Ma-Yi Theater Company presents a world premiere play about two sets of Filipino-American siblings whose lives are thrown into crisis when they realize their parents won't always be there to help them. More…
Two families (and some guy named Henry) panic when they realize their parents won’t be around forever. Rod thinks the game is fixed. Momo’s still learning the rules. Twee doesn’t think winning is enough. JJ hates his hand. And why the hell is Henry still playing? Afraid for the future, they try whatever they can to be prepared when they're the ones left holding all the cards. 'House Rules' is about mortality and that feeling of panic you experience when you realize the elders who guide you are eventually going to be gone.
"Where the set is reminiscent of a game board, the characters not only play regular board games, they indulge in a lot of head games. Peña’s direction keeps this game going at a fast-paced clip. The cast is uniformly good with Ms. Katigbak getting some of the best lines. Mr. Pamatmat’s script is witty, with fleshed out characters. By the end of the play we not only know who these people are but we can relate to at least one of the issues brought forth. There is a lot of truth in this play." Full Review
"'House Rules' is an ensemble dramatic comedy with an exuberant amount of heart and truth...Pamatmat has crafted a beautiful family play. The relationships are genuine. The struggles are true...Pamatmat crafted a very specific piece of theater. It was exceptionally cinematic in structure...'House Rules' is a strong story about family that was smartly executed. A. Rey Pamatmat and Ma-Yi Theater Company have something special on their hands." Full Review
"The playwright presents the characters in crisp three dimensions so that the audience understands and pulls for them no matter how unpleasantly they behave among themselves before breaking through. The message not necessarily new but carefully served here is that familial love isn’t easy, and neither is romantic love...Every one of the players does commendably by the taut script...Well done by all." Full Review
"Pamatmat’s story is well told and there are many truths to be found. What makes his writing most effective is the fact that, like life, there is not a total resolve for his character’s conflicts. Sometimes, self-will and communication fails us. Fortunately, Pamatmat’s play does not." Full Review
"Ralph B Pena direction is sharp, swift and fun...The cast is fierce and unstoppable. A. Rey Pamatmat's play is a web of love and conflict between cultures, and parents and children, that is never sentimental or schmaltzy, but funny and unapologetic. The play’s arguments are at times repetitive and the fights and feelings the characters have towards one another are sometimes clunky, unclear and occasionally incomplete, but I’ve found that is often the case in true family dynamics." Full Review
"Mr. Pamatmat has compelling ideas about human psychology and dramatic structure, but the completed play, under Ralph B. Peña’s somewhat busy direction, doesn’t always serve them well. Despite the talent and magnetism of the actors, the characters and their relationships can too often feel like constructs rather than fully realized men and women, though there are sometimes flashes of surprising truth, particularly in the sibling interactions." Full Review
"Despite the procession of largely banal emotional revelations, 'House Rules' remains watchable, largely because a skillful cast works at downplaying the characters' often-immature, self-pitying characteristics...In the end, 'House Rules' feels like the work of a writer who, having made a discovery, rushes to tell the world about it, unaware that it is already common knowledge...The play has little that is new to add to the conversation." Full Review
"Mr. Pamatmat has taken on a great deal in his new play and the conglomerate of plots and subplots prevents the satisfying resolution of any of them. The audience never really gets to know the characters on any deep level and that makes it difficult to connect with them...This is not the fault of the ensemble cast members that genuinely seem to be invested in their characters’ development. Unfortunately, Mr. Peña’s frenetic direction sacrifices depth for surface histrionics." Full Review
"A talented and engaging cast...Though the technical and theatrical aspects of this production are undoubtedly successful, the message of this story is somehow lost along the way...This heartfelt family story devolves into a set of characters with clichéd motivations and almost no character growth; characters who are far too often put into storylines which never receive that oh-so-satisfying payoff that differentiates an exceptional theatrical experience from the ordinary." Full Review
See it if You'd enjoy a multi tiered family drama exploring questions of responsibilities owed, independence earned and acceptance. Charming and fun.
Don't see it if It would work your nerves to be drawn into family drama or the particularities, especially of a Filipino family dynamic, don't interest you.
See it if you want to experience how it feels to balance two very different cultures and be caught floundering in between.
Don't see it if you are not into plays that rely heavily on dialogue for storytelling.
See it if you want to see a sweet, insightful show with a refreshingly honest look at the value of family.
Don't see it if you've never been a parent or a sibling or someone's child or a person.
See it if Two sets of siblings who hate/love each other. Dying father from hell. Learning Tagalog on a laptop
Don't see it if Filipino family squabbles. Gay lovers break up before you know they're a couple. House rules for Monopoly and mah jongg are very amusing
See it if you like plays about family and being forced to grow up, through the lens of Filipino-American characters to which we can all relate.
Don't see it if you're in the mood for something big and splashy. This is a quiet, resonant piece with much levity.
See it if you like family dramas, like Asian American dramas, want to support new work
Don't see it if you need everything to be perfect - it's got some flaws, but it's a strong effort
See it if You like seeing a great set put to work, and like to see how an immigrant story plays out over generations
Don't see it if You don't want to see a different immigration story, or hearing a language other than English makes you uncomfortable
See it if you're interested in seeing a sleekly and tightly directed new drama about mortality, family, and relationships. Well acted and designed.
Don't see it if you're unable to get through some slower parts of this 110 minute intermission-less show. However, the play's direction keeps it moving.
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