Already closed | 1h 5m | East Village

The Conduct of Life

From 34 member  reviews
Members say: Intense, Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Thought-provoking

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)

Member Reviews (34)


Intense, Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Thought-provoking
Avg Score

Intense, Edgy, Clever, 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.

Edgy, Intense, Absorbing, 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

Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Intense, 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

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

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, Well-designed, Uneven acting, 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

Cliched, Edgy, Indulgent, Great staging, Dated

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

Disappointing, Great acting, Intense

See it if you don't have especially high expectations because it's by Irene Fornes; good acting can make an otherwise unappealing play worthwhile.

Don't see it if you can't deal with a play in a tiny, almost claustrophobic space that is relentlessly and almost exclusively about violence against women.


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

Relevant, Masterful, Intense, Great staging, Ambitious

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, Great writing, Profound, Resonant

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

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

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
Chilling, Funny, Political, 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
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Profound, Edgy

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
All the characters are unlikable

See it if You enjoy seeing a show in a very small and intimate space. They made great use of what they had

Don't see it if You need your theater to have a strong plot with a good solid ending

Also There are three sections you can sit in when you come to the show. The... Read more Read less

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

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
Intense, Absorbing, Violent

See it if you enjoy Fornes's work or intense non-linear plays dealing with violence, politics, ambition.

Don't see it if violence towards women, machismo, corruption turn you off. Scenes felt "choppy" - just as the good stuff starts, the scene ends.

Also Fornes won an Obie for this intense political play in 1985.... 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
Machismo on display, Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking, 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
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Cliched

See it if a show about abuse of power over women and country

Don't see it if you don't like to see violence against women

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

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
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, 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
Absorbing, Intense, Great acting

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
Intelligent, Relevant, Good-effort

See it if If you wish to see a revival by a well regarded, now deceased NYC playwright. The actor playing the servant gave a marvelous performance.

Don't see it if you don't have an interest in Maria Irene Fornes canon. It's not a good play and the staging is somewhat strange.

September 16th, 2018
"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 ...
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