New York | 1h 20m | Already closed

The Hollower

From 7 critic and 21 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Confusing, Quirky, Absorbing

About the show

The New Light Theater Project presents Liza Birkenmeier’s new play, which tackles the perils of having a body in a repressed, imperialist, and moralistic world. More…

Otto is visited by an investigative podcaster who is half-pig, half-man. She also has a teenaged occult enthusiast houseguest who is making a claymation film about seventeenth century witchcraft in her kitchen. 'The Hollower' is a modern haunt-comedy exploring seventeenth century colonialism and how crowded isolation can be.

Show Showdown

"I know that the cast is excellent. And, yes, I know that the writing is often wonderful. But I can't figure out what the damn thing is about, and that's even after reading the script...'the hollower' is odd and fascinating and I'm glad I saw it. But I also ended up dissatisfied. I needed one little tiny hint as to what I was watching...I do recommend 'the hollower.' If nothing else, I can assure you it is unique. Oh, and thought-provoking. And maybe even funny." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"There is something absolutely captivating about 'the hollower'...I was also enthralled by Kristy Dodson’s directorial choices. Her ambition is boundless and she pulls off some magical moments of stagecraft, rarely seen in Off Off Broadway. She resists pushing the absurdism of the piece too far...The characters and their performances make 'the hollower' something special. Though it does suffer from a few too many ideas and unresolved questions, it is innovative and touching." Full Review


"A curious combination of gritty character study and fantasy-absurdism, Liza Birkenmeier‘s 'the hollower' presents troubled characters who feel painfully real. Grippingly acted under Kristy Dodson’s agile direction, it has two parallel narratives...Stinnett’s Pigman is entertaining in a vacuum, but the podcast storyline lacks the punch of the main Bit narrative...Perceptively imagined, lovingly staged, beautifully acted, and definitely different." Full Review

The New York Times

“Aggressively quirky...A hermetically sealed experiment in extreme absurdism. It’s as if Wilkin was expressing the anticipated objections of critics wedded to oppressive Cartesian reason, and Birkenmeier chose to defy her own character and double down...What’s most frustrating is that this young playwright can write strangely appealing segments ― not quite long enough to qualify as scenes, but fuller than mere exchanges. Some of her dialogue often pings with a darkly surreal humor." Full Review

Theater Life

"Birkenmeier exploits Bit's eccentricity for all it's worth…The scenes dealing with Bit and Otto are relatively straightforward…Where the play…goes really off the rails is in depicting Otto's inner world...'The Hollower' is reminiscent in its exaggerated mix of the comically real and unreal of Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company. It has a few good moments but is never funny enough, clever enough, or even touching enough to make us laugh…or care." Full Review


“The dialogue contains a lot of contemporary academic jargon and it all could be interpreted as some sort of Millennial exploration...Birkenmeier offers a tedious, vague and pointless surrealistic escapade...Strains to be funny and significant and tiresomely fails at both...Besides the fine performances, Dodson achieves momentum and visual interest with her proficient staging...Apart from burnishing Birkenmeier’s resumé, ‘the hollower’ doesn’t really accomplish much else.” Full Review

Off Off Online

"Liza Birkenmeier’s 'The Hollower' is the kind of play that tries to push the envelope in a variety of ways but ends up as effective as a pile of shredded paper...In the absence of coherent plot, the designers do some heavy lifting...One can’t really judge performances in such a goulash, and director Kristy Dodson hasn’t given it coherent shape, but Im benefits from his character’s semblance of normalcy and a dry delivery." Full Review

Quirky, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You like zany comedies & "downtown" theater (man who squeals like a pig, young girl in funky pink hot heels, fun group song from 1950s).

Don't see it if You prefer classical theater instead like Shakespeare

Great writing, Quirky, Clever

See it if you like "classic" downtown vibes, experimental and expressive over linear plotline (though there is one here).

Don't see it if you only like broadway productions.

Also This is remarkably convincing given relatively barebones staging and v... Read more Read less

Intense, Raunchy, Edgy, Great acting, Quirky

See it if you like edgy downtown theater

Don't see it if you aren't okay with a darker abstract experience

Great acting, Edgy, Dizzying, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if you like adventurous, dizzying, difficult theatre, love seeing great actors challenged, have a mind that enjoys puzzles.

