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Troilus and Cressida (Delacorte)

Members say: Great acting, Great staging, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intense
80
Critics
76
34 reviews
Members
81
147 reviews
 

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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In the seventh year of the Trojan War, Troilus, a young prince, pines for the affections of Cressida, a bright young woman who knows how to play it cool. Meanwhile, the heroes of the Iliad–Ajax, Ulysses, Achilles, and the kings they serve–debate whether to return their dangerously beautiful captive Helen or continue to fight without end. Nations and lovers alike do battle in this funny, piercing drama about romance and revenge in a world at war. Presented by the Public Theater for free outdoors in Central Park.

 

Cast & Creatives (33)


Reviews (181)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
76
Avg Score

95
Theatermania

"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." Full Review

85
The New York Times

"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." Full Review

85
BroadwayWorld

"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." Full Review

80
Variety

"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." Full Review

80
Time Out New York

"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." Full Review

75
The Hollywood Reporter

"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." Full Review

65
New York Magazine / Vulture

"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," Full Review

70
Theater Life

"'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." Full Review

90
Lighting & Sound America

“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.” Full Review

70
Theatre's Leiter Side

"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." Full Review

75
AM New York

"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." Full Review

40
Talkin' Broadway

“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.” Full Review

30
The Clyde Fitch Report

"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." Full Review

85
Front Row Center

"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.'" Full Review

87
TheaterScene.net

“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.” Full Review

95
Upstage-Downstage

“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." Full Review

45
NorthJersey.com

"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." Full Review

80
CitiTour

"'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." Full Review

80
WNBC

"'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." Full Review

70
Woman Around Town

"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." Full Review

70
Wolf Entertainment Guide

"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." Full Review

80
NY1

"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." Full Review

85
CurtainUp

"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." Full Review

95
Theater Pizzazz

"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.” Full Review

90
Epoch Times

"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." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
81
Avg Score

71
Ambitious, Epic, Entertaining

See it if you like a modernized staging of a lesser known classic

Don't see it if A cast of 30 is too overwhelming

89
Epic, Intense, Riveting, Great staging, Cinematic

See it if you enjoy fresh, modern stagings of Shakespeare

Don't see it if you're more of a Shakespeare traditionalist

90
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You love Shakespeare and enjoy a contemporary take on classics

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare, get annoyed with different interpretations of classic texts

73
Great acting, Quirky, Resonant, Banal, Insipid

See it if You don't mind enduring a somewhat overblown staging of one of Shakespeare's justifiably less-loved plays, or if you love John Glover.

Don't see it if You prefer Shakespeare to be more traditionally staged, or have trouble following a somewhat muddled plot delivered in Elizabethan language.

72
Great acting, Confusing, Slow

See it if you don't mind sitting through a slow first act, enjoy great acting, want to see an awesome combat scene in the second act

Don't see it if you get bored easily, don't like Shakespeare, are not interested in seeing a Shakespeare play with modern dress

80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Epic, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if Shakespeare's Trojan horse of a play stuffed with nearly everyone from The Iliad & Odyssey will surprise you with its clarity. Strong cast.

Don't see it if Overt homoerotic relationships and the Trojan War fought with machine guns are too anachronistic for you in a swords and sandals tragedy.

60
Great acting, Indulgent, Disappointing, Overrated, Violent

See it if you're a diehard Shakespeare fan who really wants to see a production of this seldom-produced play.

Don't see it if you're bored easily or feel it's a bit too soon for a massive gun fight with semi-automatic weapons.

89
Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Riveting, Great staging

See it if You want to see an excellent production of an underrated W.S. play. Terrific direction by Daniel Sullivan, great fight scenes & fine acting.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with scenes of warfare & blood.

75
Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, 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.

81
Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense, Relevant, Slow

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.

77
Absorbing, Confusing, Great staging

See it if you want a unique Shakespearean experience. Some really good acting and clever staging.

Don't see it if can't sit through 3 hours of Shakespeare.

82
Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Great staging

See it if You want to see a brilliant interpretation of one of Shakespeare's lesser performed works, no one does it better than the Public! And FREE!!

Don't see it if You only enjoy Shakespearean comedies or won't be able to keep yourself out of your Instagram account for 3 hours (ahem ppl in front of me)

87
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Must see, Great staging

See it if You have had problems with this play in the past. You like tight, well acted, professional productions. You suffered through Taming...

Don't see it if You cant take the sweltering heat. You dont like loud sounds and faux warfare. Lots of semiautomatics.

83
Ambitious, Intense, Relevant, Great staging

See it if You enjoy outdoor theater that takes advantage of Central Park's great setting. You like well done modern takes on Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You don't like violence. There is a lot of fighting.

85
Epic, Great acting, Intense, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want to see Shakespeare performed in a contemporary setting with actors in modern dress.

Don't see it if You don't want to see imaginatively staged version of this well produced show.

71
Ambitious, Intelligent, Quirky, Well acted, Complex

See it if you like Shakespeare or any theatre out of doors.

Don't see it if it's very hot and humid.

80
Epic, Great acting, Long, Great staging, Jarring

See it if You want to see a play that's rarely produced done in an updated and interesting way.

Don't see it if You don't like sitting outside for a while. It's long. Very long.

75
Ambitious, Great acting, Closes sunday aug. 14th - catch it while u can!!

See it if How many times have U had an opportunity to see ANY production of TROILUS & CRESSIDA, nevermind a 1st rate showing of a 2nd-rate Shakespeare

Don't see it if MUST-SEE for Bard-o-philes and those willing to sit thru a young romance in order to witness one of the most violent battles ever staged!!

80
Great acting, Intense, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want strong acting, a darker Shakespeare play based on the battle between Troy & Greece, & inventive staging.

Don't see it if false gunfire makes you uneasy, you dislike modernized Shakespeare plays, or you want easily accessible tickets. Do the in-person lotteries.

76
Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if You are a Shakespeare fan. Actors were good. Too long and repetitive

Don't see it if Strictly for fans of the bard. Slow for kids and drags on and is repetitive

85
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like Shakespeare & a great ensemble cast all around. Pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this production of a "problem play."

Don't see it if you don't like loud noises/discussion of warfare or simulated gunfights, you want to see one of Shakespeare's better written plays.

70
Ambitious, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if you want a modern take on a Shakespeare play.

Don't see it if you don;t like the use of machine guns, the concept of war and fight scenes.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Genius, Great staging, Thrilling

See it if You want to see the best production of Troilus and Cressida you'll ever see. If you want to see Shakespeare modernization at its best.

Don't see it if You hate Shakespeare? If the guns and violence will be triggering for you.

85
Absorbing, Epic, Great acting, Relevant, Great staging

See it if u want a Classic tale about pawns & sacrificial lambs in "the fog of war" brought to modern times. EPIC battle scene! Glover & Stoll shine!

Don't see it if u have a low threshold for poorly written female characters: Cressida comes across as a schemer w/ karmic problems; Cassandra as hysterical.

83
Funny, Intense, Entertaining, Long, Great staging

See it if you wanna see a great version of one of Shakespeare's less produced show. And if you love EPIC battle scenes.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare. Obviously.