This family drama allegorically asks: how are white Americans haunted by and continually complicit in the sustained trauma against black Americans? Presented by Next Door at NYTW. More…
'Terminus' tells the story of Eller--a poor, white matriarch-- and her mixed-race grandson, Jaybo, who live together down by the railroad tracks in rural Georgia. When Eller's mind begins to fade, her violent past in the segregated South haunts her from the very walls of the old family home. And as she descends terrifyingly closer toward a horrifying truth, Jaybo’s capacity to love his grandmother is put to the test.
"'Terminus' is an emotional tour de force, and while it benefits from the intimacy of its home Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop, it buzzes with the potential as the next great play in the pantheon of American theater, if only given the space...One feels the alchemy of Attic tragedy with the American theater tradition while watching the action unfold, as timeless themes of shame, legacy, fate, and family are played in the very context of American legacy and reality: racism and segregation." Full Review
"Through the clever use of cultural references and the imminent 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Dean grounds the world of Eller and Jaybo's life and creates an anchor that holds the present as Eller's haunts create chaos only she can see. Deirdre O'Connell performs beautifully...'Terminus' explores the repercussions of slavery and the willingness to forget to the past in order to create a present that is more appealing and comfortable." Full Review
"Dean is lucky that Eller is portrayed by the New York stage treasure Deirdre O’Connell, whose heartbreaking, brilliant performance never draws attention to itself, never sacrifices the character’s integrity for thespian pyrotechnics...Dean and Tiberghien do not always work in issues of race smoothly...Dean is better at atmosphere than plot details so he is best when the ground is shifting and Ms. O’Connell is trying to preserve her shaky balance." Full Review
"In the semi-autobiographical 'Terminus,' part of a seven-play cycle, playwright Gabriel Jason Dean unleashes this intriguing Southern Gothic setup, which touches off a deeply felt personal story about racism in a place that is obviously more real to Dean than imagined. Unfortunately, as it goes along, Dean's initially captivating ghost story exponentially loses steam, finally grinding to a halt well before Eller's big, shameful secret is revealed at the play's not-so-stunning conclusion." Full Review
"The challenge of 'Terminus' is how to present both worlds crisply and clearly...The Monk Parrots production doesn't completely pull this off; there are uneven performances and sometimes confusing direction...With performers as talented as the veteran Deirdre O’Connell and the up-and-comer Reynaldo Piniella, it shouldn’t be surprising that 'Terminus' offers some compelling scenes...But the play's 100 minutes often feel simultaneously padded and cluttered with incident." Full Review
"While the premise is dramatic and compelling, the production struggles to portray the story effectively...Tiberghien's staging of interactions across opposite ends of the wide stage feels like a ping-pong match...The booming gospel music confuses...The dramatic plot is also bogged down by improbable characters...Nevertheless, O'Connell's dazzling ability guides the production as true as a beacon of light. Her performance is an absolute masterclass in acting." Full Review
"A slog through a Southern Gothic swamp of guilt and racial issues, 'Terminus' is brightened by the artistry of Deirdre O’Connell...Even as the playwright fails to make a convincing case for the protagonist's racist anxieties, he further clutters matters with sidelines...Lollygagging dialogue scarcely clears up gaps in the narrative...O'Connell and her earthy performance anchor with a semblance of reality this awfully foggy tale of a haunted household." Full Review
See it if you like your theater to be boldly theatrical & deal with life-&-death material, or want to see the performance of the year.
Don't see it if you favor polite, tidy theater that dots its I's, crosses its T's & is sure to deliver a little uplift before the lights go out.
See it if you want to emotionally jump into intricate family drama with a sweeping historical focus and a large cast of characters and relationships
Don't see it if You want a linear approach that focuses on the here and now or you are not intrigued by some level of ambiguity in terms of unfolding events
See it if a fan of O'Connell's fierce commitment; you want a theatrical realization of Faulkner's admonition"The past isn't dead. It isn't even past."
Don't see it if Southern Gothic doesn't agree with you; some scenes are repetitive and the ensemble is uneven
See it if you love Dierdre O'Connell.She is perfection in a tough role.Play itself can't match her talent.She is wasted in this meandering mishmash
Don't see it if you want a coherent, well told story.Acting is uneven, but O'Connell, Butler, & Hostetler are terrific.Play drags in places.Doesn't satisfy.
See it if Tough personal reckoning with family secrets is well, if sometimes confusingly done. A few actors speak indistinctly & performance space is
Don't see it if awkward so get a center seat, but much of the action is riveting. Could use a little trimming but unusual & honest.
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