Pity in History
Closed 1h 5m
Pity in History
69

Pity in History NYC Reviews and Tickets

69%
(39 Reviews)
Positive
56%
Mixed
39%
Negative
5%
Members say
Confusing, Ambitious, Disappointing, Great acting, Slow

About the Show

Potomac Theatre Project presents Howard Barker's 17th-century British civil war drama updated to the present day. A sexy, brazen, and funny examination of a society rife with competing ideologies.

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Member Reviews (39)

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80
Intelligent, Relevant, Quirky, Complex, Challenging

See it if Intellectually challenging satire about the necessity and folly of art and war, and the people that pursue them. Witty and deep.

Don't see it if You are looking for more of an emotional connection to the characters.

75
Ambitious, Great acting, Confusing, Profound

See it if think that one can solve the problems of war.Better than I expected. Great talent

Don't see it if were looking for a fun musical. Clever work but only 65 minutes

Critic Reviews (17)

The New York Times
July 19th, 2017

“In Howard Barker’s ‘Pity in History,’ the only sure things are death, destruction and a mordant sense of humor…Solidly anchored by Mr. Dykes and Mr. Tindle in comic performances veined with sympathy, this production proves the piece’s merit for the stage. The soldier-dominated scenes could use more concentrated energy, though, and the play’s villainous rich widow seems anomalous in Mr. Romagnoli’s grand scheme.”
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Time Out New York
July 19th, 2017

“Even high expectations, however, won’t prepare you for the show’s lacerating excellence. This is a short, sharp, shockingly funny production that oxygenates the blood...Gaukroger (the wry, hilarious Dykes)…is the typical Barker antihero: a wise cynic, a mouthy craftsman who knows his (and dogma’s) worth, though he does get one thing wrong. ‘Nothing beautiful is made after five o’clock,’ he says while holding forth about an artist’s workday. Tosh, I say. The show started at seven.”
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Theatermania
July 24th, 2017

"The doubleheader is not for the casual theatergoer, but is worth the effort if you're in the market for some intellectual heavy lifting delivered by a company of actors who forsake highbrow pomposity for sincere understanding of their work...Directed with unabashed grit by Richard Romagnoli...The world Barker paints in his hour-long drama is one turned cold and chaotic by the selfishness of man."
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Talkin' Broadway
July 18th, 2017

“The artist is a mason named Gaukroger played with beautiful restraint by Steven Dykes, attempting to complete the carving of a funeral monument in the crypt of a cathedral with his apprentice Pool, a spot-on Matt Ball, for the widow Venables, a glamorous Kathleen Wise…‘Pity In History’ illuminates the conflict and contradiction that inherently come to light when chaos and art face off against each other.”
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TheaterScene.net
July 20th, 2017

"An interesting but unsatisfying historical fantasia...This incarnation inexplicably updates the material visually with contemporary costumes. If nothing else, this adds crackle to the rather turgid script...Director Richard Romagnoli’s physical staging is precise, lively and impressive. Mr. Romagnoli’s work with the cast, all of whom employ strong British accents, is equally as accomplished...'Pity in History’s' cast and technical team works wonders with this minor curio."
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Theatre is Easy
July 20th, 2017

"An energizing take on a deeply human conflict...A perfect fit for those looking for a more cerebral night at the theater...The cast does a nice job bringing immediacy to some very heady material...'Pity ' sweeps through the stage and seems to exit as swiftly as it entered. It offers something touching and sad that is then taken away, to live on in memory...A lot of power in this compact play."
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Theater Pizzazz
July 18th, 2017

“A pithy, biting, thought-provoking black comedy…Dykes’ mason is both everyman and larger-than-life as he elucidates the playwright’s thoughts and observations on war and the human condition. His splendid portrayal is earthy and all-encompassing…While the characters exist to espouse the playwright’s views they are all carefully crafted, flesh and blood individuals…The splendid direction is by Romagnoli, who hones the dark comic lines even as the brutality of battle remains front and center.”
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CurtainUp
July 22nd, 2017

