Already closed | 1h 15m | Chelsea

Norma Jeane Baker of Troy

From 55 member  reviews
Members say: Confusing, Disappointing, Ambitious, Great acting, Excruciating

About the show

Renée Fleming ("Carousel") and Ben Whishaw  ("Skyfall," The Crucible") star in a dramatic work by Anne Carson exploring the lives and myths of Marilyn Monroe and Helen of Troy—iconic beauties who lived millennia apart. More…

"Norma Jeane Baker of Troy" is a partly spoken, partly sung performance piece by poet, essayist, and scholar Anne Carson, staged by Katie Mitchell in The Shed’s 500-seat Theater.

1h 15m | Already closed | The Shed / Griffin Theater (Chelsea)

Member Reviews (55)

MEMBERS SAY:

Confusing, Disappointing, Ambitious, Great acting, Excruciating

60
Oddly engrossing, Ambitious, Pretentious, Confounding, Original

See it if u want to see 2 riveting performers sing/speak/recite their way thru a mannered, artsy, sluggish avant-garde experiment in a new arts space.

Don't see it if ur a Whishaw or Fleming fan & expect an easily accessible piece of theatre. [This is strictly for fans of Carson or nonconformist theatre.]

Also The obvious draw of this piece is the star power of Fleming & Whishaw ... Read more Read less

65
Indulgent, Edgy, Confusing, Cliched, Ambitious

See it if As it hypotically moves in & out of clarity, seems to be less about Greek saga as about women's empowerment Whishaw & esp Fleming quite good

Don't see it if Writing is dense, opaque & willfully esoteric yet strangely compelling as an exotic soundscape Monroe/Helen figure conjures doomed soul

60
Confusing, Disappointing, Edgy, Indulgent, Great singing

See it if only if you are a devoted fan of either Renée Fleming or Ben Whishaw.

Don't see it if you have no patience for pretentious, confusing, underlit productions.

65
Indulgent, Slow, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you're a fan of Renee Fleming or Ben Whishaw. The soundscape is interesting and the set is beautiful.

Don't see it if you want a play that will hold your attention. It is a poetic play and experimental, but that should not mean boring and indulgent.

55
Indulgent, Excruciating, Dizzying, Great acting, Confusing

See it if What the ever loving fuck was that? Ben Whishaw and Renée Fleming were fully committed, so that's something.

Don't see it if This is not theatre. It is something approximating performance art. I guess.

58
Convoluted misconception of conflicting concepts

See it if Renee Fleming and Ben Whishaw are enough to keep your attention for 90 minutes; both performers are excellent despite the "play".

Don't see it if you are hoping for a lot of great music, acting or even context for either Greek women heroines or Marilyn Monroe.

60
Intense, Disappointing, Slow, Indulgent, Edgy

See it if both performers are terrific; Renee's voice is sublime. There are several excellent lines - but most of the text is deliberately obscure.

Don't see it if It's much too long; hard to hear the dialogue & hard to see. So edgy as to be alienating and there's little effort to communicate

Also with the audience- it's maddening. There is lovely, painful poetry bur... Read more Read less

50
Excruciating, Quirky, Dizzying, Confusing

See it if You like mystifying 'off the wall' plays which has a confusing dialogue and libretto where ancient Greece is conflated with a sixties icon

Don't see it if You like a play with a defined plot, any sort of clarity of spoken or sung words or a clear point.

Also This is an exceedingly confusing and bewildering play with two charact... Read more Read less

50
Edgy, Confusing, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if Two great performances....but to what end? The premise was interesting but far too buried in incomprehensible narrative.

Don't see it if I can't recommend this one to anyone but an opera fan who wants to see Renee Fleming in an unusual role in a small space.

Also The Shed is a cool space, although you go through a maze to get to the... Read more Read less

65
Weird, Meaningless, Intense, Great acting, Confusing

See it if You love great performers having a game go at very challenging material

Don't see it if you dislike abstract theater with no discernable plot

60
Ambitious, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if you want to see Ben, clearly a great actor. Unique mood experience. Not traditional at all. I almost liked it. Glad I went.

Don't see it if non-traditional theater is not appealing to you as you will hate this intensely. Don't go to see Renee Fleming-supporting, little singing.

52
Indulgent, Great acting, Disappointing, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if Liking this piece is more of a challenge than not. Two sensationally talented performers just don't pull it off.

Don't see it if You need to alphabetize your CD collection and have been putting it off.

68
Bizarre, Ambitious, Surrealist, Great acting

See it if you enjoy avante garde surrealist drama, you like non-traditional experimental theatre, you are a Ben Whishaw fan

Don't see it if you are expecting opera from Mz Fleming, you don't like avante garde theatre, you need performances that "make sense".

Also Firstly The Shed is a gorgeous new space and I was so pleased at how c... Read more Read less


April 10th, 2019
""Less a play than a staged poem...Carson is not the most immediately accessible of writers. Nor is Ms. Mitchell one to lead her audiences by the hand...Sometimes Carson’s conjunctions of figures past and present can seem both too obvious and too obscure. The show’s surprisingly predictable conc...
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April 9th, 2019
"A piece that is luxurious and glossy, and that radiates intellect and pedigree...But ‘Norma Jeane' never manages to be more than...its superparts. It is stifling in its self-conscious gorgeousness...Although everyone involved is at the top of their games, ‘Norma Jeane Baker of Troy’ is not affec...
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April 10th, 2019
“’Norma Jeane Baker of Troy’ is an embarrassment...’Norma Jeane Baker of Troy’ is a bore, for Carson’s ‘verse’ is flat-footed, clunkily colloquial and very political...A humorless two-person ‘melologue’...Clark’s score is a monotonous wall-to-wall carpet of synthesized drones and sound effects......
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April 9th, 2019
“Despite Whishaw’s vocal and physical flexibility, the production eventually starts to feel like a pretentious, rambling bore. Followers of experimental theater may be able to make sense of the piece, however, and fans of Whishaw and Fleming may also find it somewhat interesting."
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