Already closed | 1h 30m | Chelsea

The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois

From 37 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Slow, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking

About the show

Atlantic Theater Company presents Adam Rapp's new play about an adolescent abandoned as an infant who meets her mentally ill father for the first time. More…

Ellis Shook lives alone in a small duplex apartment in Kentucky. He works nights buffing floors, keeps to himself—except for the occasional game of Monopoly or Yahtzee with his neighbor—and always remembers to take his medication. When two teenage girls arrive at his doorstep one afternoon, their visit forces him to confront a tragic past while also offering him a glimpse of hope.

1h 30m | Already closed | Atlantic Theater Stage Two (Chelsea)

Member Reviews (37)


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

Unconvincing, Unappealing, Uncomfortable, Unending, Unenlightening

See it if you have endless patience for sloooow exposition. And for not-to-be-believed plot points and inconsistent characterizations.

Don't see it if you want the option to leave; it's performed with no intermission so you're held hostage. An unpleasant hour and a half, with little payoff.

Original, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Intense, Disappointing

See it if You like quirky characters dealing with mental illness.

Don't see it if You don't appreciate stereotyped characters inserted into a play to create unnecessary drama that could have arisen in a more authentic way.

Absorbing, Edgy, Intense, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if you like small theaters

Don't see it if you are closed minded

Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Refreshing, Cliched

See it if You are looking for a fresh night of theatre. Heart wrenching and endearing story.

Don't see it if You want a light story. It's dark but not the usual Rapp experience.

Thought-provoking, Original, Intense, Quirky, Mediocre

See it if You like quirky character dramas about mental illness.

Don't see it if You don't appreciate stereotyped characters inserted into a plot to create drama that could have come organically.

During previews
Disappointing, Slow, Intense, Overlong

See it if you can put up with a plot that takes forever to unravel, scenes of violent and irrational behavior, sad and unsettling relationships

Don't see it if any of the above turn you off.

During previews
Slow, Thought-provoking, Original, Quirky, Uncomfortable

See it if you like even uncomfortable social topics on stage; like plays about mental illness; like uncomfortable topics presented on stage

Don't see it if you don't like uncomfortable topics on stage; don't like to talk about mental illness; don't like blood.

During previews
Slow, Original, Unbelievable

See it if you are interested in mental disorders and can stay awake during slow exposition to get to the real ,not realistic, action.

Don't see it if finally making a human connection does not make up for slow beginning and having to sit through an endless country song.

June 10th, 2016
"Rapp’s sentimentality bursts out of the dark, dank closet with his latest effort. Directed with a tender touch and a refreshing respect for silence by Rapp...This juxtaposition of the exotic and the banal is clearly meant to elicit strong emotions for the audience. Yet the script often feels as ...
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June 7th, 2016
"It helps to have vivid dialogue, an unpredictable plot and a meaty theme. In 'The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois,' Adam Rapp has only information. Although he withholds it with some skill, I wish there were more going on here than mere suspense...'Purple Lights,' well acted and creepy, feels li...
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June 10th, 2016
"Rapp's most substantial play in several years...The plot gradually emerges through a series of skillfully distributed revelations...All of the actors deliver beautifully well-worn performances...As a slice-of-life drama, 'The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois' succeeds on all fronts. It's a welcom...
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June 17th, 2016
"Adam Rapp’s 'The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois' is a 'little' play in that its ambitions are small and its dramaturgy is rather straightforward. Having almost no story, it is ultimately a character study of troubled people trying to deal with the hand they have been dealt. It does offer natura...
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