Review Roundup: Marin Ireland's PRE-EXISTING CONDITION

Pre-Existing Condition will run through August 3. 

By: Jun. 20, 2024
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Review Roundup: Marin Ireland's PRE-EXISTING CONDITION
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Pre-Existing Condition, written by Tony Award nominee Marin Ireland and directed by Maria Dizzia just celebrated opening night at the Connelly Theater in the intimate 60-seat Upstairs space. Pre-Existing Condition is a play exploring the challenges, shared community, and everyday indignities of learning to move forward after a life-altering, harmful relationship.
 
The production will star, in the rotating role of “A,” Emmy Award winner Tatiana Maslany from June 18-June 20, Julia Chan from June 21-June 22, Tony Award nominee Maria Dizzia from June 24-July 2, Tony Award winner Deirdre O’Connell from July 3-July 6 and July 15-20, and Tavi Gevinson from July 24-August 3. Julia Chan will standby for the role of “A.” The cast also includes Sarah Steele, Dael Orlandersmith, Greg Keller; with Raquel Chavez and Gregory Connors, understudies. 
 
Let's see what the critics are saying about the new play!
 

Review Roundup: Marin Ireland's PRE-EXISTING CONDITION Laura Collins-Hughes, New York Times: An impressive rotation of actresses — Maslany, Dizzia, Deirdre O’Connell, Tavi Gevinson and Julia Chan — is slated to inhabit A during the run: a clever way of signaling universality while adding box-office cachet in these uncertain times for theater. (More on that below.) An equally strong lure is, frankly, the gossip factor: Ireland’s own experience of domestic violence a dozen years ago in her relationship with the actor Scott Shepherd, when they were appearing in a show with the venerable Wooster Group. What makes “Pre-Existing Condition” so powerful, though, has nothing to do with that. It is A’s Everywoman nature, combined with the vulnerable physicality that’s so evident in such an intimate space: her breath, her welling tears, the placating smile she puts on like a demure piece of armor when she runs the risk of upsetting a man.

Review Roundup: Marin Ireland's PRE-EXISTING CONDITION Sara Holdren, Vulture: Maslany is heartbreaking at the center of Ireland’s story; you can see her body, sometimes tensely twisted and sometimes crumpled in dull exhaustion, working through a poison it’s trying to expel. Whatever Dizzia, Chan, O’Connell, and Gevinson bring to the role, there’s a sense that they’ll be bolstered by Maslany’s performance, and that she in turn is drawing strength from the knowledge that they’re right behind her. “You have some nice friends,” Connors’s D tells A at one point. Perhaps that’s what you do with this: Find those friends, take their hands, tell your story.

Review Roundup: Marin Ireland's PRE-EXISTING CONDITION Elysa Gardner, New York Sun: While Ireland has proven herself capable of great nuance as an actress, her writing here can seem ham-fisted, or too neatly tailored to confront stereotypes or stoke outrage. Watching Marin Ireland’s new play, “Pre-Existing Condition,” I couldn’t help but think of those Feeding America ads that have popped up everywhere in recent years, flashing AI-generated faces representing everyday folks to remind us that, according to its statistics, one in eight people suffer from hunger. The protagonist of “Condition,” referred to simply as A, is not starving, at least not for food, but she’s having trouble finding empathy and support in the aftermath of a different ordeal.

Review Roundup: Marin Ireland's PRE-EXISTING CONDITION Melissa Rose Bernardo, New York Stage Review: If you’re familiar with Maslany only from her Emmy-winning multi-character turn in BBC America’s Orphan Black, or on Broadway in Ivo van Hove’s video-powered Network or last season’s eccentric thriller Grey House, it’s a thrill to see her in the intimate black box Connelly Theater Upstairs. Even attendees in the back row will be able to see the tears in her eyes and the clenching of her jaw. She’s an absolute marvel.

Review Roundup: Marin Ireland's PRE-EXISTING CONDITION David Finkle, New York Stage Review: The canny Pre-Existing Condition result is that Ireland as much as anything else presents a clever satirical screed on how we communicate nowadays. She hears how often we’ve integrated psychological jargon into our discourse and just as often blithely — though, we think, seriously — pass it along as meaningful observation. She’s taken in how regularly we satisfy ourselves with what we have to say, assuming it has more value than it does. The outcome, she implies — maybe as regularly as not — is less broad satisfaction than self-satisfaction.

Review Roundup: Marin Ireland's PRE-EXISTING CONDITION Amelia Merrill, New York Theatre Guide: Maslany’s performance is raw as others claw at her skin throughout the show, her half-formed answers to questions bleeding out of her. When A tells one date her last boyfriend hit her, he sarcastically chides her, “What’d you do?” Lawyers tell her there’s not enough money at stake to take her case, and mutual friends plead that her ex feels really bad about it all. No one spouts cliches like "you should have left him" or "you asked for it," but they don’t have to; she still feels it. Her therapists (Dael Orlandersmith and Sarah Steele, who bounces among characters with dexterity) tell her as much in suffocating group sessions. The sessions are made lighter for the audience when Orlandersmith and Steele respond to invisible participants with emphatic nods and “mmm-hmm”s, but there is no relief for A — only exhaustion.

Review Roundup: Marin Ireland's PRE-EXISTING CONDITION
Average Rating: 76.7%


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