BWW Review: THE NICETIES is a Lesson for Today
THE NICETIES by Eleanor Burgess, having been performed at the Huntington Theatre Company and Manhattan Theatre Club, makes its way to McCarter Theatre Center's Berlind Theatre, a fitting arena for a play set during a history professor's office hours.
What transpires when the white professor critiques a black student's paper on the American Revolution sets up "an urgent and dangerous debate threatening to ruin both their lives."
About the production, McCarter Artistic Director Emily Mann said: "I am thrilled to bring Eleanor's rigorous, thought-provoking play to McCarter. There are no easy answers to the questions the play raises: What is the full history of America? Who gets to tell that story? In her writing, Eleanor takes great care to complicate ideas and assumptions while giving real weight to both sides of a thorny-and extraordinarily relevant-argument."
Jordan Boatman is especially captivating as Zoe, a political science student who meets with her professor (Lisa Barnes) for feedback on her class paper. Director Kimberly Senior, as she did with DISGRACED, explores the revelation of character and strength in dire-and familiar-circumstances.
In an interview, Bugess said "I like to think of the show as a jumping-off point for the audience. The real work of the play happens after the curtain goes down."
Inspired by events she observed as a student at Yale, Burgess presents the audience with challenging questions, weaving in the complex contradictions and ideals of two compelling characters.
Ticket Information and Performance Schedule
The Niceties runs January 11 through February 10 in the Berlind Theatre. Tickets start at $25 and are on sale now online at mccarter.org, by phone at (609) 258-2787, or in person at the McCarter Ticket Office, located at 91 University Place in Princeton.
The production's running time is 90 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.
Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson.