Already closed | 1h 30m | Midtown W

Rules of Desire

From 90 member  reviews
Members say: Intense, Edgy, Absorbing, Great acting, Raunchy

About the show

This world premiere drama explores issues of power, self-preservation, and profound humanism, as three characters battle for love, lust, and survival. Note: contains graphic sexual conversation. More…

From the show:

A startling and timely play by the author of EXTREMITIES, RULES OF DESIRE explores issues of power, self-preservation and profound humanism in the context of a frightening beautiful drama. Three characters battle for love, lust, and survival with stealth and a surprising element of comedy.

1h 30m | Already closed | The Playroom Theater (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (90)


Intense, Edgy, Absorbing, Great acting, Raunchy
Avg Score

Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if If you want a serious, at times depressing. Good acting and strong language. Good lighting and sound.

Don't see it if If depressing matters are not for you. Strong language and content. Starts slow and picks up steam.

Twisted, Voyeuristic, Toxic

See it if A twisted and toxic chief naval officer "overbrimming with bitter bile" obsesses over his object of desire: A trapped victimised stowaway.

Don't see it if Necrophilia."I know how to bend a coat hanger/Let's look at the numbers & determine your value/I'd love to see you up your value/Drop towel"

Also "I can divine the female soul through her panties/I can't rock 'n' rol... Read more Read less


See it if Somewhat watchable show of a woman illegally snuck aboard a nuclear submarine and what happens.

Don't see it if It's all just talk, talk, talk. Nothing much really happens except a bizarre self-inflicted thing later on. Slow & repetitive. 1hr40min.

Thought-provoking, Intense, Edgy

See it if You want to see a playwright take a humongous chance and succeed.

Don't see it if You have trouble with gritty dramas that tackle subjects a lot of playwrights don’t have the guts to tackle.

Also William M. is a God. I applaud him in every way possible for taking su... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Relevant, Intense, Raunchy, Edgy

See it if You’re up for an intensely graphic tour of a porn-addicted misogynist’s brain.Sharp, graphic and honest writing, though unbelievable premise

Don't see it if Easily triggered by threats of sexual violence, remarkably frank vulgarity or extreme objectification of women and their bodies.

Also Mastrosimone's new play is an interesting exercise in the use of langu... Read more Read less

The 'felicia' character shows how to stand your ground, tho she does strip to bra&panties. but no sex, cpo harvey weinstein!, Indulgent, Great acting, Christopher sutton plays the porn-programmed cpo & has 90% of the lines in the show. "waiting for godot"s lucky should be next for him?, There's no real or faux sex, just a lot of intimidation.

See it if I heard a lot of conflicting reviews about this show, but you'll only be offended if you're not a 'guy'. Porn talk is pretty normal for us.

Don't see it if Don't go if U R expecting a "sex show" or nudity. Most of it is talk-talk-talk, but it could offend people that are inexperienced sexually.

Also The PLAYROOM theater must have been an old strip joint before Actors-E... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to get inside the brain of a damaged abuser. Great acting by this character.

Don't see it if you want a clear message, purpose, or vision that really makes you feel something.

Also My husband thought the message was about showing kindness and empathy ... Read more Read less

Insipid, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You're curious to see a new William Mastrosimone play.

Don't see it if You want a play where the characters are fully fleshed out.

Also I think this was intended to be erotic game of two strong willed peopl... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Refreshing, Great writing, Intense

See it if A striking new play, up close and personal with problem topics. Intense but nimble enough with language and performance

Don't see it if Don’t like graphic or shocking discussions of sex

Ambitious, Riveting, Profound, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You can handle up close and personal look at a damaged abuser's mindset and a misguided way of expressing desire.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy intense themes, strong language.

Also A strong piece of work with an intense story that showcases the depths... Read more Read less

Intense, Intelligent, Great writing, Absorbing, Edgy

See it if you are interested in psychological dramas.

Don't see it if you are put off by frank and misogynistic sexual banter.

Excruciating, Indulgent, Overrated, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if you enjoy violence and sex without much depth or logic. Utterly a waste of time.

Don't see it if you have respect for emotions and the right to self determination or you expect good acting.

High stakes drama with intense character study

See it if you liked "Extremities" and want to see William Mastrosimone's new piece about a twisted man and the woman who outsmarts him.

Don't see it if you are triggered by depictions of the threat of sexual assault or tales of imperfect military life.

Absorbing, Intense, Edgy, Good acting

See it if you like intense dramas with a focus on the minds and interactions of a dominant male and his "prey" in a sexual power situation.

Don't see it if dont like sexually explicit dialogue

Entertaining, Edgy, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like stories with twists, stories that challenge you to empathize with 'bad' guys, and some surprisingly excellent acting.

Don't see it if I was surprised to not leave this play offended, but there are some confusing messages about consent, misogyny and power here.

Raunchy, Disappointing, Intense

See it if You are not bothered by foul language and a dark and edgy play that is quite vulgar

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with sexual situations and a plausible theme.

Great acting, Disappointing, Slow

See it if If you have nothing to do on a Saturday night. A bit boring and although the actors worked hard--it became tedious.

Don't see it if If you are looking for a show to knock your socks off.

Absorbing, Intense, Quirky, Great writing, Great acting

See it if See this show for the acting, story and staging. It felt as if one were confined to the ship where it takes place. Real psychological angst.

Don't see it if You don't like gritty scenarios or if you cannot accept servicemen with foibles.

Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Cliched, Intense, Relevant

See it if you do not mind a man showing his disrespect for women. Filthy language and disturbing theme. Intense acting by lead. Effective.

Don't see it if you are offended by sexist language and disturbing sexual themes.

Funny, Great acting, Intense

See it if you like stories with an unexpected outcome. It's quirky yet both dramatic and funny. Good one liners.

Don't see it if you only like rom-coms. It has suspense not a pat end

Intense, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if You appreciate the unexpected & quickly bounce back if offended. You're game to follow the story regardless of where it goes.Great acting.

Don't see it if You want big colorful sets and lots of scene changes. You expect people to behave a certain way. Outlandish plot.

Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Intense, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if You want a psychological story that is gripping and at times hard to watch and a twist at the end.

Don't see it if You can’t handle fbombs and sexual issues or are easily triggered.

Raunchy, Thought-provoking, Intense, Dizzying, Clever

See it if You want to see an unusual play that is though provoking. Good set and even some laughs despite the heavy themes.

Don't see it if The mention of sexual violence upsets you. Or sexual conversation in general.

Also Still thinking about this show days later. Really interesting.

Difficult subject matter, uneven acting, but still worth seeing

See it if Talented young actors, but the more senior actor’s performance could benefit from some variation in intensity. Staging/sets were creative.

Don't see it if Discussions of sexual violence and suicide upset or offend you.

Entertaining, Edgy, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if A really intense show by William Mastrosimone (who wrote Extremeties) great performances, plot, passionate...

Don't see it if If you don't like a show that has a sexual edge or in which you find out about a troubled character's experiences

February 24th, 2020
"Through well-crafted expository dialogue Mr. Mastrosimone spins out his goofy and corrosive scenario during a taut 90 minutes. It is solid playwrighting resulting in an icky experience with compelling flashes, ultimately being an eerie minor entertainment."
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February 25th, 2020
Score: 93%. "If you like strongly dramatic plays, go see this and see where true love lies."
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February 25th, 2020
"The first new play by William Mastrosimone to premiere in New York in some time, this 90-minute, three-character piece is a head-scratcher: Whatever points it makes get muddled by ambiguous character development, a far-fetched setup and one long scene that gives new meaning to 'toxic masculinity.'"
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