In the Penal Colony
Closed 1h 10m
In the Penal Colony

In the Penal Colony NYC Reviews and Tickets

(42 Reviews)
Members say
Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Edgy

About the Show

In this new adaptation of Franz Kafka's short story, three black men convene in an unnamed penal colony, asking what it means for them to exist in the media, when observed, when consumed, when punished. 

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Member Reviews (42)

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1049 Reviews | 254 Followers
Indulgent, Fluffy, Edgy, Banal, Ambitious

See it if If you want a modern work from a classic writer. Some good choreography. One hour long.

Don't see it if If you don't like the absurd to a classic writer. Deals with black prisoners and what is expected of black society.

441 Reviews | 112 Followers
Insipid, Excellent singing, Quality choreography

See it if you love performance art with very good choreography and limited but high quality singing

Don't see it if you want anything that resembles a play or deals with the issues that Kafka and Hugo, before him, brilliantly explored Read more

339 Reviews | 77 Followers
Thought-provoking, Confusing, Profound, Energetic, Passionate

See it if Intense in your face robotic repetitive movement and performance related to the experience of​ being a black man in America.

Don't see it if you are expecting a cohesive story with a narrative--this is an explosion of repetitive movements and intense bursts of action. Read more

284 Reviews | 143 Followers
Intense, Resonant, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if you are interested in a new adaptation of Kafka's short story,encompassing the Black Am experience; outstanding acting,coregraphy&athletics

Don't see it if Even if racism is not your fav.subject, there is more reason to enjoy this show as "a metaphor of society",following Theatre of the Absurd

109 Reviews | 62 Followers
Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if you like performance art or are interested in social justice.

Don't see it if you need a clear, defined narrative.

9 Reviews | 1 Follower
Fierce, Edgy, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you are thrilled by a powerful and raw vision, a surreal extension of the cruel treadmill young black men must endure. Tour de force acting.

Don't see it if you need clear plot lines and signposts to guide you through a story.

3 Reviews | 1 Follower
Great singing, Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if You are interested in highly physical, political theatre that is an adaptation of a classic text

Don't see it if You have an aversion to nonlinear theatre

1 Review | 0 Followers
Intelligent, Great singing, Great acting, Edgy, Dizzying

See it if you love black men. If you are enthralled by muscular physical technically precise choreography. great singing and acting. the cast is super

Don't see it if you can't handle the truth about the horrifying history of America's use and subjugation of black men.

Critic Reviews (4)

The New York Times
July 18th, 2019

"Black Lives Trapped in a Reimagined ‘Penal Colony.’ Miranda Haymon’s play relocates Kafka’s horrific tale of punishment to a contemporary world where African-American men are expendable entertainment."
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July 25th, 2019

"Franz Kafka's 'In the Penal Colony' is the ambitious inspiration for New York Theatre Workshop's latest release."
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Lighting & Sound America
July 19th, 2019

"The questions Haymon raises are vitally important ones, but this may not be the right format for them…Kafka imagined a machine in which written laws tear into a person's flesh. Her version of 'In the Penal Colony' doesn't offer anything nearly as terrifying as that."
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July 20th, 2019

"It's debatable whether Haymon really even needed the frame of Kafka's story on which to hang her ideas. It's a somewhat uneasy matchup. Kafka's work, like Haymon's, certainly deals with power and punishment and a failure of the justice system. However, the story has a very European sensibility."
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