Closed 2h 50m
Troilus and Cressida (Delacorte)
Upper W Side
81

Troilus and Cressida (Delacorte) NYC Reviews and Tickets

81%
(148 Reviews)
Positive
94%
Mixed
6%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Great staging, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intense

About the Show

Tony-winning director Daniel Sullivan returns to Shakespeare in the Park with this rarely produced play. Both warriors and lovers play hard to get in the Bard's surprisingly modern epic set in ancient Greece. 

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Member Reviews (148)

81
Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense, Slow, Relevant

See it if you're a fan of Shakeaspeare. It's been modernized in some ways but still feels like the real deal to me. I suggest you buy a seat cushion.

Don't see it if You can't bear the heat for three hours. It takes a while to get to the good stuff but once you get there it was worth the wait.

75
Great acting, Intelligent, Ambitious, Confusing, Long

See it if you're a fan of Shakespeare's and are trying to see all his works performed (this one isn't often seen on stage).

Don't see it if you haven't slept. Being Shakespeare, it's naturally dense material. I saw it while in a drowsy state and had difficulty following the plot.

Critic Reviews (34)

August 9th, 2016

"The new Public Theater production of this relatively obscure Shakespeare play gets many things right, but its biggest triumph is to make us reconsider the reputation of a work derided for haphazard jumps from romantic declarations to military strategizing, from bawdy banter to moral questioning...A vivid, fleet-footed rendering by the director Daniel Sullivan and his adept cast, who weave the play’s disparate strands into a surprisingly effective whole."
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August 9th, 2016

"Daniel Sullivan’s marvelously intelligent and thoughtful modern-dress production of Shakespeare’s darkly comic problem play...Drenched in irony and whipping in tone from bawdy comedy to near-nihilistic tragedy, 'Troilus and Cressida' offers little by way of plot or sympathetic characters...But its language is richly rewarding, and its understanding of military and sexual politics, elucidated in Sullivan’s staging, feels trenchantly modern."
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August 9th, 2016

"What scholars call a 'problem' play...What’s a Shakespeare festival to do? First, hire the director Sullivan, an expert de-muddler, to offer the best case possible. Next, hire actors who, at a minimum, can make the verse flow clean. Then, put the director and cast together to develop characterizations that ring fresh and clear...Making these story lines, or parts of them, vibrate with tension is quite a victory, but doing so cannot win the war of 'Troilus and Cressida.' It is still a blur,"
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August 9th, 2016

"Sullivan, abetted by an excellent ensemble, does about as well as one can with this difficult play. He stages the complicated action with fast-paced vigor and clarity, and imbues the violent battle scenes with visceral intensity...The plotting is mind-numbingly intricate…That it registers as powerfully as it does is a testament to the fine performances...This is a 'Troilus and Cressida' in which the play is very much the thing, and that, ironically, is its chief weakness."
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August 9th, 2016

"Director Daniel Sullivan prudently races through the boring stuff to get to the second act, in which he sends two armies of handsome, able-bodied actors into homoerotic battle to fight the suddenly sexy Trojan War…Under Sullivan’s direction, the seven-year war never lets up. Even as scenes are being played on stage, soldiers roam the theater aisles and do battle just outside the non-existent walls of the stark industrial set."
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August 9th, 2016

"The play is choppy and long (running three hours). But Daniel Sullivan, who has directed many shows in the park, delivers a smart production that views the ancient conflict from a contemporary standpoint…The battle scenes are built up with fight choreography, weaponry and splattered blood…As Cressida, Ismenia Mendes draws a full character arc out of a problematic role."
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August 12th, 2016

"Sullivan’s modern dress production manages to smooth over the tonal shifts quite effectively, staging the romantic scenes with great fervor and the comedy as pointed satire...Directorial brilliance can only go so far without an able cast, and this one comprised of veterans and rookies is sublime...This is not an easy play, but given our own unsolvable problems echoing global conflicts today, there is much gold to be mined here."
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August 9th, 2016

"This vital production set in modern times is exactly what Shakespeare intended…This is Shakespeare at his most subversive and in a dynamite production like this, it is absolutely thrilling to behold…Thanks to specific and fleshy performances, we get to intimately understand each character's relationship to the conflict…By setting his production in this century, Sullivan draws a none-too-subtle parallel between the protracted conflict in 'The Illiad' and America's own seemingly endless wars."
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August 10th, 2016

"Director Daniel Sullivan and an ace ensemble of actors make what works about the play really crackle. While the story can get a little heavy-handed, the evening boasts a fun assortment of performances as it barrels toward a horrific finish...Mendes gives a standout performance, giving Cressida a contemporary edge that contrasts with the romanticizing of war that comes out in the poetics and bravado of the men surrounding her."
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August 11th, 2016

“Sullivan brings a remarkable order and clarity to those cankerous, often confused proceedings; if he can't supply a strong of sense of forward motion, he nevertheless knits the scenes into a starkly powerful vision. Sullivan has also assembled a superb cast who speak the verse with rare lucidity...It's not likely that we will get another production of ‘Troilus and Cressida’ that is this clear about what it wants to say - or one that is as mordant in saying it.”
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August 11th, 2016

