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The Bench

From 5 critic and 56 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Ambitious

About the show

Based on true stories, Robert Galinsky's solo piece explores the emotional heartbreak of five homeless characters and the catastrophic hysteria surrounding AIDS in the 1980s. More…

'The Bench's' sparse set is integrated with graphic novel art projections, from Daphne Arthur’s adaptation of the play, and the production is scored live by composer and multi-instrumentalist Deep Singh.

Lighting & Sound America

"The play is haunted by the lack of any meaningful dramatic action, as well as a tendency toward sentimentality...Galinsky has a fairly solid technique, but at times he has trouble giving the characters distinct identities...An admirable project, but as it is, it is in need of a more astringent point of view and a stronger dramatic spine. We need a more urgent reason to spend time with these characters; otherwise, just as in real life, it will be too easy to turn away when they approach." Full Review

The Knockturnal

for a previous production "Based on true stories, 'The Bench' successfully tugs at the heartstrings of its audience. Weaving in loss, love, and heartbreak through an emotional performance. This skillfully written play creates an eye-opening experience...Galinsky gives a brilliant performance filled with both high energy and emotion, endearing all five characters to the audience within an hour. A fascinating tale that brings drama, a little tragedy, and just a taste of comedy." Full Review

Metropolitan Report

for a previous production “’The Bench' is well-deserving of a legendary stage setting to let this diamond of a show shine...Not only a tour de force of Galinsky's stage writing and acting, but it truly moved me, and quite frankly left me with both awe and hope...Galinsky throws down the gauntlet as a social challenge to all of us--to be better people, see fellow humans with more empathy and to ultimately to understand that what is on the surface is not always what is underneath.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

for a previous production “Galinsky's vital solo piece, based on real people, is the most important kind of urban voyeurism...If you enjoy the work of Anna Deavere Smith, or are an active reader of those ‘Humans of New York’ posts, you're in for a treat...The respect and compassion that Galinsky has for his subjects are readily apparent...The chameleonic Galinsky transforms between various distinct personas with perfect control and ease...Each one of them has a story that needs to be heard.” Full Review


for a previous production “Though Galinsky meticulously captures the soul of each persona...there is a lack of propulsion and energy to the plot; in this instance there is not enough of to the plot to keep the audience interested...There is tension but no real conflict...Without a doubt, this is an accurate display of life for many homeless people, but onstage the absence of heightened drama feels dull." Full Review

Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Interesting

See it if You're interested in seeing homelessness in a different way. We all walk by them everyday. Robert makes us see them.

Don't see it if You're not interested in changing your perception.

Also It's a very thought-provoking show that stays with you long after you ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if You will enjoy how fast the creator/actor can switch characters. Very believable. Very insightful to the characters.

Don't see it if You have no empathy for the homeless

Dizzying, Great acting, Intense

See it if You like plays where 1 man plays multiple people. Dives a bit into the lives and conversations of homeless people.

Don't see it if Easily confused or agitated by the back and forth of one man having quick whipped conversations with himself playing multiple people

Also A good piece to check out, and a great conversation starter. Definitel... Read more Read less

Intense, Relevant, Touching, empathetic, sensitive,

See it if you enjoy intimate, one-person shows and are concerned about social problems. If you're able to work imaginatively with an actor.

Don't see it if you prefer lighter fare or shows with a large cast.

Also In a theater so small the stage can be viewed from the sidewalk, write... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if you are interested in a one man show that deals with a heart wrenching topic

Don't see it if you need more characters in a play and need an uplifting topic

Also a very talented actor playing many parts telling compelling stories of... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy a one man show describing the lives of 5 homeless individuals and what brought them to their homelessness

Don't see it if You want an upbeat linear show with fancy sets and multiple performers

Absorbing, Ambitious, Profound, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you want to live with eyes wide open to the stories of 5 homeless characters portrayed at breakneck speed by a virtuostic writer/performer.r

Don't see it if theater is your favorite escapist means - this is very compelling portraiture drawn from the author's experience with real people in the 80s

Also The actor is quite charismatic, and clearly cares about his characters... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Cliched

See it if you want to learn more about relationships in the homeless community

Don't see it if you don't like solo performers playing multiple characters or tiny "theaters.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Indulgent

See it if You appreciate hearing one mans journey presented in a way that is accessible and interesting. His struggle though unique becomes universal.

Don't see it if You don’t like one person shows. This guy’s presentation needs a bit of work but the material is worth overlooking his rough spots.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you like one-person shows and are interested in the stories of the homeless.

Don't see it if you're looking for a large production or something light hearted.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You enjoy one person shows and are interested in the stories of the homeless. It opens your eyes to the homeless as individuals.

Don't see it if You have no compassion for the homeless.

Absorbing, Dizzying, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Confusing

See it if You are interested in experiencing some of homeless people’s lives.

Don't see it if Homelessness doesn’t interest you

Funny, Absorbing, Dizzying, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a one man show with multiple characters dealing with issues of AIDS and homelessness, set in the late 70's.

Don't see it if If the above isn't your thing, or one man taking on all characters might be confusing for you. The actor does a great job, though.

Absorbing, Relevant, Resonant, Confusing, Slow

See it if you'd like to sample the lives of an assortment of New Yorkers, homeless or inadequately housed, at the height of the AIDS crisis.

Don't see it if you do not like one-person shows, or shows about the urban underbelly.

Also Robert Galinsky is a compelling performer & he has something to say. I... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Confusing

See it if you are open-minded to seeing a piece of theatre that is thought-provoking and heartfelt even if it's rough around the edges and needs work.

Don't see it if you really struggle with one-man shows. It has compelling content, but not all the performance logistics are worked out. Can get confusing.

Clever, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Resonant

See it if You like solo performance pieces inhabited by multiple characters.

Don't see it if If you are not a fan of one-person shows, or uncomfortable faced with the humor and pathos of addiction, homelessness and illness.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You like very short one man shows.

Don't see it if You have seen other great one man shows. You will be disappointed by this one.

Also I thought the premise of this show sounded interesting, which is why I... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Confusing

See it if you want to spend an hour "meeting" interesting characters who have lost their way. The stories resonate and humanity shines through.

Don't see it if You can get tickets to Freight instead. The characters are not always easily distinguishable. The delivery stilted and unpolished.

Also Having recently seen Freight, a one man show with absolute separation ... Read more Read less

Dizzying, Confusing, Disappointing, Unique

See it if if the topic interest you. want to see something different.

Don't see it if you will have a hard time differentiating characters that are not physically clarified well

Disappointing, Unsatisfying, Not fully realized, Excellent actor

See it if you'd appreciate a very good actor playing several characters; you're interested in the background stories of the homeless we pass every day

Don't see it if you need a fully realized play and plot-this felt more like a synopsis of these people's lives..

Also This show is only an hour long and I felt like I was left hanging. Thi... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Indulgent, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you like to watch workshop and if you want to see what does not work as a one man show

Don't see it if you like finished products

Ambitious, Indulgent, Banal, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You like one-man shows of all stripes. This one is less than polished.

Don't see it if You dislike one-man shows where one actor plays all the roles. You like professional performances of fully developed plays.

Also The actor/playwright seemed like he was giving his first performance o... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, A for effort

See it if You support evolving playwrights.

Don't see it if you want to see a more polished show.

Also I must say this play was rather confusing and from the description, it... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if you want your imagination to be sparked beyond your wildest dreams.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy a one-man show.

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Must see

See it if you'd like to see something new and UNIQUE!

Don't see it if you wouldn't like to see something new and unique!

Cast & Creatives (7)