New York | 1h 15m | Already closed

Intractable Woman: A Theatrical Memo on Anna Politkovskaya

From 7 critic and 8 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Riveting, Relevant, Intense

About the show

A portrait of the journalist/activist Anna Politkovskaya, this US premiere, by one of Italy’s most celebrated writers, takes us behind the headlines she generated while exposing details of Russia’s war in Chechnya. More…

Politkovskaya was assassinated in her Moscow apartment building in 2006. As journalists continue to put their lives on the line around the world, and efforts to undermine a free press escalate here in the U.S., her dispatches speak directly to us today.

Lighting & Sound America

"'Intractable Woman' isn't a play in the conventional sense: There is no conflict, no real drama, just a series of terrible events as seen through the journalist's camera eye. Yet the details are so gripping that it is impossible to look away, no matter how much one may wish to. It's a tribute to the taut direction of Evans that the piece never becomes forbidding; the three-person cast specializes in a highly disciplined delivery that evokes these ghastly events without wallowing in them." Full Review

The New York Times

"A cool, carefully composed and frightening work...Directed with an uncompromisingly clear eye and steady hand by the gifted Lee Sunday Evans...Deploying a style that evokes Brechtian distance without its polemical fireworks, Massini aspires to what might be called a god’s eye view, as dispassionate and relentless as history itself...By the end, almost without your knowing it, they have given us a profound assessment of the toll taken by witnessing and chronicling what Politkovskaya saw." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"Director Lee Sunday Evans does a superb job preventing the play from becoming didactic, pedantic, or just plain boring; the dialogue interplay among the three equally excellent actresses, who move chairs around in various scenes, keeps things proceeding at a fluid pace." Full Review


"You'd be hard-pressed to find anything other than statements of fact in Massini's script—a format...very much in line with Politkovskaya's passionately dispassionate reporting...The overwhelming priority of 'Intractable Woman' is truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...Evans has crafted Massini's flexible piece around three women, all of whom stand firmly through their delivery of some truly gruesome information." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

“A depressingly relevant play about the necessity, the impossibility, and the complexity of ethical, unbiased journalism...The overall both Wing’s excellent translation...and Evans’s stripped-down direction, is a clear-eyed insistence on recognizing and recording...A Brechtian-style alienation effect that feels well suited to the play’s tone...The quietness and restraint of both writing and performances only underscore the horror and the urgency of the subject matter.” Full Review

Theater Life

"No attempt is made to sharply differentiate one actress from the other...Never do the women drop their detached tone to project the feeling of being immediately, personally endangered…Audiences unfamiliar with the…issues will learn something…from the narrative but with very little historical information or explanation… A cleanly executed piece of docudrama…As a theatrical experience…it remains too dispassionate an account of material demanding a stronger jolt of passion." Full Review


"A noble exploration of the murdered Russian journalist that is insufficiently realized for the stage...It must be assumed that the production’s lackluster presentation is the concept of director Lee Sunday Evans...The performances are in the mode of recitation rather than distinctive characterizations, resulting in a lack of emotional impact...This underwhelming production does not do justice to Massini’s fine writing that conveys the profound achievements of this heroic figure." Full Review

Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Powerful, Disturbing

See it if 3 actresses team up to play Anna P and various guerillas, soldiers & civilians. They convey her reporting of the brutality in Chechnya.

Don't see it if You want lighter fare. This is disturbing and powerful. She controls her fear and anger while investigating and writing about the horrors.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Riveting, Great acting, Intense

See it if documentary style drama about a Russian journalist who covered the Chechen War & was assassinated; strong female character; unique staging

Don't see it if don't want to hear disturbing stories about the horrors of war; don't like actors speaking directly to audience

Also journalist is played by 3 different actresses, they all portray her at... Read more Read less

Relevant, Resonant, Riveting, Absorbing

See it if You like 'docu-plays' and can take sometimes harrowing details about real events. You will come away much more knowledgeable. Great acting.

Don't see it if You do not like staged readings of difficult, sometimes gruesome subjects in a spare space. Lighthearted it is NOT.

Thought-provoking, Political, Journalism, Docu-drama

See it if Powerful story about a journalist in Chechnya, set in documentary style with impressive formal strengths (main character played by 3 actors)

Don't see it if Narratively a bit weak- a set of scenes presenting the journalist in action, though without much of an arc until the final portion.

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if if you like relevant political stories about amazing people like this reporter who died looking for truth in Russia

Don't see it if do not like political themed plays

Ambitious, Edgy

See it if You are interested in the story or like to see ambitious story-telling.

Don't see it if You dislike multiple actresses playing one character.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Intense

See it if You like to be informed and challenged by theater. If you want to learn more about our own society through the eyes of a Russian journalist.

Don't see it if You don’t like the actors speaking directly to the audience. Or if you are a fan of Putin...

During previews
Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy different experiences. This is more a documentary than a play. Very well done. Strong subject matter. Should be seen.

Don't see it if documentaries are not your preferences.

Also It is a documentary and makes audiences feel uncomfortable with its tr... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (10)