Don't see it if you need a tidy and clear plot that doesn't require leaps of logic and/or imagination from its audience, want a clear resolution.

Be a follower

See it if You like plays with a downtown sensibility. Play definitely lives up to its venue.

Don't see it if You hate wacky situations and light plots.

Also Murray and sweet and sexy deCourcey have great chemistry. Im is perfec... Read more Read less

Confusing, Great acting, Clever, Ambitious

See it if You like absurdist plays with some very good actors.

Don't see it if You like linear plots and have to understand exactly what's going on.

Quirky, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if Birkenmeier's feminist/anarchist dramedy is more confusing than coherent despite being well staged by Dodson & excellent lead de Courcy

Don't see it if It's rough going....brief staccato scene fragments coalesce around the bonding of a depressed love-sick lesbian & neurotic high school girl

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Clever, Ambitious

See it if You like non-traditional theatre, great acting

Don't see it if Want something typical, realist, kitchen-sink drama

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious, Clever

See it if You like quirky character studies about strange people forced together

Don't see it if You prefer conventional theater

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Experimental

See it if you like experimental theater. There is a lot to think and talk about when leaving this production. Super refreshing!

Don't see it if you don't like experimental theater. It is confusing. It is weird. The production pushes you to think.

During previews
Great writing, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing, Challegingly marvelous

See it if Per reviews-youll either love or hate. Weird & absorbing narrative taking place on another level! Terrifically written/acted/executed...

Don't see it if You're looking for standard fare/something easily absorbed/clear linear narrative/can't give in to the world they're offering. Excellent.

During previews
Quirky, Confusing, Edgy, Absorbing, Clever

See it if you enjoy intellectually and emotionally challenging plays with comedy and even delightful moments; Reyna de Courcy’s Bit is spot on.

Don't see it if you prefer less linear, uncomplicated plots, characters, and themes, prefer musicals and large sets/casts, can’t sit 90 min./climb 3 flights

During previews
Messy, Dizzying, Daring, Innovative, Smart

See it if you need some relief from all the run-of-the-mill slice-of-life clogging NY stages lately.

Don't see it if experiment in the theater gives you hives, or you do not respond to creative messes.

Also Otto, a quiet lesbian (the ever-vital Patrena Murray in an uncommonly ... Read more Read less

During previews
Confusing, Dizzying, Enchanting

See it if you like things that border on the surreal, you wanna see some really good actors

Don't see it if you can't get swept up in some meaningful weirdness

Also feel like as a script this is a promising first go at something with a... Read more Read less

During previews
Entertaining, Edgy, Quirky, Great acting, Confusing

See it if You like strange, Lynchian, tweet plays that are big on weirdness and short on answers.

Don't see it if You like a clear plot and defined characters

During previews
Could give millenials a bad name, Bag of tricks, Earnest performances, Point free, Troubling

See it if have friends in cast, want 2 experience what Fellowship writers write, want to experiment with your tolerance, want 2 rate experimental work

Don't see it if cannot tolerate "experimental" theatre, need 2 see relationships and causation on stage, consider "absurdism" without intent as absurd

During previews
Banal, Great singing, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You wanna support great actors struggle with a script that feels like a first draft.

Don't see it if You tire easily of precocious quirky teens.

Also There is one very very interesting moment about 3/4 of the way through... Read more Read less

During previews
Slow, Excruciating, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you want nonsensical dribble.

Don't see it if you don't like nonsensical was bad...really bad.

During previews
Excruciating, Disappointing, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if If you want to see a failed attempt at experimental Theatre

Don't see it if You don’t want to waste 80 minutes

During previews
Great acting, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if You like thought-provoking theater, expertly staged and performed. It's haunting and beautiful and has stayed with me since I saw it.

Don't see it if You need to have shows explained to you, you're not comfortable with something different

During previews
Absorbing, Confusing, Funny, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if You are a fan of experimental theater that needs to be digested over multiple viewings

Don't see it if You are unwilling to take the time to reflect and think deeply about the words said during the show.

Also I'd recommend seeing this show twice. It is a whirlwind on the first v... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (12)