“Abstract, highly visual, experimental, more concerned with theme and image than story...There are fragments of a story here, the story of Chekhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’...Explores themes of loss, memory and aging in a deconstructed yet visceral way... Zimet is amazing...Susan brings whimsy and emotion to the proceedings, while never veering too far from the show’s bittersweet tone...If you have a taste for avant-garde theater, it doesn’t get much better than this.” Full Review
"One of the pleasures of the show is how it also functions as an elegy to decades of downtown theater-making, to all the actors who walked these same floors and found their light and spoke their lines night after night after night...'This Was the End' will reward a thoroughgoing knowledge of the Chekhov original and may baffle the unfamiliar...Even the initiated may sometimes feel frustrated. Living up to its title, the show avoids a conclusion." Full Review
“Deconstruction of a classic, one that focuses more on the relationship between the core characters from ‘Uncle Vanya'...The production attempts to explore is the perception of time...And I think it is successful due to the clever design elements...I was also moved by how the characters are portrayed here. It’s heartbreaking...but at the same time, there is no lack of humor and delight. And perhaps it is this juxtaposition that makes the tragedy more pronounced." Full Review
“What 'This Was The End' lacks in structure it makes up for in auratic power...An unusual memory play featuring authentic living and inanimate pieces of downtown performance history...This is highly fertile ground that might have been more assiduously cultivated...The production is a little too in love with the delightfulness of its own technological possibilities, and the dramaturgy gets buried. The performers, accomplished as they are, get trampled by the tech.” Full Review
for a previous production "Chekhov’s characters, played by a cast of remarkable older actors, grapple with past trauma by interacting with phantasmagorical visions of themselves in a live sound-and-video remix...Several times throughout, an actor will recite a long monologue against a recording of his her own voice reciting the same. The text...seems like a semi-improvised riff on bits of Chekhov’s play...A seamless integration of video and sound elements in which the performers are forced to interact." Full Review
for a previous production "The actions seem to represent the ins and outs of one’s life as we continually try to wrap ourselves around it, but more often get lost within...Through moments of happiness and connection...to moments of missed connections and regret, we watch the characters try to realign with their former selves, often unable to due to either memory or age itself...A life-sized time capsule which Mallory explores with guttural theatricality against the frailty of human capacity." Full Review
for a previous production "The actors in this tightly condensed version of the play are not taking it easy...Communicated by these frail bodies and potentially failing minds, the lethargy and immobility that paralyze everyone in 'Uncle Vanya' take on new meaning...Catlett weaves a poignant meditation on aging while magnifying pertinently Chekhov’s themes of lives spent fruitlessly and the painful mourning of these." Full Review
See it if you'd like to see a possible future for the central characters of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya," enhanced by extensive video & dense sound score.
Don't see it if you cannot tolerate live actors sharing the stage with other media--even when those media work to enhance the presence of the live actors.
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