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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews

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Wick3
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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#1
Posted: 3/28/19 at 8:40am

This play at the Park Avenue Armory had its opening last night but I can't seem to find any reviews on it this morning. I know it's off-broadway but I'd imagine reviews would still be published. From doing a google search a few minutes ago the only one I saw from NYTimes was the one from last summer by Brantley:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/13/theater/lehman-trilogy-review-national-theater-london.html

Thanks to a kind friend I was able to see this show from the right side orchestra 14 rows back and was impressed by the set, direction, and of course, the three actors. It's amazing how 3 hours and 20 minutes went by so quickly. I saw this production back in London in the early fall but sat in one of the last rows of the mezzanine and didn't really see the projections that well but this time around I had a great view of the projections and felt they really added to the experience. 

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#2
Posted: 3/28/19 at 11:01am

Would you mind pasting a bit of the NYT review you linked to? I've reached my "free limit" and can't read it. TIA

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#3
Posted: 3/28/19 at 11:09am

Sure here goes. I still haven't seen the Park Avenue armory review from NYTimes though.

Written by Ben Brantley for NYTimes back in July 13, 2018 (National theatre):

"The power of three is multiplied into infinity in “The Lehman Trilogy,” the transfixing saga of family and finance that opened on Thursday night at the National Theater here. This sprawling yet devastatingly efficient production begins as the tale of three brothers, Lehman by name, Bavarian Jewish immigrants to the United States.

The show is also divided into three parts, each of which (according to my watch) lasts a precise hour, with an additional 30 minutes of combined intermissions. It is set among the restlessly shifting American landscape of three different centuries, and its characters are shaken by three monumental wars.

But what makes this work a ticket worth cashing in your gilt-edged securities for are its three extraordinary actors, who are the sole occupants of the vast Lyttelton stage for nearly 180 minutes. They are Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley. Behold them with wonder, humble theatergoer, for they are multitudes.

Written by the Italian dramatist Stefano Massini, “The Lehman Trilogy” was staged in Paris (in 2013) and Milan (in 2015), where it clocked in at five hours. Ben Power has done the astute, hypnotically cadenced English adaptation, and it has been directed with luxuriant austerity by the celebrated stage and film director Sam Mendes.

The story spun here is indeed that of the clan whose name became a byword for world-shattering Wall Street hubris in 2008, when the mighty firm of Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.

Vertiginous falls from grace in the financial industry have been a favorite recent subject in books (“Too Big to Fail&rdquoLEHMAN TRILOGY reviews, films (“Margin Call,” “The Big Short”) and jumbo-size plays that include Lucy Prebble’s “Enron” and Ayad Akhtar’s “Junk.” What sets “The Lehman Trilogy” apart is its exceptional concentration of narrative simplicity and depth, in which minimal resources seem to expand into unlimited riches.

Unlike Mr. Massini’s original version, the current “Trilogy” begins on the eve of Lehman Brothers’ end, with a fleeting glimpse of a vast, desolate office that is clearly of the 21st century. Es Devlin’s excellent contemporary set — a rotating, glass-walled cubicle furnished largely by packing crates — will turn out to be both a time machine and a blank slate to be scrawled upon, filled in and erased by its inhabitants.

Without a whit of cumbersome scenery or signaling, the play slips from the 21st century into 1844, when a young German Jew arrives in the harbor of New York City. His name is Henry Lehman, or it will be before he’s through Customs, and he is embodied by Mr. Beale, arguably the greatest classical actor of the present-day London stage, with a heart-stirring air of contemplative awe.

Henry will soon set up shop, a general store specializing in cotton goods, in Montgomery, Ala., where he is joined by his younger brothers, Emanuel (Mr. Miles) and Mayer (Mr. Godley). Though the original siblings will have died long before the play ends, they will always be with us, as guides and observers throughout the multigenerational story of expansion, acquisition and loss that follows.

Here is Henry, speaking in the play’s opening minutes: “He took a deep breath and walking quickly, despite not knowing where to go, like so many others he stepped into the magical music box called America.” It’s a sentence that gives you fair warning of the script’s language.

The performers describe their characters, their settings and their histories in the third person. Replete with the embroidery of epithets and metaphors, their accounts suggest the E.L. Doctorow of “Ragtime” channeling the incantatory verse of Homer. Enhanced by the varying tempo of a lone piano accompaniment, it is a style that might be called epic picturesque. By rights, it should pall quickly.

Instead, you are pulled you into its unceasing tidal sweep, as tickled as a toddler with a bedtime story that promises endless permutations. That’s partly because the play’s performers, under Mr. Mendes’s impeccably paced direction, are so inventively mutable.

