Already closed | 2h 30m | West Village

Novenas for a Lost Hospital

From 23 member  reviews
Members say: Resonant, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Ambitious, Absorbing

About the show

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater presents the world premiere of this communal experience to remember, honor, re-imagine, and celebrate St Vincent’s Hospital.  More…

From the show:

Novenas for a Lost Hospital is a communal experience to remember, honor, re-imagine and celebrate St Vincent’s Hospital. Inspired by the caretakers and patients of St. Vincent's Hospital, and guided by Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, this unique event takes a 60-person audience on a journey from an enclosed garden to Rattlestick’s intimate West Village theater to the NYC AIDS Memorial Park.

Check-in times are at 6:30 and 7:00 at St John's in the Village (218 W 11th St.). Both check-in times will be united for the stage performance of the play; we are staggering our audience entrance times because of the unique nature of our prologue.

Notice: Put on your sneakers (or most comfortable pair of shoes) and leave your heavy bags at home because Novenas for a Lost Hospital is a mobile experience. Your experience will start either at 6:30 or at 7:00 based on your chosen entrance time. We will start at ST. JOHN'S IN THE VILLAGE (below our theater at 218 West 11th Street), then move up the stairs to our theater, then move back downstairs a few blocks away to visit the NYC AIDS Memorial. Due to the traveling nature of this production, we encourage you to let us know if you anticipate having any difficulty traveling with us.

2h 30m | Already closed | Rattlestick Theatre (West Village)

Member Reviews (23)


Resonant, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Ambitious, Absorbing
Avg Score

Reverent, Sentimental, Quirky, Historical, Informative

See it if Fictional vignettes of life at St. V's hospital during the 1849 cholera epidemic & the AIDS crisis. Touching group walk to the AIDS memorial

Don't see it if The eulogy would be more meaningful to a longtime resident of the Village. Informative history, but mostly goopy nostalgia.

Indulgent, Resonant, Slow, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if Elegiac, immersive portrayal of the history of St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village; mourns loss of both hospital & village's spirit

Don't see it if Drama's tone veers between historical & fantastical often w/clumsy dialogue but it's open & vulnerable Strong cast led by Chalfant & Keith

Great acting, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy moving between physical locations, miss St. Vincent's Hospital, recall the AIDS epidemic, learn about role St. John's in pt. care

Don't see it if don't want to recall Village life during AIDS, don't want to move between 3 locations, don't care about St. Vincent history or AIDS memorial

Resonant, Relevant, Great staging, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you are a fan of Kathleen Chalfant.

Don't see it if the reminder of the death on St. Vincent Hospital is too much to bear.

Also One of the most interestingly presented plays of the season. The play ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Quirky, Resonant, Relevant

See it if Ingratiating to a bit of NY history. Insightful. Disappointingly, didn’t do walk due to weather.

Don't see it if No connection or interest in history of the Village, HIV, healthcare and St. Vincent’s.

Slow, Resonant, Intelligent, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You have a connection to St. Vincents, to the AIDS epidemic, like experimental theater, or want to see a show that reaches beyond boundaries

Don't see it if You want a tidy plot line, a neat ending, a linear story, or just don’t like the subject matter. There was a lot to like, but incoherent.

Great staging, Funny, Ambitious, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you're a fan of New York City's lost history. It's a moving show literally and figuratively as winds through time and the Village.

Don't see it if history plays or AIDS themes don't interest you. It could be trimmed by 20 mins but a strong cast make for a thoroughly enjoyable journey.

Resonant, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You like an historical New York.story told in an unusual and creative way

Don't see it if You want to see a fast moving story on a proscenium stage.

Evocative, Slow, Ambitious, Resonant, Relevant

See it if You want to learn some NY history, lost someone to AIDS, can be a patient listener, want a moving stroll to the AIDS memorial at the end

Don't see it if You want a traditional storyline. Play is overlong here and there. They count out 9 novenas one by one; by 4, we were checking our watches

Very compelling story well told

See it if you're interested in the story of a hospital that was an integral part of the neighborhood addressing the cholera and AIDS crises. Loved it!

Don't see it if You prefer to sit in one place during a show. This show starts in one place, walks to the theater, and ends with another walk.

Resonant, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you have any connection to the village, St. Vincent's, AIDS in the 80s/90s, alternative theater experiences. KC and rest of cast were great.

