The Apple Family plays

WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/24/13 at 10:02pm
I missed the first three plays in The Apple Family cycle the first time around, but when I found out all four were going to be performed in rep with the premiere of Regular Singing I decided to go all in. I'm so glad I did.

That Hopey Changey Thing was like a breath of fresh air, both in the style of the text and the naturalistic performances given by a stellar cast. The play takes place in real time over the course of a dinner on election night, 11/2/2010. Four siblings, their uncle suffering from amnesia and one of the sister's boyfriend have gathered together; it sounds like this could be an A:OC or Other Desert Cities, but it's not. This isn't a soap opera, although some subtle revelations bubble up.

I liked the play quite a bit, but the real treat is the acting. Maryann Plunkett is SO good, as are Sally Murphy, Laila Robbins and Jay O. Sanders. They really feel like a family and the dynamics are established so quickly, believably and effortlessly that you feel like the fifth sibling who grew up with them. Stephen Kunken is always welcome on stage, and Jon Devries was very funny as the amnesic uncle- he gets quite a stirring moment late in the play as well.

I can't wait to go back and spend another couple of hours with these people next week. Another winner for The Public.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/24/13 at 10:09pm
Yes! Just what I needed to hear. I want to see all 4. I'm def. not a political guy, but this really interests me. Hopefully I can see all 4 in order.
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/24/13 at 10:22pm
I was also there tonight and thought it was wonderful. Such fine performances particularly that of Maryann Plunkett, who is one of our most underrated American actresses.

While political discussion figures greatly throughout the evening, I never felt like this was a political play or that a lack of intimate knowledge of the events being discussed were prohibitive to enjoying what is essentially an exploration and portrait of an American family.

In the program notes, Richard Nelson supposes that this play may be so tied to a specific time and place that it could now cease to be timely or relevant. But looking at the real fears and concerns this family feels about coming political uncertainty, from a vantage point now, four years later, when political uncertainty is only so much more complicated, I felt actually gave the play some bittersweet pathos and perspective that was beautiful.

Updated On: 10/24/13 at 10:22 PM
WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/24/13 at 11:28pm
I saw SORRY last year and was surprised that I was mostly bored by it. I appreciated the naturalistic writing, but I kept waiting for something, anything to happen. Just not sure if it was my cup of tea. I want to give the other plays a chance, but I'm wary! Glad you guys enjoyed the show tonight, though. Maybe I'll give the Apple family another chance.
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/24/13 at 11:48pm
I was just debating with myself whether I should get tickets! They're all on TDF, I guess, except for the one that hasn't opened yet. Should they be seen in order?
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/25/13 at 02:39am
saw Sorry and Sweet & Sad but missed Hopey Changey, so im seeing all 4 in one weekend in december, can't wait. and side note after his amazing performance in The Publics production of Titus a few years ago, I will pay to watch Jay O Sanders read the phone book :)

Updated On: 10/25/13 at 02:39 AM
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/25/13 at 07:25am

I'm also planning to do the 4-in-order-in-one-weekend in December thing. I haven't checked in on tickets. I hope that's still possible.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
Luv2goToShows
Broadway Star
joined:9/13/09
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/25/13 at 08:39am
I had heard so many good things about the first two plays so I went and saw Sorry last year, I thought it was good, I enjoyed it but it did not blow me away. This year I could only fit 2 in so I am seeing Sweet & Sad and the last one, Regular Singing. WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel, now I am thinking I should see That Hopey Changey Thing too. I am interested to hear how the rest of the series compares to the first one, especially when you get to Sorry.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/25/13 at 09:21am
Luv2Go and WickedRocks, Perhaps Sorry was a bit of a letdown without the context of the first two plays? I think they are supposed to stand alone, but I'm guessing there's a bit more oomph if you watch them from the beginning.

Even as a solitary work I thought That Hopey Changey Thing held up and agree with MB that Richard Nelson is being too hard on himself in the author's note. Yes the topics are of a very specific time and place, but the distance from the current events transforms and strengthens the text rather than renders it obsolete.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Luv2goToShows
Broadway Star
joined:9/13/09
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/25/13 at 06:39pm
Whizzer, I am not sure why I was letdown by Sorry it may have been that my expectations were too high. I also wondered if I would have liked it better if I had seen the first two plays.
stevenycguy
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/05
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 10/25/13 at 10:24pm
Unfortunately, these shows were a huge bore when I saw them. At least they were only $15 at the time. All they do is talk, and talk and talk, and talk some more. It's mind-numbing and like watching paint dry. And the shows are almost 2 hours long without intermission. It's much more interesting to turn on CNN, CNBC or Fox News for a half hour than listen to these highly uninteresting people for 2 hours nonstop.

