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The Pelican & Isle of the Dead

From 14 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Ambitious, Absorbing

About the show

August Strindberg Repertory Theatre presents the world premiere staging of the two works together, as they were written and intended by their Strindberg. More…

From the show:

In "Isle of the Dead," a middle-school teacher who has died in his sleep wakes up to find an enlightened spirit sitting next to him. This spirit tries without success to explain to the teacher that he no longer need concern himself with such mundane matters as grading papers before class. Finally, the spirit instructs the benighted teacher to watch a play with him. The play is " The Pelican."

In "The Pelican," a vivacious young widow has eyes for her newly-married son-in-law. The moral turpitude of it is driving her son to drink. Throughout her children's lives, the widow denied them food and firewood, unwilling to "squander" money that she is actually stealing for herself. The son finds a letter from his late father recounting her cruelty -- how will he avenge her betrayal? The play's title comes from an erroneous myth of nature: the mother pelican feeds her chicks ground-up fish from her beak, but in earlier times, this was thought to be her own blood, making the bird a mistaken example of charity and sacrifice. In a wicked note of irony, the mother was honored with verses about the pelican's sacrifice at her daughter's wedding.

Member Reviews (14)


Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Ambitious, Absorbing
Avg Score

Philosophical, Intelligent, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if A spirit takes inventory, then views play in which an incriminating letter is left behind. Great impulse to sandwich both plays in 95 min

Don't see it if "I want to avoid the suffering/If only I could do the evil I want to do/The day of death is better than the day of birth/Victim of Camorra"

Also "Men are not what they seem and they do not seem what they are/Memory ... Read more Read less

Pelican in full flight

See it if Love the playwright and company.

Don't see it if Hate out of the way venues with pushy, obnoxious hosts begging/fundraising.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Good acting, Entertaining, Philosophical

See it if U like thought provoking plays in an intimate setting. The Pelican was very thought provoking but the rest felt long, tedious and why?

Don't see it if U don’t like small theater or prefer musicals. Want the 2 plays to be more cogent with more of a moral to the story.

Great writing, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if an ok but not especially remarkable production of a great play.

Don't see it if you've never seen or read this particular play and would like to get acquainted with it.

Also somewhat uneven acting; Natalie Menna as Elise felt rather miscast. Th... Read more Read less

Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Great production of this rarely seen Strindberg play. Cast has great chemistry. All performances are excellent and nuanced.

Don't see it if You don't like to think.

Riveting, Entertaining, Great acting, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if See it if you love shows that make you think about life, love, death and everything in-between. Great acting and a riveting plot!

Don't see it if You're looking for a musical or a farce.

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

See it if You’re interested in an engaging if heavy piece that unfolds in dramatic fashion as characters find different sides of themselves &eachother

Don't see it if You like your comedy only on the light side

Great acting, Clever, Edgy, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a great delivery of an ambitious world premiere!

Don't see it if You only enjoy musicals!

Riveting, Great staging, Masterful, Great acting

See it if Brilliant Strindberg production. Excellent directing by Robert Greer. Great cast, particularly Natalie Menna & Brad Fryman, tour-de-force

Don't see it if You do not prefer excellent translations of classics, with brilliant direction, staging and acting.

Great staging, Great acting, Great writing

See it if Mother/daughter pair Natalie Menna and Bailey Newman at each other's throats could have stepped off the stage of the West End.

Don't see it if You equate emotion with shouting and bad diction; these actors, all seven, are supreme artists -- and masters of technique.

Masterful, Great staging, Great acting

See it if Brad Fryman and Gabe Betto create a brilliant seriocomic underworld in the Isle of the Dead prelude to the Pelican, itself a wonder.

Don't see it if You can't laugh at death.

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Natalie Menna, lead in the Pelican, and Brad Fryman, leading Isle of the Dead are genius. Menna's merry widow/wicked witch is a rainbow

Don't see it if Want happy endings.

Also A serious play with seriously funny scenes. This is not a double bill,... Read more Read less

Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if World premiere of The Pelican's prolog, Isle of the Dead, which makes the play comprehensible. Natalie Menna is marvelous!

Don't see it if You can't stand thinking.

Resonant, Profound, Great acting

See it if It’s timeless

Don't see it if You’re looking for something light and meaningless

“The Pelican & Isle of the Dead” hasn't been reviewed by any Critics (yet!)

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Cast & Creatives (3)