Review Roundup: ACTUALLY at Geffen Playhouse
"Every single thing leads to everything else..." Amber and Tom, finding their way as freshmen at Princeton, spend a night together that alters the course of their lives. They agree on the drinking, they agree on the attraction, but consent is foggy, and if unspoken, can it be called consent? Playwright Anna Ziegler investigates gender and race politics, our crippling desire to fit in and the three sides to every story.
Check out photos from the show below!
Tickets currently priced at $60.00 - $82.00. College Student tickets priced at $25.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
LA Weekly (Deborah Klugman): Designer Tim Mackabee's set resembles a textured wooden box that lighting designer Lap Chi Chu floods at certain junctures with varying hues of light. Pretty in places, I found it static, and wished for more lighting to be focused on the performers, when they rose from their seats, or when the story changed or shifted from past to present. By contrast, Vincent Olivieri sound design added notably to an uneasy ambience.
LA Times (Margaret Gray): Tackling an issue as topical and thorny as consent on college campuses suggests a writer who doesn't fear, or even enjoys, poking a hornet's nest. David Mamet's "Oleanna," which provoked heated discourse about gender politics and student/professor power imbalances in the 1990s, is an obvious precedent. Ziegler's parties are both students, but Ziegler one-ups Mamet by adding race to the provocations on offer: The accuser, Amber (Samantha Ressler), is white and Jewish; the defendant, Tom (Jerry MacKinnon), is black.
Hollywood Reporter (Jordan Riefe): Such strong portrayals and opposing viewpoints ought to comprise a captivating build to the final decision on what happened in Tom's room that night, but unfortunately Actually avoids the issue's thornier aspects. While it's nominally a drama about the difficulties of untangling the he-said/she-said question, the play digs into character at the expense of thematic bite in terms of dealing with campus rape. The profoundly difficult problem of how to resolve such questions is overshadowed by character background and inner musings that needlessly lengthen to 90 minutes what might comfortably have been an hourlong drama.