In this world premiere, spurred on by recurring visits from her Jamaican Granny in the afterlife, Bertha seeks a new language for a narrative that only she can tell, uninhibited by the ghosts of literary convention. More…
For most of her adult life, Bertha has served as the Brennans’ housekeeper. While polishing the silverware and washing the windows, she dreams of honoring the promise she made to her grandmother long ago to write the next great American novel. But as she drafts her story, she can only see the imprints of the Brontë sisters, Dickens, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and most of all, the Brennans.
"Small or no budget theatre often creates amazing, pure work. But the vast majority of these Off-Off Broadway productions operate under not-so-ideal conditions and sometimes the limitations of a truncated budget and abbreviated rehearsal period, mixed with blossoming experience, can lead to half-baked work. This is the case of 'The Great Novel'...But through its stumbles, we witness the creative missteps of a young, healthy and growing theatre company." Full Review
"If you're not a Charles Dickens or a Jane Austen or a Brontë sister, where is your place? It's a weighty question, and the answers inevitably dig up complex issues of racial and social hierarchies. Under Sarah Norris's direction, however, the production is stumbling a bit too much alongside its characters to offer a coherent perspective...As in any work of fiction aiming to become a great novel, ideas need more nourishment to fly off the page." Full Review
See it if you are open to exploring the complexities of race, unpaid emotional labor, love and the struggle to write your own story
Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with reckoning with your own biases.
See it if you’d like to see a very quirky but very sharp take on race & class in the US today.
Don't see it if you’re looking for a traditional play: This one is a rough but effective blend of farce & Brechtian epic theater.
See it if you're interested in an exploration of the current conversation on race and who gets to tell their stories
Don't see it if you are looking for a light fluffy piece that doesn't go there
See it if you want to see a beautiful story about a woman finding her voice. Plus, great acting and design all around.
Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with white face (utilized by a diverse cast) or you prefer traditional storytelling.
See it if You like unconventional staging and performance of a straight play, enjoy stories involving family dynamics, enjoy strong acting
Don't see it if You need large productions and to be clearly aware of the time period in which the story is taking place, don't enjoy character-driven play
See it if you'd like to see a good play about a wealthy family and the hired nanny/maid who is mistreated by each of them as she seeks her chances.
Don't see it if you are bothered by characters that grate on you from the beginning to the end without an ounce of growth. 10 different scenes in 95 mins.
See it if you know what the terms “emotional labor” & “the magical negro” refer to. Up-to-the-minute thinking on longstanding literary/media tropes.
Don't see it if Feels longer than it is. Reducing the number of title cards from 10 to 3 might be all it needs to feel shorter. Grandma role unnecessary.
See it if Housekeeper dreams of writing a novel based on her Jamaican ancestry, the white (faced) family she serves, and the English books she’s read.
Don't see it if Uneven acting. Color blind casting. Confusing mix of reality, imagination, and ghost.
See it if you want to see an unperfect rich family story and how unaware they are of each other.
Don't see it if you want a well-developed journey. 1st hour is repetitive and needs cutting. The resolution is unsatisfying and predictable.
See it if you'd like to see a new play about family dynamics and racial relationships in the US; you want to support the creation of new dramas.
Don't see it if U dislike sterotyping;want to see a polished performance--I saw it the first night & there were too many flubbed lines.
See it if plays about aspirations great and small inspire you. All the characters want something that the others are not helping them to achieve.
Don't see it if whining self-involved characters depress you.
See it if You want to support some really great scenic and lighting designers.
Don't see it if The play struggles to find a tone or pace appropriate to it's message, we spend way too much time with characters we're not supposed to like
See it if If you want to see a show that needs major development. Not ready for prime time yet. Show takes to long to develop.
Don't see it if Lines missed, characters not good nor likeable. A story that focuses to much on characters we dislike.
See it if you like original storytelling and ambitious, thought-provoking plays. Terrific cast and production values for indie theater!
Don't see it if you prefer traditional theater/casting or would be offended by a diverse cast in white face.
See it if you want to see a dark comedy about race, class and a woman finding her identity. Relevant and important story for today
Don't see it if You're looking for a big musical, action or a romance story
See it if You are not put off by a poor performance and want to kill 90 minutes
Don't see it if You want good acting and an insightful script free from cliche. A lot of flubbed lines. A lot of lines that were poor to begin with.
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