Don't see it if You don't want to change locations while experiencing theater event. If you can't connect to time travel/afterlife in theater.

Also I was very moved by the interwoven stories. I enjoyed learning the his... Read more Read less

Uneven, Moving, Resonant, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy history, and you'll learn a lot in this show. There's also a bit of walking in the show.

Don't see it if You don't like when figures from different time periods collide on stage together, or shows that get you moving.

Relevant, Immersive, Inventive, Great acting

See it if you want to experience an immersive show with some great acting and non-linear storytelling.

Don't see it if you don't like to move. This is an immersive show - it starts outside in the courtyard and then goes to the theatre and then back out again

Also Several of the actors (Kathleen Chalfant, Kelly McAndrew & Alvin Keith... Read more Read less

Profound, Confusing, Absorbing

See it if are interested in the AIDS epidemic, unique forms of story-telling, and interactive theatre.

Don't see it if want to be seated (audiences move locations) and if you want a traditional, linear play. It's at first a pretty confusing story!

Absorbing, Resonant, Intelligent

See it if You are connected to: St. Vincent's Hospital, the west village, the history of HIV, queer community, medical community, or you are nostalgic

Don't see it if you have a short attention span

During previews
Political, Sad, Communal, Hopeful, Handsome

See it if you’d like to experience a sensitive evocation of the AIDS Plague that sets it in historical & contemporary political contexts.

Don't see it if even a sensitive evocation of the Plague Years would be too difficult for you to sit through.

Also In my Show-Score bio I mention my deep involvement with the AIDS activ... Read more Read less

During previews
Creative evocation of life & death of st. vincent's hospital, foremost nyc aids treatment center; doesn't always hang together

See it if creatively moves across centuries 2 show Catholic hospital as sanctuary 4 healing; shows key clash religion/science; spurs audience particip

Don't see it if jumps around, no sustained, deep exploration of themes; use of humanitarians Mother Seton/Pierre Toussaint as major characters is contrived

Also Spoiler alert: Experience takes place in 3 parts, in 3 different place... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if you are interested in the loss of a Village bulwark that brought care to thousands over 160 years only to be replaced by high-priced condos.

Don't see it if you are not interested in the history of New York City from the cholera epidemic of the 1840s to the AIDS crisis and onward.

Also It is a multimedia environmental piece that moves from the courtyard o... Read more Read less

During previews
Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You mourn the destruction of important NYC institutions & want to remember their contributions. Wonderful Kathleen Chalfant stars!

Don't see it if You applaud development, don’t care about the past.

During previews
Sentimental, Slow, Disappointing, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if you're up for a sentimental, overlong, dramatically inert history lesson about St. Vincent's hospital. Tedious, but Chalfant is luminous.

Don't see it if you have little patience for touchy-feely audience participation, lack of narrative, or the AIDS era being given a romanticized once-over.

During previews
Resonant, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy great acting, small stage productions, artful staging telling a heartfelt story about an amazing NY institution no longer.

Don't see it if you don't like small stage productions, don't want to have to think or feel while watching a beautiful play nor like non linear story lines.

During previews
Important, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if You’re troubled by changes in the city that make it less human & less humane. As a play it has some flaws but as a theater piece it’s great

Don't see it if You have mobility challenges and might be uncomfortable. There’s a lot of standing and walking about and the seats are punishing.

Also Telling the story of cholera and AIDS through those who cared for pati... Read more Read less

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You like thought provoking plays. Something different in the presentation - 3 locations. Plays with a message

Don't see it if You don’t like to climb a set of stairs.

September 19th, 2019
"‘Novenas’ Offers Prayers for a Hospital That Died: The epicenter of New York’s AIDS epidemic, St. Vincent’s (1849-2010) is the subject of a memorial service that’s also a play."
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September 19th, 2019
3/5 Stars "There are lovely sequences and forgettable ones; the play's tone alternates between earnest sermonizing and scenes of joy amid the ashes."
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September 19th, 2019
2.5/4 Stars "A roaming elegy for St. Vincent's Hospital"
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September 19th, 2019
"Novenas for a Lost Hospital Exhumes the Legacy of Manhattan's Last Catholic Hospital: Rattlestick Playwrights Theater presents an ambitious eulogy to its departed neighbor."
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