Though never stepping out of Katrina Lindsay’s original costumes — sharply tailored suits in shades of gray that bring to mind daguerreotype family portraits — the brothers Lehman transform themselves into an innumerable host of others. These include their descendants, spouses, colleagues, rivals and employees during more than 160 years.

Their metamorphoses are achieved with little excessive flourish. A cocked hip, a turned collar, a squint of the eyes, a stretched vowel: These transformations are in themselves pure pleasure, recalling pinnacle story-theater productions like the Royal Shakespeare Company’s fabled “Nicholas Nickleby.”

For instance, Mr. Beale, barrel-shaped and bearded, is most seductive as both a demure 19th-century Southern miss and a worldly 20th-century divorcée. Mr. Godley, in turn, becomes every single one of the dozen matrimonial candidates auditioned by Philip Lehman (Mr. Beale), son of Emanuel. (And wait until you see Mr. Godley’s Robert Lehman literally dance himself to death.) Mr. Miles (Cromwell in the stage version of “Wolf Hall”) incarnates an entire melting pot of upwardly mobile Americans.

What’s most remarkable about the performances, though, is how the actors manage to suggest they are both inside and on top of their characters at all times. That dichotomy is essential to sustaining the mystical omniscience of a play that draws heavily from biblical scripture and Jewish ritual. The plagues of Egypt are invoked for the third act; so, for a boxes-toppling climax, is the Tower of Babel.

And, yes, “The Lehman Trilogy” could be described as a religious parable of reckoning. Past, present and future are coterminous here, a sense underscored by Jon Clark’s lighting and Luke Halls’s video projections, which summon an eternal Manhattan that is equal parts steel and shadow.

The word “nothing” echoes throughout. Nothing is what the Lehman brothers say they come from; nothing is finally what’s left of all they’ve achieved. That’s what happens when money floats into the ether of latter-day Wall Street, unmoored by connection to substance.

But “The Lehman Trilogy” is unlikely to leave anyone who sees it in a nihilistic frame of mind. What you’ve witnessed, after all, is the creation of a whole, vastly populated, constantly changing world of infinitely renewable resources.

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#5
Posted: 3/28/19 at 3:56pm

The Hollywood Reporter is a rave.

"Likely to be the theater event of the season."

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#6
Posted: 3/28/19 at 3:59pm

The Washington Post is a rave.

"The Lehman Trilogy is so good, it expands your sense of what three actors on a stage can conjure."

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#7
Posted: 3/28/19 at 4:03pm

am New York is a rave.

Four stars. "Financial epic an unlikely must-see."

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#8
Posted: 3/28/19 at 4:38pm

Hmm, this might be climbing my list to see. I'm a sucker for financial epics, and I adore the Armory's space. Only thing I'm hesitant about is the sound. I saw Yerma there and hoooo boy I think I burst an eardrum. Of the people who have seen it, how is the sound level? They have rush tickets, so I might swing by and see if I can see it.

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#9
Posted: 3/28/19 at 5:05pm

Re: the previous question - I saw the show last night and the sound seemed fine, not especially loud or quiet.

Also, by looking at the photos in these reviews, I would have to concur with someone either here or at allthatchat (I can't remember) -- the visuals are far more impressive the closer to the center you are (laterally speaking). There are many seats even in the so-called center section which are to either the left or right of the glass box and consequently don't offer the impressive head-on imagery of the photos. Also, I would imagine you would lose much of the effect if you are much further back than row G or H. I was in J and, it seems to me, that was already too high for an ideal perspective.

Also, just incidentally, I thought the show got better as it progressed, with Act III being the best (even though, as noted many times, if you are expecting even a slightly detailed explanation of the 2008 collapse, you will be disappointed). The little I got out of the show, in that respect, was mostly indirect from the 1929 scenes -- somebody had to be allowed to fail so the government wouldn't appear to be quite so obviously a tool of the rich.

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#10
Posted: 3/28/19 at 5:59pm

Last night, I sat in row N, the second seat from the far right end (an absolute steal at $45), and I never thought that I wasn't getting the full impact of the staging and projections, which were often reflected in the glossy finish of the stage itself, to a stunning effect. I think the viewing angle from the far ends of the closer rows might be more problematic, and I'm assuming that the projections will start to get cut off the higher you're seated, but I was extremely happy with my vantage point. As far as the sound is concerned, I think it was exceptional, and perfectly balanced. As far as the show is concerned, I thought it was captivating, and surprisingly moving. I'm regretting not buying another $45 ticket last Septmember, when I could, since I would love to see it again.

Updated On: 3/28/19 at 05:59 PM
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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#11
Posted: 3/28/19 at 6:17pm

Saw this the other night and I don't recall anything loud. The underscoring is annoying but it's never very loud.

These reviews are interesting but they make me a little sad. Brantley and the others seems to be reviewing the actors more than the work itself.

