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The Duchamp Syndrome

From 9 critic and 0 member reviews

About the show

This new play tells the story of Juan, a solitary immigrant in The Big Apple who dreams of stand-up comedy stardom. More…

An unusual assortment of fellow travelers, human and not, help him practice routines and prepare for his mother’s visit from Mexico (if she can get a visa). He’s got to impress. But is he being honest with her, and himself, about the new life he’s making? Antonio Vega has crafted a provocative love letter to New York, with guest appearances from a large cast of repurposed household objects.

New York Theatre Review

"'The Duchamp Syndrome' is a play of unsuspecting, beauty, humor and heart. With theatrical imagination, the piece captures the universal spark of humanity that gives voice to the struggles faced in coping with loss, heartache and dreams deferred...In an age when much has been said about the sustainability of the artist in a New York that sees cultural havens give way to corporate strongholds, 'The Duchamp Syndrome' is a cry against the voices of dissent." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"I think I can safely guarantee that you've never seen anything like this oddball mélange of standup comedy, puppetry, and Kafka's Metamorphosis, all in the service of a funny, fantastical tale...Not everything in the show works - there are occasional dry stretches - but for the most part, 'The Duchamp Syndrome' casts a welcome spell of comic enchantment." Full Review


"The show sometimes feels unfocused, with Vega leaping from scene to scene like a hyperactive five-year-old. This schtick has the potential to become quite irritating with a less sympathetic performer. It never does with Vega. One suspects that muscular editing from the director has a lot to do with this, but it also cannot be denied that Vega is naturally very funny." Full Review

The New York Times

"Peopled with many puppets designed by Mr. Vega, this is a busy show with quiet flashes of grace. But it goes flat for longish stretches, and the narrative is not always clear. A video camera used to give close-up views of tiny objects often doesn’t get us close enough....It isn’t meant to make you weep. It’s meant to make you think." Full Review

Village Voice

“Vega's imagination is rich and strange and manifests itself in delightful magic-realist stage wizardry. The show is a sort of meeting point between Ralph Ellison’s 'Invisible Man' and 'Pee-wee’s Playhouse'...Vega is an engaging performer, deftly switching between characters. Despite the ingenious staging, though, the piece overburdens its slight premise.” Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"This is by no means a 'tight' 90 minutes and has none of the snappiness that might aid Juan in his stand-up routine. Vega nonetheless exhibits his own enthusiastic charm and is ably supported by the physically adept Sade. 'The Duchamp Syndrome' is a quirky, contemplative comedy, underpinned with some sadness; Vega has created a truly personal story here and he stages it with sincere warmth, originality and artistry." Full Review

Inkpot Review

for a previous production "The world premiere of 'The Duchamp Syndrome' is everything I was hoping it would be – inventive, funny, engaging and very intelligent... Its strength lies in its writing – so rich in references yet delicate enough to treat its subject matter with humanity and empathy." Full Review

Straits Times

for a previous production "An unlikely friendship between a vacuum robot, a foul-mouthed cockroach and a Mexican janitor sounds like the wacky plot of an adult-oriented cartoon. But in the very hands of Mexican directors Antonio Vega and Ana Graham, it is a fantastical tale that speaks of loss, hope and the American Dream. The production is at once funny, heartwarming and achingly sad. " Full Review

Centre 42 (Singapore)

for a previous production "'The Duchamp Syndrome' is an intriguing feat that pushes theatrical conventions at every turn, drifting between the real and surreal through a cast of colorful characters and unusual certainly embodies the festival’s themes of art and loss and provides us with much more." Full Review

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