Already closed | 1h 50m | East Village

[Veil Widow Conspiracy]

From 32 member  reviews
Members say: Confusing, Ambitious, Slow, Great acting, Great staging

About the show

In its exploration of many retellings of a story from Western China, this new work probes the slipperiness of what we call truth, where reality and fiction each have an angle, and no metaphor comes without an agenda. More…

"[Veil Widow Conspiracy]" is built around nested versions of a story from 1922 Xinjiang in Western China: a political murder mystery dramatized in a 2010 big budget Hollywood film, then amended via DVD extra interviews with the cast and crew, in censorship negotiations with the Chinese government, and finally by two lovers in a futuristic, dystopian Brooklyn, without the means to watch the film, one describing it to the other by memory in the dark.

Member Reviews (32)


Confusing, Ambitious, Slow, Great acting, Great staging
Avg Score

Slow, Indulgent, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if A very wordy play that can be confusing at times. Good acting, costumes.

Don't see it if A performance that needs to be cut diwn and reworked.

Multi-layered, Intelligent, Confusing, Slow, Ambitious

See it if u have the patience to follow a story-within-a-story-within-a-story that's part historical fiction, part mystery, part apocalyptic fantasy.

Don't see it if you like your storytelling clear & concise; you're not looking for anything too cerebral, narrative-heavy, long-winded & meta.

Also There are -- buried beneath a ton of exposition, plots, and theatrical... Read more Read less

Clever, Intelligent, Confusing, Slow, Great staging

See it if you would like to see good actors on a wonderful set dealing with a story within a movie in the future. Best to have knowledge of China.

Don't see it if you want a seamless play: multiple characters played by cast, difficult to understand parts of story, some voices need more projection.

Thorough, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Dizzying, Entertaining

See it if you relate to watching a dated movie plus the director’s commentary & discussing the circumstances under which the movie was made

Don't see it if uninterested in the complicated cultural baggage we bring in interpreting/judging foreign cultures or our own past

Also Great script with the 3 storylines clearly differentiated. The framing... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Confusing, Clever

See it if you're interested in ambitious and creative storytelling, theme of truth, exploration of Chinese politics, some parts metatheatrical.

Don't see it if you're looking for a straightforward play or material that is lighter/less dense. Confusing at times, especially in the beginning,

Excruciating, Great set, Solid acting, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you want the author to tell you what his POV is in the first 15 min and then spend the next 1 1/2 hours explaining why he might be wrong

Don't see it if you want to see a coherent play

Also You can only score this in comparison to Rain Yuting He's "Where is My... Read more Read less


See it if Under the metaphoric veil, stories shift because of money, politics, and power. How much do we believe what we're told?

Don't see it if Turducken (3 layers) story a bit confusing, probably can edit one layer out. Weaves educational material about an exploited part in China.

Also Diversity: Asian American cast except for 1 actor.... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Slow, Quirky, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if You like shows that are very meta (a Russian doll of a story)

Don't see it if You want to be able to follow what's happening.

Confusing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you want to see something new and different.

Don't see it if you must know about the world the play takes place in or you don't like story-within-story shows.

Also If you do attend, I recommend getting there early and using the intera... Read more Read less

Ok acting, Unnecessarily confusing, Slow, Nice set

See it if You want to support Asian artists that are injecting history into plays about the past and future.

Don't see it if You want an engaging story. The device of the movie (and DVD features) within a future piece wasn't very successful and seemed unnecessary.


See it if you'd like to support NAATCO and their important work.

Don't see it if you have a short attention span.

Also wonderful actors can't save this script. The first scene is fantastic ... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Clever, Confusing

See it if you can suspend the need to understand what is going on and why. Interesting premise but too much going on. Good enough acting

Don't see it if you need or want resolution to a plot line. The things that make it interesting are ultimately the things that are confusing and frustrating

More clarity of time and place changes would have helped untangle this potentially great play., Slow, Great acting, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if Important ideas about culture clashes and political manipulation of mores and metaphors between China and US may draw you to this deep play.