I'm glad most people love this piece (I didn't dislike it), but, I fear that by calling this type of storytelling "theater," a "play," that the actual art and craft of playwrighting is dying.

Be it The Ferryman or To Kill A Mockingbird, narration and telling, rather than showing seems, increasingly, to be the norm. I've always seen it as lazy and personally, that's not why I fell in love with theater as a kid.

I don't want to see Glenda Jackson sitting on a folding chair, reading a Cliff's Notes description of King Lear.

If I want to listen to a story, I'll just get an audible.com subscription.

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#12
Posted: 3/28/19 at 11:17pm

Thanks for posting the reviews Wick3 :)

ebenn77 - I hope it goes all the way to the top of your list - it's a can't miss! I rushed it on Monday (I got there at 10:40a (for 12p rush sales) and was 4th in line, but as word-of-mouth grows, you'll want to get there earlier, especially on weekends).

Our seats were in Row W - 11&12. No problems with the sound at all - it was just right!

As far as visuals...yes, we missed whatever was right behind the box in the projections area, but I don't think there was much. The projections were more "background". 

I always carry my theatre glasses (I see a lot of shows), and I used them a few times to get an up-close view of faces/props. Otherwise, your view into the box is not obstructed, even that far up!

I highly recommend going down to the floor during one of the intermissions (I went during the 2nd interval and the curtain was still up). That glass box is a behemoth and worth the walk down to see it up close. Holy smokes! 

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#13
Posted: 3/28/19 at 11:28pm

Has anyone rushed this and can report what time they arrived to secure tickets, if there were any?

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#14
Posted: 3/29/19 at 12:05am

FloydJoe2 said: "Has anyone rushed this and can report what time they arrived to secure tickets, if there were any?"

I think our posts crossed paths :)

Here's my experience... I rushed it on Monday 3/25 (I got there at 10:40a (for 12p rush sales) and was 4th in line, but as word-of-mouth grows, you'll want to get there earlier, especially on weekends).

The Armory has two long benches with a Rush Line Starts Here sign - first time I've ever seen that setup and so much better than sitting on the floor for 2hrs :)

Updated On: 3/29/19 at 12:05 AM
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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#15
Posted: 3/29/19 at 2:20pm

looking to trade my zone C ticket for a different performance...  see the buy/sell for details

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#16
Posted: 3/29/19 at 3:55pm

CarmenA3 said: "FloydJoe2 said: "Has anyone rushed this and can report what time they arrived to secure tickets, if there were any?"

I think our posts crossed paths :)

Here's my experience... Irushed it on Monday 3/25 (I got there at 10:40a (for 12p rush sales)and was 4th in line, but as word-of-mouth grows, you'll want to get there earlier, especially on weekends).

The Armory has two long benches with a Rush Line Starts Here sign - first time I've ever seen that setup and so much better than sitting on the floor for 2hrs :)
"

Where is it located? Does the line start outside the building (the big doors entrance at park)? Or if is inside the building how early does Park Armory open? Thank you!

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#17
Posted: 3/30/19 at 10:11am

For those not able to get to this in NY or London or for whom remaining premium ticket costs in NY are prohibitive,  please know that National Theater Live will be capturing and broadcasting it in UK in July 25 with additional dates to roll out after that (not yet announced as of yesterday). Yep, not the same as being there, but better than missing this seemingly singular production completely. For those of you who receive NTL emails, they have not yet announced it but it is on the website. 

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#18
Posted: 3/30/19 at 3:28pm

Markie27 said: "Where is it located? Does the line start outside the building (the big doors entrance at park)? Or if is inside the building how early does Park Armory open? Thank you!"

The rush line is outside (so pay attention to the weather) just south (to the right) of the main doors on Park Ave. There's a sign as well that says "Rush Ticket Line Starts Here". The immediate area is residential - if you need a snack/drink, you'll want to bring it with you. Good luck and let us know how it goes for you!

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#19
Posted: 4/1/19 at 3:07pm

CarmenA3 said: "Markie27 said: "Where is it located? Does the line start outside the building (the big doors entrance at park)? Or if is inside the building how early does Park Armory open? Thank you!"

The rush line is outside (so pay attention to the weather) just south (to the right) of the main doors on Park Ave. There's a sign as well that says "Rush Ticket Line Starts Here". The immediate area is residential - if you need a snack/drink, you'll want to bring it with you. Good luck and let us know how it goes for you!
"

 

Thank you so much CarmenA3.  I was there this morning.  I woke up early but was too lazy to get out of bed so I left Queens late and arrived there at exactly 9:22 AM.  It is a Monday So I thought that it won’t be that much people queuing so I was kinda shocked that the two benches were almost full when I got to the Park Avenue main entrance. I still took my chances since I was already there.  Around 2 mins after a lady came and another one lady came a few minutes later.  The 2 benches were full by 9:30 AM.  I didn’t notice another black bench was added so I think by 11:00 there four long benches total.

