Already closed | 1h 20m | Soho/Tribeca

Thomas Paine in Violence

From 27 member  reviews
Members say: Confusing, Ambitious, Excruciating, Slow, Dizzying

About the show

HERE Arts Center presents this electronic, psychedelic opera-sermon set in a cosmic radio station in the afterlife of the Thomas Paine, the Founding Father and international activist. More…

In 'Thomas Paine in Violence,' Paine struggles to broadcast a message of economic justice amidst a whirlwind of lightning-quick singing, autotuned shock-jockery, gadgets, voices, instruments, and sonic chaos.

Member Reviews (27)


Confusing, Ambitious, Excruciating, Slow, Dizzying

Ambitious, Well sung by committed cast, Top notch sound design, Irreverent, quirky experiemental opera

See it if you appreciate experimental/new music (musical language I've not encountered before); you like the great Joan La Babara; you're adventurous

Don't see it if you're not prepared to leave conventional notions of melody and meaning at the door; you dislike avant-garde structure, or irreverent wit

Also This is an incredibly polished ensemble performing a very challenging ... Read more Read less

Great staging, Intense, Refreshing, Dizzying

See it if you are a fan of the avante garde and enjoy extremely non-traditional theatre

Don't see it if you are scared of anything non-traditional, don’t like being in total darkness or flashing lights, or prefer standard melodies

Also Thomas Paine in Violence is unlike anything I have ever seen. I am not... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Relevant, Excruciating, Slow

See it if You want to be mildly confused (in a good way) for 75 minutes, like absurdist theater, want a bizarre futuristic look at Thomas Paine

Don't see it if The term "synth-opera" sounds like torture to you (because it is indeed a synth-opera), if loud, disjointed sounds/lights bother you

Dizzying, Intense, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if You're looking for something that's going to take you outside of your theatrical comfort zone.

Don't see it if You're looking for a traditional opera/play, or if you need a linear narrative in order to enjoy a show.

Also I don't know Joan La Barbara, but after seeing this show I've decided ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Intense, Relevant, Profound

See it if experimental theater or social commentary interest you. Both a political indictment of class warfare & entertaining vocal gymnastics!

Don't see it if you want a typical theater experience. Wild mix of spoken word & avant garde operatics. Much of production occurs in the dark with strobes.

Ambitious, Clever, Great singing, Indulgent, Slow

See it if you're a big fan of Joan La Barbara or experimental opera

Don't see it if you have a problem with lots of flashing lights

Also It's a little slow - I thought every thing that happened was well-done... Read more Read less

Confusing, Indulgent, Edgy

See it if You love Joan La Barbara, you're interested in non-narrative contemporary composition, you love Thomas Paine but can let him go tonight

Don't see it if You want an opera - this is not a story - or you want a coherent treatment of Paine's thought. There are allusions but it is frustrating.

Ambitious, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if You enjoy keeping pace with dense lyrics and are excited about seeing diverse faces doing new work.

Don't see it if Abstract concepts, overlapping/repeating/oftentimes aggressive vocals, experimental work isn't your cup of tea.

Ambitious, Clever, Edgy

See it if You want a unique, great experience

Don't see it if You don’t have an open mind

Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Indulgent, Funny

See it if You have dry humor

Don't see it if You feel awkward easily

Absorbing, Clever, Funny, Edgy, Dizzying

See it if You're looking for something new, refreshing and inventive

Don't see it if Youre looking for a traditional opera.

November 13th, 2017
"The incomparable La Barbara has a presence that’s both enigmatic and regal...Occasionally, I felt lost in a flood of information and sensory stimuli. Fortunately there are enough moments of substance that can pull one back from these distractions...It's a thoughtful piece that entertains before ...
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November 14th, 2017
"It’s a haunting performance, one that causes us to lean in and demands attention be paid...Pinto and Burkhardt do right by never taking the material too seriously or talking down to their audience and there is an enormous amount of fun to be had...What starts out seeming like an amusing vocal ex...
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