Closed 1h 30m
The Twentieth-Century Way
West Village
85

The Twentieth-Century Way NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(3 Reviews)
Positive
67%
Mixed
33%
Negative
0%
Members say
Edgy, Absorbing, Great acting, Clever, Profound

About the Show

In the summer of 1914, Long Beach Police Department enlisted two actors to go into public restrooms to entice gay men toward sexual acts in order to arrest them.

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Member Reviews (3)

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95
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great writing, Edgy

See it if you're looking for a smart, entertaining, engaging play performed by two astonishing actors. A fascinating piece of history told brilliantly

Don't see it if you like your theater simple and undemanding, or if you're offended by strong sexual situations or nudity.

87
Edgy, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you're into intense storytelling with a small cast

Don't see it if you have an issue with full frontal male nudity.

Critic Reviews (16)

June 5th, 2015

"These meta-theatrical tangles and the self-conscious musing are the least interesting parts of this frequently involving play. Mr. Jacobson has a habit of stating his themes too baldly and the ending is a blunder...Better than this writerly game-playing are the opportunities the script affords the fine actors to switch from one role to the next. The performances are precise, if exaggerated. And sometimes even moving."
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June 3rd, 2015

"I found most of the meta-shenanigans annoying and, oddly, overliteral. Because the 1914 betrayals and seductions were, on the other hand, quite touching, I just kept wishing Jacobsen had stuck with that, and left his Stoppard pretentions at the stage door. But apparently the 21st-century way is self-gratification."
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June 3rd, 2015

"The script is clever and self-aware, not as a means to be cute or wink at the audience, but always in service to the story...'The Twentieth-Century Way' matches its formal rigor with thought-provoking content...The 'Twentieth-Century Way' raises all of these issues without beating you over the head with them, wrapping it all in an immensely enjoyable package."
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June 3rd, 2015

"'The Twentieth-Century Way' is a potentially engrossing but somewhat pretentious work...The story’s focus gets diffused in the pyrotechnics of its performance... Straight or gay, it’s hard to follow an ambiguous discussion when the speakers’ private parts are publicly staring you in the face."
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June 4th, 2015

"Truth to tell, I found the drama rough going as one test followed another followed another. The action seems increasingly pretentious as the 90 minutes unfold. That's especially so when, for reasons I can't explain, Brown and Warren get to stripping not only their period outfits but also get to stripping their identities."
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June 3rd, 2015

"There are just too many theatrical metaphors embedded in this piece of metatheatre. The two fine actors work hard to bring the play to life, but the only real characters they play that elicit any feeling are the victims of entrapment. The two actors they play throughout are devices, not characters...A disappointment, I'm afraid. "
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May 10th, 2010
For a previous production

"At times the format seems forced, yielding old thesp/young hotshot guff. But hang in there, for the approach yields richer dividends than would a straightforward semidocumentary. As the men fall in and out of character, Jacobson explores deeper questions inspired by these sad events, including the lengths to which a thesp will go to get cast, and the blurring of identity between actor and role."
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May 14th, 2010
For a previous production

"Employing nudity and frank descriptions of taboo practices at the dawn of the previous century, the piece, under Michael Michetti's precise staging, takes a physical and metaphysical plunge into sexuality, the nature of identity, and moral compromises made in the pursuit of ambition."
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August 16th, 2010
For a previous production

"The many layers of 'The Twentieth-Century Way' become so complex and intricate that I can see how some might lose track, and then lose interest. That said, I applaud the ambition of this piece. This is serious drama that provides a thoughtful meditation on how, as Warren says, 'everyone's acting all the time. Every job is a role. Every relationship a masquerade.'"
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September 8th, 2010
For a previous production

"They improvise their way through the case's history, playing all the roles. This makes for erratic storytelling and stretches credibility long past endurance. It also ensures that no character will become more than a hasty sketch. Jacobson hits on many percipient points about entrapment's troubling ambiguities, but they only emerge abstractly; he envisions history as a factual pegboard into which people can be fitted."
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August 26th, 2010
For a previous production

"An intriguing play within a play within a play that incorporates Warren and Brown's story, then transcends it... Although much of the play is humorous, director Michael Michetti keeps the production charged with a certain amount of menace and eroticism...A fascinating play, excellent cast and superior production values."
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May 18th, 2010
For a previous production

"The acting was very good but I do find some fault with the writing, especially at the end when the actors disrobe as themselves to test how far an actor would go to get a job. This multilayered text gets a bit muddled along the way especially when the actors address each other using real names."
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May 12th, 2010
For a previous production

"Director and first-rate actors take us on an illuminating theatrical adventure not likely to be forgotten...The actors give virtuoso performances, mastering an astonishing range of characters apiece. Their intelligent interpretation of Jacobson's text expertly serves the complexity of the piece, eliciting laugher, shocks, chills, and endless food for thought."
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May 11th, 2010
For a previous production

"As they slip in and out of various characters, accents and situations, working at an increasingly dizzying pace toward the 'emotional climax,' the two perform with split-second timing and assurance. The ending is perhaps a little protracted, but the wait is worth it, primarily because this play raises some disturbing questions that are still being asked today — nearly 100 years after those arrests in Long Beach."
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May 27th, 2010
For a previous production

"The play moves relentlessly forward, barely stopping for a breath until the moving final moment. Tom Jacobson’s script is supremely well written and consistently engaging even if you aren’t always sure where it’s headed...The final moments of the play are certainly unexpected, which will ultimately make you want to look back over what you’ve just watched to interpret its meaning...It’s nice to finally be challenged for once while still being thoroughly entertained."
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August 14th, 2010
For a previous production

"The whole play is framed as an 'improvisation exercise'...It's the perfect device...The play takes an unexpected metaphysical turn at the very end, but since Jacobson's work has been playing with the question of 'acting versus reality' all along, it's a twist that makes perfect, and thought-provoking, sense."
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