Fuzzy conduct of life updated art  1
New York | 1h 5m | Already closed

The Conduct of Life

From 1 critic and 33 member reviews
Members say: Intense, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Edgy

About the show

Boundless Theatre presents María Irene Fornés’ critically acclaimed drama, which presents an unflinching portrayal of the intersection between political and personal violence. More…

The play follows Orlando, an army officer serving under the totalitarian government of an unnamed Latin American state. As he advances in his career, Orlando perpetrates state-sanctioned acts of violence, warping his psyche and gradually upending life in his household. His descent into a lifestyle of corruption and abuse leaves Orlando’s family grappling with the pernicious intrusion of state terror in their private lives. This exploration of power, gender, and greed provides a timely and brutal portrait of domestic life under authoritarianism.

1h 5m | Already closed | Teatro Circulo (East Village)


"A raucous yet insightful fantasia about military oppression taking its toll on the populace...The play is structured as 19 short, often absurdly funny and sometimes unsettling scenes, some lasting just a few seconds, that total 75 fascinating minutes...Araoz’s vibrant staging perfectly realizes Fornés’ vision...Araoz also crucially guides the vivid performances that are on display...Granados achieves a grand portrayal of a Brechtian everyman." Full Review

Clever, Edgy, Intense, Relevant, Disturbing

See it if Stunning scenes of soldier's family members coping w/ his violent depravity. Creative staging and lighting intensify the disturbing script.

Don't see it if Torture and sexual abuse. Loss of humanity, emotional pain, and extreme anger. Terrified family. Makes its point; you won't forget it.

Intense, Thought-provoking, Confusing

See it if you are able to make connections between different plot lines

Don't see it if violence depicted onstage is a trigger for you.

Also why is "the help" always the comic relief...

Intense, Uneven acting, Well-designed, Welcome fornes revival

See it if you appreciate Fornes' elliptical plays and want to see a spare but solid revival of one her compact, dreamlike plays

Don't see it if you're triggered by stage depictions of violence, psychological or physical; you don't like claustrophobic environments

Also Practical tip: arrive early to get a seat in the "front" section: you ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Intense, Confusing, Voilence

See it if Very intense story a man that wants power and what he does to get the power.

Don't see it if Deals with torture sexual abuse. You want a happy story with music, singing, dancing.

Also The story very intense and how I know the male actor was very good bec... Read more Read less

Edgy, Indulgent, Cliched, Dated, Great staging

See it if you must see all of Fornés oeuvre

Don't see it if if you have no patience for an extended sketch with only moments of humor and insight

Also Elena Arauz the director did a truly great job and Monica Steuer stole... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Relevant, Confusing

See it if you enjoy brutal depictions of cruelty and violent behavior which escalates as the production drags it's way to the finish.

Don't see it if you need a more easily understood plot and dislike the depiction of brutality and cruelty on stage; you don't care for minimalist productio


See it if You like complex plays and are able to fill in the gaps between a poorly developed storyline

Don't see it if You want the cast to show chemistry and a play to flow

Disappointing, Great concept, poor execution

See it if you believe man is inherently evil or stupid

Don't see it if you want to a show to follow through on the first stage setting scene

Also the first scene promises a show about a sociopath's rise to power. Ins... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intense, Masterful, Relevant, Great staging

See it if you like plays that reflect the current creeping growth of moral permissiveness, brilliantly acted. By brilliant Off-Off-Bway author.

Don't see it if You insist on light-hearted entertainment (no shade :)

Great acting, Profound, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You enjoy raw, truthful acting with a profound reflection of the treatment of women in traditional societies.

Don't see it if You are looking for a light evening of entertainment

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You like shows that explore the darkness of humanity

Don't see it if You like conventional storytelling, and don't like trauma and abuse onstage

Also Really great acting. The young actress playing Nena was mesmerizing to... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Intense, Must see, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you're an off-off-bway skeptic. With ingeniously economical lighting & sets, director Elena Araoz's revival of Fornes wows with intensity.

