Review Roundup: Mona Pirnot's I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I COULD DIE at New York Theatre Workshop

The new play will run through March 9, 2024.

By: Feb. 15, 2024
Review Roundup: Mona Pirnot's I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I COULD DIE at New York Theatre Workshop
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New York Theatre Workshop is now presenting I Love You So Much I Could Die, written and performed by NYTW Usual Suspect Mona Pirnot, and directed by NYTW Usual Suspect and Tony Award nominee Lucas Hnath.

I Love You So Much I Could Die is part concert, part play, intricate and intimate, wry and tender, elemental and wholly unforgettable. Through monologues performed by a computer and songs performed by the playwright, NYTW Usual Suspect Mona Pirnot wrestles with the private and unspeakable in a very public way. NYTW Usual Suspect Lucas Hnath directs.

BroadwayWorld has collected reviews from New York City's top theatre critics and you can check out their concensus below!

Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times: The vaguely strummed musical interludes, which amount to little more than wisps of acoustic coffeehouse balladry, waffle between abstractly sensitive and cutesy. (Will Butler, who used to be in Arcade Fire and wrote the original score for David Adjmi’s “Stereophonic,” is the music director.) Introducing “Good Time Girl,” Pirnot says, “This next song is meant to have a hardcore electric guitar solo. It doesn’t work without the hardcore electric guitar solo. But I don’t have an electric guitar. So I’m going to do the hardcore electric guitar sounds with my mouth.” I cannot swear that my eyebrows did not shoot up at that line, but at least Pirnot, her back still to the orchestra seats, could not see it.

Sara Holdren, Vulture: Not once in I Love You So Much do we see Pirnot’s face. In the middle of the stripped-out stage at NYTW (a wide brick box, gorgeous as its naked self), she sits at a table with her back to us, a laptop on one side, a guitar and lamp on the other. The stories she has to tell are delivered by the computer — her words spoken in the flat, slightly wonky cadence of a Microsoft text-to-speech tool. We can watch the cursor blink its way across the screen as the contourless male voice stumbles over pronouncing “Shia LaBeouf” and details episodes of crushing depression. This overwhelming sorrow, we’re given to understand, is why the computer is speaking to us in the first place. 

Carol Cao, New York Theatre Guide: It's common to judge plays about grief on physical performance: facial expressions, the volume of speech, wobbling anguish, tears. Theatre invites an instinct to measure intensity and spectacle. I Love You So Much I Could Die refuses to settle into this rubric.

Sandy MacDonald, New York Stage Review: One can only hope that creating and performing this unusual work will help the creator come to terms with feelings we have all grappled with, sometimes to a paralyzing degree. Pirnot is acting, if not in the traditional theatrical sense. She is doing something, anything, to address her despair. Her bravery may inspire fellow sufferers fortunate enough to bear witness.

Jonathan Mandell, New York Theater: I can see some theatergoers dismissing the way Pirnot and Hnath tell her story as gimmicky;  avant-garde affectation. Even the design, which is a  kind of anti-design – Mimi Lien’s set no set, just the brick walls of the stage, and the desk in the middle – could reinforce that impression.  But I found much of it unexpectedly moving, and I suspect the unconventional theatrical elements helped contribute to my reaction – the flat affect of the computer-generated voice  and the antisocial act of turning her back to us conveying Pirnot’s  emotional detachment and sense of isolation.  

To read more reviews and to share your own, click here!