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

39
Excruciating, Insipid, Nonsensical, Pretentious, Indulgent

See it if no reason to go.

Don't see it if not even if you must see one of the actors.

Also this was a total mess. Flemming doesn't even speak in the first 30 min... Read more Read less

22
Pointless, Boring, Excruciating, Disappointing

See it if You want an excuse to check out Hudson Yards or The Shed.

Don't see it if You don't want to be bored. The first 30mins of this show is literally a man dictating a script to a woman who is typing. Seriously? lol

Also The lighting is so dark that you can barely make out the faces of the ... Read more Read less

31
Boring, Slow, Excruciating, Great singing, Disappointing

See it if you are fans of both terrific performers and don't care what they are doing.This is dull, overwrought, over written and way too long.

Don't see it if you can avoid it.It really felt as if I had just wasted 90 minutes, plus travel time, plus time away from my dog, plus money for the ticket.

41
Stultifying, Indulgent, Excruciating, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if You love experimental poetry or performance art.

Don't see it if You want to hear Fleming’s operatic splendor or see Whishaw’s acting brilliance.

Also Conceptually interesting, but an incomprehensible mess in reality. Dar... Read more Read less

49
Dull, Boring, Excruciating, Not that hard to follow, but, why bother?, Tragic waste of two talented performers

See it if you're eager to see New York's newest Broadway style theatrical venue or you really want to see Renee Fleming and Ben Whishaw in person.

Don't see it if you expect a coherent, thought-provoking play or if you don't want to spend 90 min feeling like 90 hr in a mostly impersonal, dark theater

49
Quirky, Indulgent, Dizzying, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if You enjoy experimental theater, or want to see something that is strange and weird.

Don't see it if You need a clear plot, don’t enjoy plays that take a lot of chances.

39
Quirky, Excruciating, Disappointing

See it if If you want to see the new theater at the Shed

Don't see it if One of the worst plays I have ever seen. Felt sorry for the two actors cannot believe they inaugurated the new theater with this disappoint

36
Boring, Slow, Great singing, Excruciating, Confusing

See it if you need a nap.

Don't see it if you care about plot, structure, etc. The play is someone dictating a play to a secretary. Punctuation and all. Sooo slow.

20
Cliched, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You love postmodern, very experimental work, that the rest of us can't follow. Or just don't want to.

Don't see it if It was hard to follow. And what I did catch, wasn't worth it.

Also It takes a lot for me to write a negative review, but this is such a w... Read more Read less

46
Disappointing, Confusing

See it if Ben Whishaw and Renee Flemming. Go watch the show for them, and only them.

Don't see it if Like I said they were the only highlight of the show. It was quite confusing, and hard to follow. IMO a waste of their talent.

49
Indulgent, Disappointing, Confusing, Banal

See it if You want to be bored even with stellar actors.

Don't see it if You like Anne Carson - the production does not do justice to her text at all.

24
Slow, Indulgent, Excruciating, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if No matter how big of a fan of Ben or Renee you are, there is no reason to subject yourself to such torture. Ben's acting/voice were great

Don't see it if Impossible to follow the story, the dictation is very annoying, there are often competing sounds which are irritating. Huge failure

45
Waste of talent, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if You want to see the shed and/or the new shopping mall

Don't see it if You’re looking for a coherent theatrical experience,

31
Great acting, Disappointing, Dated, Confusing, Cliched

See it if You want to see two great performers try to salvage a horrid piece of pretentious writing. Honestly, it was quite painful to see.

Don't see it if You expect anything from the story or want to see a clever or slightly entertaining play. Don’t go if you have anything better to do.

4
Insipid, Excruciating, Banal, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if It’s the only alternative to root canal work ...we’ll actually come to think of it

Don't see it if You don’t want to get angry at pretentious nonsense .

48
Excruciating, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if Adore Renee Fleming, are interested in checking out New York's newest cultural center,

Don't see it if Want a play that "sheds" light on either Marilyn Monroe or Helen of Troy, because this doesn't. It is both cliched and confusing.

Also Seats are very comfy when/if you fall asleep. Hope future productions ... Read more Read less

40
Disappointing, Slow, Dizzying, Ambitious, Clever

See it if You don't like plot lines. You aren't looking for a traditional play. You want to see sharp acting.

Don't see it if You are looking for a constant story that flows. You don't want to be taken out of your comfort zone.

Also The theater was near empty on a Saturday night. All patrons had the op... Read more Read less

5
Disappointing, Confusing, Excruciating

See it if You want to torture yourself!

Don't see it if You can find a better way to spend 90 minutes - even if to take a nap. I could not follow the story. (I assume there was one.)

Also The playwrite, I believe, was too self-indulgent! I would have rated t... Read more Read less

30
Overrated, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you are someone who likes for your dentist to fill a cavity without novacaine.

Don't see it if if you have something else to do.

5
Disappointing, Slow, Confusing

See it if you enjoy fever dreams from which there is no escape.

Don't see it if you require a sensical narrative or any connection to the characters on the stage.

Also The repetitive nature of the dialogue, coupled with a moody set and li... Read more Read less

During previews
15
Ambitious, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you like experimental plays and would like to see a play that is a hard to follow poem, you want to se renée and ben

Don't see it if you like structured and more concrete narratives

Also I really wanted to like this and was excited to see it but this was ve... Read more Read less

During previews
1
Banal, Excruciating, Insipid, Indulgent, Cliched

See it if You like watching in horror as two performers at the top of their game are trapped in a pretentious play that criminally wastes them

Don't see it if you’re not into pseudo-intellectual crap

Also I was very disappointed at how badly this was written. It’s supposed t... Read more Read less

During previews
18
Indulgent, Excruciating, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if You enjoy poem/plays that include lines about wind phones producing Truman Capote.

Don't see it if This idea had so much potential, but you’re left with a lot of pretentious imagery and no connection to the audience. Poor Renée and Ben.


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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