Incident at Hidden Temple
Closed 2h 0m
Incident at Hidden Temple

Incident at Hidden Temple NYC Reviews and Tickets

(15 Reviews)
Members say
Disappointing, Absorbing, Ambitious, Relevant, Slow

About the Show

Pan Asian Rep presents the world premiere of Damon Chua's historical fiction noir set in China during World War II.

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Member Reviews (15)

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Disappointing, Actors are stilted and the pacing is slow, Good lighting and set, The play is not boring, but not altogether engaging either.

See it if You're interested in a historical fiction and might find a political WW2 drama with murder and romance subplots intriguing.

Don't see it if Want something really well-acted, a plot that doesn't meander/have holes, aren't interested at all in Chinese culture or characterizations.

Disappointing, Confusing, Slow, Ambitious, Relevant

See it if you are interested in Chinese-American history. However, there are too many sub plots which do not strengthen the script.

Don't see it if you want good dialogue and acting. The script needs polish. Except for the blind man and the secretary the acting is rudimentary.

Critic Reviews (10)

The New York Times
January 26th, 2017

"In addition to mood, noir is famous for labyrinthine plots, but the one here is just muddled...Chua is less interested in historical facts than in genre tropes...Alas, he did not stop at thriller and also went for melodrama, romance, spy mystery, political yarn and supernatural fable...A lot happens over the course of two hours, including a plot development reminiscent of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' but with a Buddhist artifact. Yet what dominate are lengthy exposition and stilted dialogue."
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January 26th, 2017

"The piece has the potential to use the lessons of the past to illuminate the present — an objective never fully realized in this half-hearted attempt at noir...Knockoff Nancy Drew meets Indiana Jones: a suspense-free murder mystery that transforms into an inexplicable treasure hunt. To his credit, director Schwab faithfully stages the misguided script...A combination of wooden acting and an aimless script make 'Incident at Hidden Temple' an unmemorable night at the theater."
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Lighting & Sound America
January 27th, 2017

"A better title for ‘Incident at Hidden Temple’ might be ‘Nancy Drew Goes to War-Torn China’…Throughout, Ava is presented as being both clueless and insanely accomplished; she is as muddled as the play that contains her…Even the lowest-budget B melodrama was better constructed than this...Under the circumstances, it's difficult to know what actors could do, so it probably signifies very little that the entire company gives such wooden performances.”
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February 2nd, 2017

"'Incident at Hidden Temple' is suggestive of many different ideas pertaining to allegiance, cooperation and strategy, but unfortunately the obscure and fictional story lines are worn thin and far too overstretched by the play's final curtain. Whether an indication of a flawed script beyond repair, or a lack of thoughtful direction by director Kaipo Schwab, many performances are over embellished, exaggerated, and hardly resemblant to any sympathetic or even likable characters."
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Theater Pizzazz
January 28th, 2017

“Wartime drama in ‘Incident at Hidden Temple’ is as compelling as it gets. As the landscape shifts from a village fable to a convincing military drama, director Kaipo Schwab skillfully coordinates interrogation of a larger truth…The play, filled with memorable characters, is something of a winding path constructed by playwright Damon Chua...Ava is portrayed adeptly by the Ying Ying Li.”
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Front Row Center
January 27th, 2017

“An evocative reminder of a pivotal piece of World War II history…Act One does a good job in setting up the multiple conflicts and questions. While Act Two has resonant moments, it isn’t as strong, relying on some unlikely coincidences and encounters. Ultimately, though the story's questions are answered (except the biggest one, which the playwright leaves to the audience), there’s almost too much to bring together smoothly. The staging and the acting overall are excellent.”
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Broadway Blog
January 30th, 2017

"Chua...focuses only intermittently on the complex military-historical issues...Instead, he diffuses his treatment by introducing various melodramatic mysteries...An air of superficiality hovers not only over the writing but over the entire, stilted production...Director Kaipo Schwab's pacing for the two-hour play is uneven and his staging awkward, beginning with the thoroughly unconvincing stabbing that begins the play...As for the acting, let's just say better luck next time."
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Times Square Chronicles
January 26th, 2017

"All the technical elements are well done. The play by Damon Chua keeps your interest, though it could use some cutting. The direction by Kaipo Schwab is serviceable and gets the points across, but how could he have not heard the timber of the actors voices?...Ms. Ma, Mr. Dolan and Mr. Liu far much better than the rest of this cast, who seriously need acting lessons."
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Off Off Online
February 4th, 2017

"Chua is a dab hand at spoofing the melodramatic conceits of film noir, but he hasn’t settled whether 'Hidden Temple' should be a movie pastiche, an old-fashioned whodunit, supernatural puzzler, political drama, clash of western pragmatism and eastern spirituality, or a whimsical romance...Many scenes in 'Hidden Temple' are engaging, but, as a whole, the script has the half-baked quality of a project at the workshop stage...Much of the acting is wooden, and the direction largely static."
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Edge New York
January 27th, 2017

"Offers insight into the fascinating political drama of that moment…But while the setting and the historical situation at the center of the play are indeed very interesting, Chua's writing is uneven. The dialogue is sometimes stilted, there are plot developments that feel very unrealistic, and the resolutions of the various mysteries come off as a bit clumsy. ‘Hidden Temple’ certainly has a great deal going for it, but could use some rewriting to better do justice to its promising story."
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