So at 9:22 AM I was the 10th person in line.  The earliest person there arrived at 6AM, and he told the group that the second person came in at around 7 and then the next person came at around 8.  So the other 6 people before me trickled in between 8:30AM - 9:20AM.  By 10:30 the four benches (or was it three?) were full and by 11AM the line now went almost all the way through the corner of 66th.

There were a lot of chatter there about the number of tickets being sold for rush on any given day.  I didn’t like my chances since I know that we are allowed to purchase 2 tickets. (at least I am sure that the two people before me were buying two tickets each) so assuming all we’re buying 2 and assuming there were no d*chbags who fall    In line with a group of friends I would only be able to get the 19th ticket.  

But luckily I stayed since I got the third to the last ticket.  I got the nose bleed tix on Row W, very last row aisle seat.  The person after me got 1 ticket and the last lady after her got 2.  So 12 people in line got tickets (or all of the people seating in the first two benches. So if we assume that the first 7 people  got either 1 or 2 tickets each (since I know for sure how many tickets the 8th-12th people got) I would say that they released from 15 to 22 tickets for rush.

So basically if you are on the third bench the chances of you getting tickets are slim (hopefully everyone on that first 2 benches will only buy 1 tix each for you to get tix).  And if you will try to get rush tomorrow a lot of people at the back were asking how early we got there so I believe a lot of them will try again tomorrow at 9 so best be there earlier.   So good luck to everyone willing to try!

 

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#20
Posted: 4/1/19 at 5:19pm
Markie27: Wow! First of all, Yey for getting tickets! And yikes - the line is getting as intense as some ppl who are lining up for Hadestown (I heard as early as 4:45a!). Thanks for the thorough report - my friend wants to rush soon this will help her plan.

I think the last row is all rush tickets, but you’ll be fine. I have a pair of theatre binoculars and I used them a few times to look at facial expressions and details on the set, Otherwise I had no issues with sightlines.

Let us know what you think of the show :) If you get a chance, can you take a look at the clock in the center of the set (I think it becomes visible after the first stage turn) and check what time it is. The clock moves throughout the show and ends at midnight. I’m wondering if it also starts at midnight.
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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#21
Posted: 4/2/19 at 3:48pm

CarmenA3 said: "
I think the last row is all rush tickets, but you’ll be fine. I have a pair of theatre binoculars and I used them a few times to look at facial expressions and details on the set, Otherwise I had no issues with sightlines."

What kind of theatre binoculars do you use? The only time I have ever used binoculars was when I watched Harry Potter in London (cost to rent it was 1 pound!) 

Also, I did notice the times did change in the clock throughout the performance but am now curious what time it started as well. 

I did notice that the projections in the beginning and the end was the same (statue of liberty with small waves.)

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#22
Posted: 4/2/19 at 4:36pm

Wick3 said: 
What kind of theatre binoculars do you use? The only time I have ever used binoculars was when I watched Harry Potter in London (cost to rent it was 1 pound!)”

Wow, £1! Yeah, I’d rent them too just to see how useful they would have been! LOL 

I use a small pair I got from REI that I keep in my everyday bag b/c I’m always forgetting them when I want to use them. They’re not specifically for theatre, but have good magnification and are small. I love to look at set details and figure out how the actors are mic’ed (especially when it’s not so obvious). 

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#23
Posted: 4/3/19 at 9:44am

I was sitting on the balcony of the Palace theatre in London (4th tier) and the binoculars somewhat helped but I think yours are better.

I was just looking for LEHMAN TRILOGY tickets this morning since some friends are visiting next week and wow they're SOLD OUT for the entire run! I mean wow! Then again I'm not surprised given all the rave reviews. I remember back in September how slow the ticket sales seem to be and was hoping a discount would pop up at some point (similar to Hairy Ape two years ago.) 

Anyway, for those of you who have gotten tickets, you're in for a treat! I've never seen theater like this before and am glad I got to experience it in London last fall and again here in NYC last week. By the way, the seats are a lot more comfortable (they're padded) compared to the yellow plastic stadium style seats at Hairy Ape.

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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#24
Posted: 4/5/19 at 10:18pm
Any info on what time people on Friday and/or Saturday arrived at the front of the Rush line?
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LEHMAN TRILOGY reviews#25
Posted: 4/7/19 at 8:44am

Hey I was there on saturday- I'm not sure when the first people arrived but I got there at 9 and did not get tickets. The people two in front of me were the last ones to get and they were giving about 16 for each show. 

Updated On: 4/7/19 at 08:44 AM