I highly advise anyone to buy just ONE performance before you think about buying the other three. I unfortunately saw three of these in the past couple of years, and they were all just as boring as the others. If you love one, you'll love them all. But if you hate one, you will be very sorry you paid for 4 separate shows.
Jon_sense
Swing
joined:11/11/13
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 11/29/13 at 03:43pm
For fans of The Apple Family Plays and the wonderful Lailia Robins, here's an interview in which she discusses the process and experience of doing all four shows in one fell swoop:
http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/2013/23/interview-laila-robins

"New York's fall theater season is the best in recent memory, primarily due to the high quality of its remarkably large number of repertory productions. Performing Twelfth Night in tandem with Richard III, Mark Rylance and his all-male company find fresh immediacy in the 400-year-old traditions of Shakespeare's Globe Theater. Ian McKellan and Billy Crudup exhibit impressive versatility moving from Beckett's Waiting for Godot to Pinter's No Man's Land. And Bedlam Theater brings Hamlet and George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan to blazing life due to the energy of four young actors tossing characters around as if they were juggling balls. The greatest ensemble in town though, featured in The Apple Family Plays: Scenes from Life in the Country, performs the same roles in play after play after play after play."...
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 12/1/13 at 09:45pm
So I wanted to report back on my progress through the Apple family plays. I'm really loving them. I saw Hopey Changey Thing, Sweet and Sad, and Sorry on successive days, and I have tickets for Regular Singing next week. I liked Hopey Changey very much, but the real satisfaction for me is revisiting the Apples year after year. Hopey Changey establishes the characters and their relationships. In the subsequent plays you see how the dynamic among the siblings changes as they go through heartbreak and the challenges of everyday life. And there's a running commentary on the political events of the day.

My favorite so far is Sweet and Sad, and I was in tears at the end. Everyone in the cast is giving a wonderful performance. And when you consider that they are doing four plays in repertory, the achievement is hard to believe. After the show tonight I chatted with Maryann Plunkett and Jay O. Sanders, and they couldn't have been nicer.

Like Whizzer, I will be sorry to see the series end, and I am very grateful that we can see all four of the Apple plays in repertory. To anyone who hasn't seen them yet, there may be still time to catch the first three, and I recommend seeing them in order. I think Regular Singing is pretty much sold out. Thanks to the Public for making this series possible!

Updated On: 12/1/13 at 09:45 PM
RUkiddingme
Understudy
joined:12/9/11
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 12/2/13 at 12:47am
As an audience member, it was an honor to see such talented artists perform these 4 plays. Live theater doesn't get any better.
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 12/2/13 at 02:00am
I did the marathon of all 4 this weekend and really loved it. Sweet and Sad was actually my least favorite of the plays overall (though I did love the ending). My favorite by far was Sorry (the third play). Regular Singing was excellent as well. Hopey Changey fell somewhere in the middle for me. But still, I think what this ensemble is doing is absolutely spectacular. If you have a chance to see these plays, do it. The only downside is that they really do need to be seen in order. At the talkback tonight, Richard Nelson said that he doesn't think of them as 4 plays in a cycle, but rather 4 acts to one larger play, meaning they should in fact be performed/seen in order.
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 12/2/13 at 07:45am

I'm loving skimming these responses! (With one eye closed to avoid spoilers.) I got super lucky and was able to switch my ticket for REGULAR SINGING, so I'll be seeing the whole shebang on its final weekend. It's very exciting.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
Luv2goToShows
Broadway Star
joined:9/13/09
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 12/2/13 at 08:24am
I was able to catch 2 of these plays (Sweet&Sad and Regular Singing), I enjoyed them both, thought they were fantastic. I have a new appreciation for Sorry, which I did not fall in love when I saw it last year. Maybe because I saw that with out seeing the first two. If I had time I would revisit that and see the first play, unfortunately it does not look possible for me. There was talk of them filming the series, I really hope that is true and I will get to see the ones I missed and see them all back to back.
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
The Apple Family plays
Posted: 12/2/13 at 11:37am
Mysterious, that will be exciting! I envy those of you who were able to do that. I couldn't schedule all four in one weekend, but I am seeing them in order, just a bit more spread out. But to see them one after another will be awesome!

Updated On: 12/2/13 at 11:37 AM