The Baroness - Isak Dinesen's Final Affair
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The Baroness - Isak Dinesen's Final Affair

The Baroness - Isak Dinesen's Final Affair NYC Reviews and Tickets

(71 Reviews)
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Scandinavian American Theater Company presents the U.S. premiere of this drama inspired by the true story of author Isak Dinesen's relationship with a much younger poet.

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Member Reviews (71)

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Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Rich, Curious staging

See it if You want to see a drama, fully developed with rich characters, great acting, lovely costumes and interesting set and lighting.

Don't see it if You want a light fast paced evening.

Slow, Great acting, Indulgent, Disappointing, Clunky writing

See it if You like plays about historical figures. You enjoy plays about art & its process. You have some familiarity w/Isak Dinesen's work.

Don't see it if You want natural dialogue & characters: the text is Very Important & the characters never felt like real people. Read more

Almost interesting. not quite.

See it if you're interested in isak dinesen.

Don't see it if you're not interested in isak dinesen.

Ponderous, Arch, Blixen a la cadaverous glenn close sunset blvd, Precious, Self important

See it if You like mannered, larger than life exaggerated central characters. Lovely staging. Slow but I liked the timing. 130 minutes.

Don't see it if the invocation of magic and demons with an omnipotent, omnipresent lead fails to appeal. Very stylized, not much actually happens. Read more

Great acting, Profound, Slow

See it if A complex play about Karen Blixen involving themes of love, loss and commitment. A bit slow with the first act lasting 90 min.

Don't see it if If you enjoy light musicals or dramas with a simple message.

Great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if you are curious about writers' process, relationship of writer and his muse, and what happened to Karen Blixen after Kenya (Out of Africa).

Don't see it if you crave more action or music than talk, or are not interested in poetry, writing poetry or fiction for publication, or historical drama

Generally enjoyable, But not engaging

See it if You are interested in Isak Dinesen and enjoy biographical plays. The lead was quite good, but some of the other acting was rather uneven.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy historical plays, or plays which incorporate poetry into the scenes.

Absorbing, Imaginitive, Charming, Great staging, Quirky

See it if you're game to be lulled into an intriguing mentor-mentee relationship story; if you like inventive use of music (original & Chopin mix).

Don't see it if you're uncomfie with dynamic (not always believable) of forceful older woman & naive, younger man; you loathe those herbal cigarettes. Read more

Critic Reviews (15)

September 7th, 2017

"The second act doubles down on the less interesting angle of Krebs's drama in ways that make its ending play as more of an exhausted shrug than a satisfying, if tragic, conclusion...The drama, for the most part, is riveting, especially with Pelletier commanding our attention as Blixen...As a character study of an irresistibly eccentric and elusive artist, 'The Baroness' leaves a lasting impression long after the details of this particular affair have dissolved."
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Lighting & Sound America
September 11th, 2017

"A bizarre hybrid of highfalutin book chat, gossipy revelations, and sexual intrigues. It isn't good, but it certainly is a camp...'The Baroness' is weighed down by loads of pretentious dialogue and an inability to render its central situation in any kind of believable way...Pelletier is a fine actress, and her excesses here are surely in the service of her director and the script. At least she keeps things lively, as opposed to Ardelius, whose Bjørnvig is a doltish and passive male ingenue."
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September 13th, 2017

“Dramatizations of the lives of authors rarely work as it is very difficult to show them in the act of creation. In ‘The Baroness - Isak Dinesen's Final Affair,’ Thor Bjørn Krebs has brought Karen Blixen and Thorkild Bjørnvig to vivid life both as people and as artists using primary sources. Dee Pelletier and Conrad Ardelius do not seem to be acting these roles as much as living them. Just try taking your eyes away from the stage for a moment.”
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Theater Pizzazz
September 7th, 2017

"'The Baroness: Isak Dinesen’s Final Affair' is showcasing a performance so dazzling as to bring to mind all the splendid actresses who played Amanda Wingfield. This is a tour de force for Dee Pelletier...The work is abstruse, the first act seemingly endless. Although there are verbal fireworks, there is little warmth. We are not drawn to the characters, none of whom is admirable. They evoke neither empathy nor sympathy."
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September 10th, 2017

"The production's three actors make the most of the flat characters they've been given...The tale of obsession Krebs has fabricated from odds and ends of the historical record isn't likely to send playgoers in search of Dinesen's literary works. Bereft of the elegance, humor, and suspense that characterize the Baroness's own fiction, Krebs' drama offers only a couple of scenes of engaging dialogue before devolving into ponderous chatter about sad, ugly events."
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Front Mezz Junkies
September 8th, 2017

