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To Protect the Poets (FringeNYC)

From 6 critic and 22 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intense, Relevant, Absorbing

About the show

Part of FringeNYC: A poet and her principles collide with a policeman's sense of justice when Mac, whose life is books and ideas, falls in love with Jab, a detective enraged at a killer's cold indifference. More…

Categories: Drama, Local. From Michael Palmer and 11 West Productions. Written by John Doble. Directed by Alberto Bonilla.

TO PROTECT THE POETS is a full-length drama about a poet and her principles colliding with a policeman’s sense of justice. Mac, whose life is books and ideas, falls in love with Jab, a detective enraged at a killer’s cold indifference to his vicious murder of a young woman. When Mac learns that Jab, in his outrage, delivered what he calls street justice, she must decide whether to hold on to her love or the ideals she’s lived by. Will Mac and Jab be star-crossed or will love conquer all?

The cast features: Elizabeth Alice Murray* (Amelia, Othello), John Isgro*, Angel Dillemuth*, Joy Donze* (Juliet, R&J), Ariel Kim (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Jamil A.C. Mangan* (Mother Courage and her Children, Classic Stage Company), and Deshawn Wyatte.

*These Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association. TO PROTECT THE POETS is an Equity Approved Showcase.


"'To Protect the Poets' shows how readily lines can be crossed when 'street justice' is employed, instead of the judicial system. This first-rate, timely and intelligent play is a just representation of how two people who love each other deal with violent crimes against women and police brutality." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“John Doble’s characters are masterfully written...Never does a character’s growth or change read as a deliberate writer’s choice, but instead as an inevitable consequence of the circumstances. The latter is obviously helped both by Alberto Bonilla’s clean and sharp direction and by having the text be supported by a stellar cast. Each cast member brings something unique; their talents play a major part in creating the intrinsically layered world in which this story takes place.” Full Review

How To Make It As An Actor

“A play about the ethical dilemma of whether we are ever justified to take justice into our own hands...The play manages to explore a painful, heart-wrenching topic (violent rape and homicide), followed by long moral questioning and all this heaviness was balanced wit laughter and moments of true emotion...If you enjoy grappling with moral dilemmas, and if you want to see a modern rendition of Romeo and Juliet then ‘To Protect the Poets’ may just be what you’re looking for.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"'To Protect the Poets' is halfway there. When Doble focuses on the romantic longings of a lonely police detective and his equally shy and awkward girlfriend his play is touching and entertaining...But scenes involving a rapist-killer’s heartless crime, and the cop’s impassioned but lawless reaction to it, play like a first draft of a middling 'Law & Order' episode; the zingers are often vulgar and seldom very funny, and the dialogue rings false...The play is far better at love than at murder." Full Review


"Playwright John Doble pursues ethical questions with admirable zeal...The production, efficiently directed by Bonilla, includes a few sequences of believable emotion, which may be credited primarily to the sensitive, well-calibrated performances...But those moments are frequently undercut by dialogue riddled with movie-of-the-week banalities...Doble is fortunate in his cast and director; but, with or without this particular group of performers, the play deserves further work and a future life." Full Review

Theater In The Now

“It's part police procedural and part '90s sitcom that never really intertwines. It causes tonal confusion on the part of Doble and director Alberto Bonilla...Isgro and Murray are two very different actors. With their chemistry lacking, ‘The Poets’ never was really ever able to take off…‘The Poets’ has a message we have heard far too often. But the execution of said message was a bit amiss. In a sea of politically driven pieces, ‘To Protect the Poets’ sadly sinks.” Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Great direction, Relevant, Intense

See it if you want to experience a good ensemble cast; relevant, serious subject matter; a heartfelt, sensitive love story; choices and reprecussions.

Don't see it if you're looking for light fare subject matter.

Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see a terrific ensemble in a contemporary tale of love, truth, justice, honor, and the difficult choices people make.

Don't see it if you're expecting a musical or a comedy (though this play has some funny moments)

Cliched, Slow, Overrated, Funny, Romantic

See it if You are interested in an opposites-attract story with a secondary story of murder and morality. There is a fair amount of humor interspersed

Don't see it if You do not like political and moral discussions of police brutality in a black-and-white stance. The play isn't profound or explorative

Intelligent, Relevant, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if you are interested in a show that intensely explores the violence in our society and yet has many moments of laughter and charm.

Don't see it if You are looking for fluff.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy poignant love stories & socially conscious discussion of ideas. A provoking drama with comedic moments. Fantastic cast!

Don't see it if You prefer musicals

Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if You like well crafted writing and great acting.

Don't see it if Your looking for a musical

Intense, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You want your opinions to sway over what is considered justice.

Don't see it if You are easily triggered.

Dated, Cliched, Indulgent

See it if You want to see some solid acting from the more diverse members of the cast.

Don't see it if You feel that an inner-city teacher is an intelligent human being and that black, Hispanic and Asian actors should not be stereotyped.

Absorbing, Great acting, Clever

See it if You want to explore how people respond and think about social and moral issues. How seemingly opposite people can still connect and love.

Don't see it if Recounting stories of people doing horrible things to each other unbearable to listen to. Graphic scenes are described.

Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy great acting with a mix of comedy and intensity.

Don't see it if You are looking for a cheesy musical.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Funny, Great acting, Edgy

See it if You like plays about moral and social issues that also have charming love scenes.

Don't see it if You can't bear to hear a violent crime described (It is not shown - just described -- but it is meant to be disturbing).

Relevant, Must see, Resonant, Absorbing

See it if You want to challenge your known and possibly unknown socialized assumptions of how humanity "should be".

Don't see it if You are squemish when it comes to violence.

Entertaining, Great acting, Must see, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in changing the social climate we are living in today.

Don't see it if Your preferred solution to life issues is violence.

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

See it if You like drama, political philosophy, and emotional conflict.

Don't see it if You don't like philosophy/moral/ethical dilemmas.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Must see, Romantic

See it if Great acting, directing. Mature writing.

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

Absorbing, Great acting, Funny

See it if good stuff

Don't see it if you like farce

Intense, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Resonant, Relevant

See it if You like emotionally rich drama that challenges the audience to make its own moral judgments. It forcefully elicits engagement with issues.

Don't see it if you merely are seeking entertainment only. It's hard to maintain a distance with this play.

Riveting, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great acting, Clever

See it if you've ever had a difference of moral opinion with someone you love. Looking for a well written, entertaining, thought provoking show!

Don't see it if Not for younger crowds

Ambitious, Clever, Thought-provoking

See it if you like dilemmas, moral questions, ethics and drama

Don't see it if you don't like violent descriptions

Relevant, Slow, Great acting, Ambitious, Dated

See it if You are interested in drama, good acting.

Don't see it if You can't see/hear violence, want a comedy, aren't prepared to have your moral compass be challenged.

Dated, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if you like thought-provoking rom-coms.

Don't see it if you like Avante Guarde​ and inventive theatrical experiences.

Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in questions of police brutality and law.

Don't see it if You are easily triggered by descriptions of violence.