"As a television script, 'Pity in History' is a trifle static (to my American sensibility, it feels more 1970s than 1980s); but, for that reason, it works nicely as a stage play. It runs just over an hour and that brevity minimizes the customary Barkerian wear and tear on the audience. Directed with attention to pace and visual composition by Richard Romagnoli, 'Pity in History' features an estimable performance by Jonathan Tindle."
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Stage Buddy
July 19th, 2017

"A political satire with the feel of a parable...This world premiere production transplants the text into a modern-feeling ethos. Gaukroger (an affecting and funny turn by Steven Dykes), his apprentice, Pool (the excellent Matt Ball), and a unit of soldiers take up residence in a cathedral...The resonances here are sprawling and work as well for the Thatcherite regime originally in its crosshairs as it does for today's zealous administrations both in Barker's native England and in the States.”
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Front Mezz Junkies
July 19th, 2017

“Interesting and smart…Remarkably funny and challenging…The artist, Gaukroger, is beautifully played with humor and depth by Dykes…Using humor and sincerity, Barker as seen through the sharp directorial eyes of Romagnoli, reminds us of the brutality generated by ideological postures and politics. And although there are moments of unclear intentions, the piece has staying power. It will float through our thoughts and dive deep into our emotional consciousness.”
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T
July 23rd, 2017

"Raises rich and enduring questions...Under Romagnoli’s astute direction, the Potomac Theatre Project/NYC has reimagined Barker’s television play for the live stage with considerable success...The cast is uniformly excellent as is the overall staging of this important play. Each cast member delivers an authentic performance that exponentially strengthens the brilliant work of this ensemble cast."
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W
July 19th, 2017

“Fluidly woven into a tapestry of extremism, impotence, defense, and survival, the play’s multiple factions are as familiar today as they are in context. The company is terrific. Of special note: Steven Dykes’s Gaukroger is easygoing, honest, practical and proud…We observe a whole person. As Murgatroyd, Jonathan Tindle persuasively delivers humor, poignancy, fear, feistiness, and anger trippingly off an unleashed tongue…Director Richard Romagnoli viscerally realizes this heady play.”
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BlogCritics.org
July 25th, 2017

“Thought-provoking and well-acted, if confusing at times…Rather unconvincingly repositioned into the present day, but it still hits home with a strong multipart message…In Steven Dykes’s magnetically compelling portrayal, Gaukroger the mason is at once a bossy, money-hungry blowhard and the humane soft center of the hard and bloody nut in which he and his apprentice, Pool find themselves…A polished, powerful, challenging piece of art.”
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Off Off Online
July 24th, 2017

"A deeply thought-provoking play...These actions are tightly composed under Richard Romagnoli’s precise and effective direction which highlights Barker’s poignant and poetic language. Although Murgatroyd and Gaukroger both offer a voice of reason in the midst of death and destruction, they don’t have straightforward answers. Instead they have smart and well-phrased questions, and we hope someone will come out in one piece to answer them."
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T
July 20th, 2017

"Howard Barker’s 1985 teleplay is a striking revelation, on stage for the first time thanks to Potomac Theatre Project. Rife with contradictions and thick with symbolic power, the 65-minute piece is an electric exchange of ideas...The use of the soldiers as a chorus is astonishing and effective. It is rare to see space and light sculpted so boldy with human bodies...We are witnessing a practiced hand executing the vision of one of the company’s signature playwrights...It’s a shot of adrenaline."
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Village Voice
July 20th, 2017

"There are more ideas chewed up and invigoratingly spit out in five minutes of Howard Barker’s 65-minute 'Pity in History' than in many plays of greater length...The meaty flavor of his writing is so intense, and his point-of-view shifts so seamless, that our expected reactions to what his characters say are constantly being thwarted, waylaid, even mocked...'Pity in History' has both the thrill of destruction and the nourishment of creation."
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New York Arts
July 23rd, 2017

"There are Shakespearean overtones along the way...The performances are beautifully nuanced and well-directed by Romagnoli who has updated the setting to the modern day...PTP/NYC continues to redefine politically aware theatre for the 21st century by presenting theatrically complex and thought-provoking work of contemporary social and cultural relevance...'Pity in History' is great theater for today."
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