive bond." Full Review
for a previous production "Ms. George and the ensemble cast have concocted an engaging theatre piece...Under Ms. George’s meticulous direction, the ensemble cast delivers remarkable and memorable performances that transfix and transform the audience and deliver them to the doorstep of perhaps life-altering decisions...Dharma, duty, maya, and illusion are themes relevant to 'Holden's' expansive umbrella of important, redemptive, and cathartic themes." Full Review
for a previous production "Mr. Scammell is not alone in his compelling and charismatic performance. The entire production is sturdily wrought, and if the many threads Ms. George ambitiously tries to weave don’t always come together, they nonetheless hold you in a disturbing grip. The impossible conceit of her play is ultimately easier to swallow than the impossible actions with which she, and we, try to grapple." Full Review
for a previous production "It's a cerebral 90 minutes that may have you checking your watch now and then but has provocative things to say, even in its fundamental ambiguity. 'Holden' walks a line between being a speculative dissection of the Salinger psyche and some Sartre-esque purgatory...The three spar like aging frat boys...Mostly, they keep this intriguingly amorphous conceit aloft, aided by a functional set and supportive direction. The ensemble is a good, appropriately seedy, highly physical bunch." Full Review
for a previous production "The staging is expert, with subtle costumes, atmospheric lighting, and adventurous sound design, in addition to Benacerraf's scenic design...Overall, though, we witness a condition more than a story. Salinger keeps his demons in check while writing and storing his output in a safe, an uneasy coexistence that doesn't explain or illuminate his major work's toxic influence on a few people." Full Review
See it if Both devotees of "The Catcher in the Rye" as well as those who are fascinated by the Salinger mystique, will appreciate "Holden" the play.
Don't see it if Audience members unfamiliar with "The Catcher in the Rye" or its historical and cultural impact on America will probably be challenged.
See it if You're a die-hard Salinger fan, or if you're fascinated by assassins. The more you know about Salinger, the more you'll appreciate it.
Don't see it if I can't imagine anyone enjoying this if they don't have at least a rudimentary awareness of Catcher in the Rye and/or Salinger.
See it if you are concerned about violence and can appreciate a intelligent dialogue of how people justify their awful actions.
Don't see it if you need to care about the characters and prefer to immerse yourself in a story.
See it if see it for the kernels of a really exciting narrative and strong ensemble performances
Don't see it if unfortunately the play's undercooked and not fully realized moments outweigh the exciting fully fleshed out ones. Worth wild nevertheless...
See it if you like JD Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, plays with dark themes (violence, war, assassination, terrorism) starring all white men.
Don't see it if you want something light and fluffy, good writing that matches the ambition of the themes/material brought up, a coherent story.
See it if You enjoy spending 90 minutes trying to figure out what you are watching and why ! You don't mind pretentious drivel mascarading as art !
Don't see it if You are expecting a well thought out new way of appreciating and looking at A Catcher in the Rye. Very loud sounds of gun shots throughout !
See it if I mean, it's rare that a show is simultaneously so slow while also having obnoxious scenery-chewing characters, so I guess that's notable.
Don't see it if either you aren't that familiar with Catcher in the Rye, or you love it and seeing it depicted as only for angry white men would upset you.
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