Isolde NYC Reviews and Tickets

(12 Ratings)
Members say
Slow, Absorbing, Quirky, Confusing, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Theatre for a New Audience and New York City Players present a new play written and directed by downtown experimental auteur Richard Maxwell, an adaptation of the epic love story of Tristan and Isolde.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (12)

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95 Reviews | 28 Followers
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great staging, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see a master-stylist make some uncanny magic out of the simplest things

Don't see it if you're turned off by excessive dryness

214 Reviews | 61 Followers
Thought-provoking, Original, Ambiguous, Stylized, Quirky

See it if you appreciate moments of insight and originality within a somewhat inconclusive whole.

Don't see it if you prefer a clear narrative arc.

170 Reviews | 162 Followers
Indulgent, Slow, Banal, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if Riff on T & I legend which is engrossing to a point. With scene/costume change to Wagner-land it fell apart for me. Actors tops, though.

Don't see it if Experimental theater is a stretch for me & this is no exception. Many empty seats, one more week. TFANA what did ya do to me?

127 Reviews | 888 Followers
Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you are a fan of the playwright.

Don't see it if you prefer naturalistic acting or dislike minimalist sets.

545 Reviews | 82 Followers
Banal, Disappointing

See it if The monotone delivery is exasperating. The ending saves the production from being a total bore. Why all the praise??? Should be experienced.

Don't see it if If you want thrilling and thought provoking theater, stay away.

77 Reviews | 36 Followers
Excruciating, Indulgent, Slow, Overrated, Boring

See it if You like mannered performances in a play which doesn't make sense.

Don't see it if It takes longer to get here than the running time of the lay.

24 Reviews | 14 Followers
Absorbing, Quirky, Original

See it if cherish a very physical style of acting.

Don't see it if are about to remodel. You will be reminded just what an ordeal it is.

13 Reviews | 4 Followers
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Richard Maxwell successfully stages a strange and riveting production. A perfect blend of common stage convention and performance art.

Don't see it if Your patience level is little to nothing- as this play ticks...very.....slowly....

Critic Reviews (20)

The New York Times
September 10th, 2015

"'Isolde' forces its heroine to choose between the pragmatist and the fantasist...This being a Maxwell play, the lines aren’t quite that clear cut. The cast are all veterans of New York experimental theater. Here they make us aware of the inadequacy of speech, the layers within one scream and the eloquence of longing within a silence."
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Time Out New York
September 10th, 2015

"Perhaps the director has pushed his zero-fakery, total-truth aesthetic to its logical conclusion: letting gifted actors act...It’s the most frankly erotic show I’ve seen from Maxwell. And sure, to any Maxwell newbie, the non sequiturs, cryptic pauses and jarring shifts in tone will seem utterly absurd and weird. So not to worry: Maxwell may be Off Broadway, but his vision keeps its beguiling, hypnotic, beautiful severity."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
September 10th, 2015

"Richard Maxwell’s 'Isolde' belongs to the Mad Libs school of dramaturgy, in which random elements are fitted together to fashion something absurd. Ideally, the way the elements fit or don’t should produce sparks of emotion or at least, as in Mad Libs, peals of laughter. 'Isolde' just sits there, complacently making no sense."
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New York Daily News
September 10th, 2015

"There is some energetic, bare-bottomed boinking in experimental author and director Richard Maxwell’s mostly intriguing 'Isolde.' The meditative pace and quiet create the mood and cast a spell in this work. Four terrific actors are another big plus, especially during a couple yawn-inducing stretches."
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AM New York
September 10th, 2015

"At its best, 'Isolde' presents individuals struggling to defend their needs and viewpoints, which often they cannot actually articulate...By the same token, it is a strange, slow, often puzzling work full of pauses and aimless pontificating. The actors deliver their lines in a disconnected, flat manner, which can be off-putting."
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September 14th, 2015

"Maxwell has been showered with awards and critical praise for his distinctive deadpan style...But if the one-note performances lull the audience into a slumber, they're really not going to hear the words the playwright crafted...The prelude to Wagner's opera 'Tristan und Isolde' plays softly in the background, reminding us of what greater artists have done with the source material. Sadly, at Isolde, one only gets the clumsy sound of a restless audience."
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Lighting & Sound America
September 16th, 2015

"As I took my seat at TFANA, I felt well-versed in the theory of Maxwellian theatre. But nothing could have prepared me for the astonishing dullness of it in practice...Watching 'Isolde,' I felt I was trapped in an exercise in anhedonia. Never has passion felt so limp."
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Talkin' Broadway
September 10th, 2015

"To enter into the world of playwright Richard Maxwell is to forego any expectation of straightforward clarity, richly realized characterizations, or emotional connection. If you can accept these strictures, however, you will be pulled into a bare bones universe that is as compelling as any of Harold Pinter’s what-lies-beneath-the-surface works."
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