"The poetry and the artistic ideas are there...but much is lost in this overly long play, trapped in a whirlwind of repetitive dramatics and themes, and weighed down by a bland portrayal of a handsome poet...The real magic of this piece lies with Pelletier...The stage is only alive and vibrating when she is on...Some more carving and sculpturing might be required to create a truly mesmerizing and emotionally powerful portrait of this captivating woman."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
September 7th, 2017

“Biographical plays about writers and their ideas on and problems with writing rarely make great theatre…The dialogue is wooden, the situations artificial, and the inspiration commonplace. Thorkild comes off more as an earnest cipher…than a three-dimensional person. She…is…reminiscent of Gloria Swanson's more egregious moments in 'Sunset Boulevard'…'The Baroness' doesn't shed additional light on Isak Dinesen's writing…As theatre, it's rather dull stuff and could use a growling lion or two.”
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The Huffington Post
September 10th, 2017

"That she’s a mad woman, in Krebs’s dramatic estimation, gets increasingly clearer, and don’t you know there are those plays when viewers get to musing about why the character confronting such off-putting behavior doesn’t just leave? The answer to the question is usually that the playwright won’t allow it for fear of then having no play left...Pelletier, Ardelius and what they can with the hyper-roles. Director Henning Hedland should take much of the credit for that."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
September 6th, 2017

"A strange work...Anyone expecting the subtitle with the word 'Affair' to indicate some hot sex between an older woman and the young poet and writer will not find any such thing depicted...Under the direction of Hegland, Pelletier gives a go-for-broke performance that dominates the stage...The play would gain from shortening (it is two hours plus an intermission), but the performances hold attention, especially that of Pelletier in what amounts to a showcase role for her."
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September 8th, 2017

"A compelling, if lead-driven play. Blixen is consistently intriguing, the story credible. History is deftly embedded rather than crammed in as exposition...One of the ugliest, most inappropriate sets I’ve ever seen...Hegland splendidly manifests his Baroness in all respects...Acting is a mixed bag...Pelletier’s embodiment of the Baroness is pithy. Her invaluable decisions about Blixen serve voice, posture, timing, and attitude creating an intense, cohesive woman."
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September 7th, 2017

“Dee Pelletier is pulling off a brilliant turn as Karen Blixen in ‘The Baroness, Isak Dinesen's Final Affair’ at the Clurman Theater. The story sets out to detail the final mentor relationship / love affair of Blixen's life with a young poet played by Conrad Ardelius. It tells their true story as it delivers a symposium on art, love, dedication and desire. It is an inspiring show for the creator or lover of art in all forms.”
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September 20th, 2017

“The play chronicles the intense and strange relationship between the young, Thorkild Bjornvig, and the famous, Baroness Karen Blixen (known in the United States by the pseudonym Isak Dinesen), who takes a special interest in his ‘career’ after he published his collection of poems in 1947. Many aspects of this play were revealing and powerful, especially regarding the creative process which Blixen states ‘takes courage.’ I recommend it.”
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September 6th, 2017

“The production telegraphs the sinister nature of this relationship, and spells out the Greek inevitability of the poet’s fall...Ardelius plays a mannerly, almost wooden Adonis, hoping to get his groove back. Pelletier is a smokey-eyed necromancer, gliding through a script that wanders while trying to connect the historical dots...The play is a series of conversations that explore what it takes to be an artist, and what a lifetime of creativity yields."
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Village Voice
September 13th, 2017

"Both Pelletier and Ardelius are ideally cast in their roles...But there is an imbalance here in the writing. The first act lasts for an hour and a half, and so all the scenes where Blixen is yelling at or manipulating Bjørnvig get tiring...Yet this look at Blixen’s last great platonic love affair is studded with some of the best observations from her stories and interviews, and these lines, as delivered by Pelletier, have a romantic force that lingers."
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Off Off Online
September 12th, 2017

"Krebs’ free-ranging interpretation of Bjørnvig and Blixen’s relationship is a charged, if occasionally uneven, treatment of ambition, love, literature, and pain…This plays out best in moments of intense emotion, where Krebs has wrought some fine dialogue…Their sexual chemistry is surprisingly palpable, and Hegland somehow imbues a sense of will-they-or-won’t-they into the narrative in spite of Blixen’s weltering temper, their age difference and their continual clash of egos."
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