Don't see it if you don't relish an in-your-face experience. This theater is only two rows deep! On second thought, why not challenge yourself for a change?

Also Memorable line: "I wish you didn't have to be hurt."

During previews
Funny, Political, Chilling, Brilliantly acted by all, Beautifully costumed & designed

See it if you want to see a stunning production of a harrowing play by the greatest playwright the off-off-Broadway movement ever produced.

Don't see it if you don't want to be confronted with the effects of torture & sexual abuse in a tiny space, or can't abide great shifts of tone in a play.

Also Never has the slogan “The personal is political” been more forcefully ... Read more Read less

During previews
Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if You are interested in the social and psychological issues of individuals under a dictatorship. Also if you are interested in Latin Culture.

Don't see it if You can’t stand violence and want a light hearted entertainment.

During previews
Absorbing, Edgy, Intelligent

See it if Saw this production w/ 2 other folks. Amongst the 3, we had diverse reactions (1 hated it), though all thought it worthwhile to watch

Don't see it if Centered on a military torturer's private life, we see him increasingly enact punishment on his wife and a sex-prisoner trapped in his home.

Also Similar to the first half of the movie and novel "Room" - an intense f... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You like emotional dramas with some disturbing content.

Don't see it if You have any trauma history and if you are looking for a comedy.

During previews
Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound, Relevant

See it if You want to see a well directed, well acted rendition of a show that isn’t often performed and like drama with a political bent.

Don't see it if You don’t like intimate spaces.

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Intense, Great writing

See it if A timeless play by one of the US' greatest dramatists. A story about greed, power, denial, and corruption. A thoughtful revival.

Don't see it if if you do not favor elliptical, Brechtian dramaturgy that focuses on tyranny and abuse of power, then this may not be for you.

During previews
Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking, Machismo on display, Rarely performed obie-winner

See it if you're a fan of Fornes & want to see the play that won her much acclaim in 1985; you enjoy political theatre & simulated sex / violence

Don't see it if brutality towards women triggers flash-backs, you prefer happy stories, you want to avoid thinking about repression or class distinction

Also Maria Irene Fornes [who won an Obie for "The Conduct of Life," 1985] r... Read more Read less

During previews
Small venue / very intimate / excellent staging, Good performances & direction, Perfect costumes & lighting, Great book unfortunately confusingly chopped-up, Ambitious undertaking / intense / heady / violent

See it if you can handle 70min of intense drama: violence against women; corruption of power; psychological & physical dominance; all in a tiny space.

Don't see it if you'll squirm to the above, w/in non-stop schizo scene-changes in a (perfect) claustrophobic space where you can't move, breath or "escape".

Also Just like the characters, you feel trapped...... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Profound

See it if you are open to the harsh, machismo treatment of the main character in a political dictatorship in a well-written, well-acted tense piece.

Don't see it if brutality disturbs you.

During previews
Wrenching, provocative, disturbing, well-acted production

See it if You appreciate avant-garde political theater performed in intimate space

Don't see it if You can't tolerate emotional and physical violence; you want a traditional plotline

During previews
Absorbing, Solid production of an interesting play, Uncompromising

See it if you’re up for a very dark social critique. Bleak forecast for the outcome of entrenched power imbalances.

Don't see it if you don’t like every uttered syllable loaded w/ symbolic significance, sometimes at the expense of plot clarity.

Also Seat tip: Stage is ¾ round/thrust style. The best seats are the front ... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if you want to see a disturbing, intense play. The threat of violence (generally not actually shown) makes for riveting drama.

Don't see it if you can't watch cruelty/violence to women. While I was engrossed throughout, I didn't feel the play ultimately coalesced

During previews
Absorbing, Intense

See it if You like plays with an intense storyline

Don't see it if You cannot watch violence towards women or do not like small intimate plays (I was at most 3 feet from the actors)

Cast & Creatives (12)