“Aggressive but unsteady new Public Theater production...This is an empty, bewildering play that seems to delight in saying nothing. It has a wonderful time doing it, and Sullivan has assembled a fine cast...Accentuating both Pandarus's intellectual and his lecherous sides, Glover crafts a unique portrait of a man who sees a great deal more than he can master...By trying to have too much, in other words, Pandarus ends up with nothing. So does Sullivan in the final analysis.”
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August 12th, 2016

“While ‘Troilus and Cressida’ is rarely staged, Daniel Sullivan’s production full of bombs and smoke suggests that in our time of endless wars it speaks to us again, and the play’s cynicism also seems to capture the current zeitgeist. It also features memorable performances from John Glover, John Douglas Thompson, Max Casella, Sanjit de Silva, and Alex Breaux, among others.”
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August 11th, 2016

"It’s up to a great director to guide this piece, and Sullivan handles it craftily...Aided by a powerful cast, he makes the opportunity to see this Shakespearean also-ran an unmitigated delight...It’s not really the story that grabs us in this production...Ultimately, it’s the (almost universally) stellar performances that make the play what it is...Considering how seldom this play is produced and how well it’s done, it’s worth the wait.”
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August 9th, 2016

"Director and designers deserve considerable credit for managing to surprise a New York audience, without resort to gimmickry…The entire cast is remarkably strong,..Thompson as Agamemnon, Hyland as Nestor, and Stoll as Ulysses transform Shakespeare's Greek leaders into convincing military bureaucrats of the present day…Glover appears to delight in every minute on stage. And when such a masterly actor enjoys himself, it's guaranteed the spectators will have a jolly time, too."
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August 9th, 2016

"Despite a few long-winded monologues from the Bard, and female roles that are far from satisfying, this powerful staging, with a veteran company that’s not fooling around, is Shakespeare in the Park at its best. 'T&C' is rarely produced to begin with; a production this solid should not be missed. Director Daniel Sullivan is at the top of his game in creating a cohesive and entertaining night out of what is often referred to as one of Shakespeare’s 'problem plays.'"
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August 9th, 2016

"'Troilus and Cressida' is not a work with great emotional resonance, but Sullivan’s extremely cogent, beautifully acted production never fails to involve us. Much of the credit is due to the large cast, as practically each performer has been ideally chosen for his or her role...There are no fancy magic tricks here. And while the modern dress costumes and 21st-century props never feel completely organic, they eventually cease to matter much...The play truly is the thing."
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August 9th, 2016

"One of the problems facing Shakespeareans is whether ‘Troilus and Cressida’ ever was staged in Shakespeare’s lifetime. It has wonderful moments, brilliant language, bawdy humor, and vivid characters; it also bears relevant satirical messages about war and the corrupting power of lust. As Sullivan's competent but not especially memorable revival demonstrates, though, these disparate qualities aren’t enough to overcome a production whose most distinctive scenes belong in a ‘Rambo’ movie."
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August 9th, 2016

"Sullivan appears to have decided that 'Troilus and Cressida' is a comedy…When so many performances are, at best, merely competent, only Sullivan can be blamed…Every once in a while, a chair or some other object used in a just-concluded scene is tossed into one of the unruly piles. Director Sullivan is surely implying how endlessly wasteful war is. Given this misguided enterprise, the mounting heaps become a metaphor for Shakespeare being trashed."
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August 11th, 2016

“This production – so well directed by Daniel Sullivan and blessed with a cast of some two dozen top-notch actors – makes the case for ‘Troilus and Cressida’ as one of the great Shakespeare dramas, often puzzled over but hardly ever seen. The plot unfolds with clarity, and while Sullivan employs modernisms he completely honors Shakespeare’s language, and the wonderful performances make it accessible to our ears...You are unlikely to see as good in the foreseeable future."
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August 10th, 2016

"The battles in a way overshadow the thwarted love story that is key to the plot...The production is dynamic, but overlong, and director Sullivan obviously has worked hard to find ways to keep our attention, especially with the gunfire onslaught that erupts with appropriate, smoky scenic effects...Since 'Troilus and Cressida' is rarely performed...this mounting provides a chance to freshly evaluate it. On that score alone, it is worth seeing."
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August 10th, 2016

"At a time when war, lack of gun control and terrorism are ubiquitous in the news, it strikes me that subjecting us to something so theatrically realistic and compelling achieves the complete opposite...Having said that, acting and staging are skillful and energetic...Director Sullivan uses the mostly empty stage evocatively. His solders, with few exceptions, are cliché coarse and/or officious displaying no individuality. (Much of this may be the writing.)...As depicted, war is skin curdling."
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August 12th, 2016

"'Troilus and Cressida’s' main problem is its sprawling story line, split between the battlefield and the bedroom...Sullivan overcomes the unwieldy nature of the play with a tight modern-dress production employing Uzis rather than swords and shields. Parallels are drawn between America’s military involvements and the ancient squabble over Helen of Troy’s romantic habits. The love match between the title characters takes a back seat to literally explosive battle scenes and military intrigue."
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August 10th, 2016

