Review Roundup: THE HILL TOWN PLAYS
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater presents Lucy Thurber's The Hill Town Plays, a cycle of five plays--Scarcity, Ashville, Where We're Born, Killers and Other Family, and Stay-- whhich opened last night, September 5, 2013; the closing date is Saturday, September 28, 2013.
The Hill Town Plays will be produced simultaneously at five different West Village theaters, including Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre Mainstage, Cherry Lane Studio Theatre, Axis Theatre, and New Ohio Theatre. The plays comprise the inaugural Theater: Village festival, an annual theatrical event of five plays centered around one playwright or theme running simultaneously in five different West Village venues. Tickets may be purchased at www.theatervillage.com.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Charles Isherwood, NY Times: The Rattlestick's decision to stage five of a single writer's works at the same time certainly impresses with its ambition and its novelty. I can't think of another instance in which a contemporary playwright has been given a similar honor. Only one of the plays is new: "Ashville," directed by Karen Allen at the Cherry Lane Theater. The other four were first produced from 2001 to 2009, all but one by the Rattlestick.
Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post: Having several of your plays produced in a season is a rare honor - and it usually caps a fruitful, critically acclaimed career, as with the Signature company's tributes to Edward Albee, Paula Vogel and Arthur Miller. The Rattlestick Theater's "Hill Town" cycle is noteworthy, all right, especially since, in this case, the five plays aren't stretched over a few months but done simultaneously, with distinct directors and casts, at five different venues. Yet they aren't by a titan of theater but by Lucy Thurber.
Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News: It's worthwhile and fertile theatrical territory. But individually each play is shaky - less a full-blooded drama than an incident tarted up with confrontations that are violent or sexual (or both), and meant to rile you up.
Matt Windman, amNY: Although Thurber's plays fit together neatly as a cycle, their similarities stress how Thurber is a mediocre writer who was unworthy of such lavish attention. Here's hoping Rattlestick finds better programming the next time it presents a festival.
David Finkle, Huffington Post: I regret to say I departed the last one I saw, Stay not to second David Van Asselt implied goal heartily but vowing that -- much as I admire Scarcity and Where's We're Born, the actors in all five pieces and all five directors (Daniel Talbott, Jackson Gay, Caitriona McLaughlin, Karen Allen, Gaye Taylor Upchurch) -- it would be a long time before I want to see another Lucy Thurber play.