Don't see it if If you need a little more meat on the bones of the political and cultural ideas being hinted at rather than clearly laid out and driven home

Slow, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You are really interested in Chinese history/stories. To the point that you can ignore mediocre acting.

Don't see it if You are easily confused by jumps in time in a plot.

Also I was really excited about this and the first scene definitely made me... Read more Read less

Slow, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if you are interested in exploring the notions of "truth," albeit in an unnecessarily complex structure that loses some of the impact.

Don't see it if multi-layered plot structures (esp in a 90 min show) put you off. Worth noting that a 90 min show probably shouldn't feel long...

Great staging, Great acting, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if This play certainly had a lot of potential however it was too long, too preachy, confusing at times and in serious need of editing.

Don't see it if Youlike a more cogent fast paced story.

Epic, Great staging, Great acting, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if into an epic, a seamlessly woven tale of China in 1922 and 2010, and future Brooklyn.

Don't see it if looking for something simple...

Also An admirable effort that leaves some issues unresolved. What is the de... Read more Read less

Must see, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if you're interested in cultures and history told through a play within a play

Don't see it if You're looking for a straightforward story.

Also I don't understand these negative reviews from people that could not u... Read more Read less

Slow, Intense, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if You like to be challenged by plays that ask questions. This show has an unusual narrative structure and questions truth vs. fantasy.

Don't see it if You like a clearcut story. The beginning and ending was confusing.

Ambitious, Confusing, Great acting, Enchanting

See it if the subject of China-US relations is interesting to you; you want to see a play about a film set in the 1920s; you want multi-levels of plot

Don't see it if you want a clear story (what's the deal with dystopian future Brooklyn? What's going on?)

Long, Overstuffed, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if Questions about the value of storytelling and how stories can be used to challenge, give hope, indoctrinate, or rebel

Don't see it if the play tries to do a lot (3 different story lines/time periods) and thus comes across as muddy; stilted dialogue can feel like a lecture

Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if you're interested in remote cultures and history told through a creative political and philosophical lens

Don't see it if you find the intrusion of the play of ideas on the unfolding drama to be annoying. the playwright has done the necessary homework, but ...

Also that kind of erudition doesn't need to be on display to make compellin... Read more Read less

Confusing, Excruciating, Slow, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if A very cerebral play that grapples with ideas of what is real and what memory is. Solid, intelligent acting by a good cast.

Don't see it if You don't like non-liner plays that brings up more questions than answers.

Great staging, Clever, Ambitious

See it if You like puzzles.

Don't see it if You have trouble with enigmatic writing.

Dizzying, Absorbing, Great acting, Clever, Ambitious

See it if It examined the way in which it’s impossible to take action and comment on that action at the same time.It explored nested metaphor,history.

Don't see it if Disconcerting at first to be jerked in and out of the action. Horrific confrontation with how Now parallels some of worst times in history.

June 19th, 2019
“Dahlquist’s provocative and remarkably layered new play...With three story lines sprawling over two continents and more than a century, it considers the power of storytelling — whether in art or in calculated lies — to shape and bend people’s perceptions of what’s real...An excellent cast...Kudt...
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June 16th, 2019
"The story lines are related and tucked inside each other but really serve to comment on philosophies and moralities...The metaphorically dense dialogue emerges early on...The mishmash of interlocking stories continue from 1922 events to the movie shoot to the cast speaking directly to the audien...
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June 19th, 2019
“’Three different narrative lines, none of them with a compelling situation or characters...It isn't clear if the director has encouraged her cast to give stilted, bad-movie performances, but if so, she has succeeded magnificently. The line readings are wooden and heavy with insinuation...Exactly...
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June 20th, 2019
"Gordon Dahlquist's '[Veil Widow Conspiracy]' is a challenging work-cerebral, complicated, extravagant in language and scope. Some people may find it affected, and it does seem at times to revel in its own complexity. (Also, what's with those brackets in the title?) '[VWC]''s ambition is sometime...
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