"The play is an odd mix of comedy and tragedy, which director Daniel Sullivan has tried to blend with limited success...Sullivan uses the play to deliver a message about the futility of endless war, with its ripples of bad consequences...Overall, though, the message is muddled both by the inconsistencies in the play and the seeming randomness of the staging, which includes, for a climax, a lengthy gun battle that might have been taken from a mindless action movie."
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August 9th, 2016

"'Troilus' has been naturalized into 2016 idiom, making it delightfully easy to follow, if you don’t mind all the mugging that comes along with it…The final 20 minutes of the second act are almost non-stop smoke and gunfire. My sole gripe with the production was an over-reliance on hand-to-hand combat sequences, which are difficult to pull off for extended periods without calling attention to their staginess."
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August 13th, 2016

"Often considered one of Shakespeare’s problem plays, and certainly one of his most disconcerting, few works better illustrate the hypocrisy of war...The play certainly defies easy classification, with elements of comedy, romance, and tragedy told against a historical backdrop, one mood giving way to another at a moment’s notice. Sullivan solves this problem by having the entire cast play their roles brimming with passion."
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August 9th, 2016

"If anyone could surmount the problem of 'Troilus and Cressida’ being one of Shakespeare’s ‘problem’ plays, it would be director Daniel Sullivan, the American stage master of the Bard...Sullivan focuses pretty much on the war plot line…The battle and subsequent massacre of Hector is over-ambitiously choreographed. Shakespeare’s always good, but it’s still evident, even with Sullivan’s skills, why 'Troilus and Cressida’ is one of the Bard’s least frequently staged."
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August 16th, 2016

"Sullivan strips away any chance of such glamorizing by dressing the play in contemporary costumes that evoke a desert war...The soldiers in this male-heavy play are largely cynical and coarse, and Sullivan's actors, find contemporary stylistic touchstones for their cynicism...I find this play virtually impossible to love. Thanks to the blunt lucidity with which Sullivan has laid out its action, and his stern emphasis on textual clarity, I'm at least beginning, reluctantly, to respect it."
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August 10th, 2016

"There’s nothing quite like seeing the works of Shakespeare. Add to that the Delacorte Theatre’s setting in Central Park, and you have a match made in heaven. And that’s exactly what The Public’s production of 'Troilus and Cressida' was...The acting was far from the rigid, traditional acting often associated with Shakespearean productions; each actor embodied their character...A perfect example of the Public’s mission to bring dynamic and inventive theater to the broadest range of audiences."
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August 11th, 2016

“The challenge is the sheer boredom that comes with a siege...Unfortunately this sense of boredom threatens to envelop the production...If there is a complaint to be had, it’s that the piece isn’t brutal enough...The act of war is a vulgar, unnatural act. To watch it represented in the pleasant surroundings of the Delacorte Theater, vaguely sanitized, it almost seems a disservice. It’s a rare occasion when you wished for more depravity in our theater, but this is the world that we live in."
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August 13th, 2016

"Neither a true comedy nor a tragedy in the classical sense, the play is a caustic study of war and love that doesn’t really have much to say about either. And this production is certainly problematic, though many of its issues lie more in the Bard’s script than in director Daniel Sullivan’s take on the piece...Unusual for Shakespeare, few of the characters grow or change over the course of the three-hour play. There are some lovely moments, but little in the way of emotional power or depth."
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August 12th, 2016

"Daniel Sullivan has provided the Public Theater and its audiences with what may be the best Shakespeare in the Park production I have ever seen...Sullivan proves his brilliance once again in this vital presentation that captures the essence of a play: one of Shakespeare's hardest to render properly...Many of the performances are memorable, and the whole is at first funny, then unnerving and finally affecting."
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August 9th, 2016

"The war raging around young lovers Troilus and Cressida is pointless. But that’s precisely the point of Shakespeare’s tragedy with a wickedly comic undertow…If the Grecian-Trojan war that pervades 'Troilus and Cressida' brings to mind current conflicts, that’s no accident. Director Daniel Sullivan brings Shakespeare’s seldom-produced anti-war, anti-hero, anti-romance farce into sharp 21st century focus, complete with selfies, social media and assault rifles."
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August 10th, 2016

"Sullivan’s production is so ferociously good, so unexpectedly funny and searingly modern that it achieves that thing all productions of Shakespeare are at some level striving for: overcoming the language barriers to present a story you can lose yourself in as easily as a play in modern English...By far the cleverest, most subtle moment of the play, however, was that which wordlessly explained the end of Troilus and Cressida’s romance...This isn’t caprice, it’s survival."
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August 11th, 2016

"Sullivan’s cast does justice to the play’s changing focus without letting any segment overstay its welcome...There’s no 'all for one, one for all,' in this war, and yet the dedication to carnage and the acceptance of wasted life seems to be the price of admission for the kinds of heroics Shakespeare and Sullivan are subtly skewering. So seldom done and here done so well, The Public's 'Troilus and Cressida' should be seen and celebrated."
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