DANA H.

Critics

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97 %

Reviews: 15

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Dana Higginbotham was a psych ward chaplain. Jim was a patient, an ex-convict who told her he was searching for redemption. Dana H. recounts the harrowing true story of the five months Dana was held captive—trapped in a series of Florida motels, disoriented, terrified, and with her life in Jim's hands. Told in Dana's own words and reconstructed for the stage by her son, award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath (A Doll's House, Part 2, The Christians), this innovative work of theatre shatters the boundaries of the form and of our understanding of good and evil.

A co-production with Goodman Theatre

Reviews

Avatar

Directed by James Bundy (originally for Yale Repertory Theatre, where he is artistic director), with Michael Rudko playing Winnie's mostly silent mate, this production yields plenty of ironic laughter.

sweet - Don Shirley - LA Observed - ...read full review


Avatar

On the surface, it looks so simple, with her just sitting in a chair, front and center, but it’s one of the most brilliant, mesmerizing performances I’ve ever seen! She should win every award possible for this work!

sweet - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


Avatar

The many hours of recorded dialogue were edited by Hnath to become a full length one act that actor Dierdre O'Connell, presents by lip syncing Dana's actual voice telling the fantastic story of her abduction...

Hnath's device of presenting his mother's interview verbatim and in her own voice adds a personal authenticity.  It works.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Stephen Fife

One thing not up for debate is Les Waters’ production, which is impeccable. I cannot imagine it being bettered in any regard. It is certainly among the top three productions I’ve viewed at the Douglas in the last several years. For theatergoers who have often seen shows that ape what others have done, nothing more, Dana H. is a real tonic. This is how powerful the theater can be, and it’s great to be reminded of that.

sweet - Stephen Fife - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer

CTG is presenting the world premiere of his new play, Dana H. But perhaps “play” isn’t the correct description for the production that awaits you at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The script is culled from interviews with Hanth’s mother about an incident in her life when she was abducted by an ex-con. And, while there are plenty of scripts based on real-life interviews, Dierdre O’Connell, the actress who inhabits the role of Dana, speaks none of Dana’s words. Instead, she lipsyncs to edited recordings of the interviews.

sweet - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar

...Les Waters’ direction couldn’t be more precise. It was a riveting experience and cannot be explained without giving away too much. In addition to extraordinary storytelling, one sequence is so electrifying that it becomes one of those rare theatrical moments which once seen will never be forgotten, and the sheer genius of achieving power by keeping things simple and straightforward, there is the incredible, often magical, performance of Deirdre O’Connell.

sweet - Harvey Perr - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

DANA H. does a brilliant job of telling her story – in her own words – in this boundary-shattering production. Her talented and creative son and author/adaptor of the play, Lucas Hnath has a career marked by award-winning plays including “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” “The Christians,” and “Hillary and Clinton.” In fact, two of his plays are currently running in New York. Not one to draw inside the lines, Hnath has outdone himself with this production – a ground-breaking approach to telling a story with all the nuances and glitches that happen in real life.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

An Obie-winning veteran who worked for several seasons at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, she’s a playwright’s actor if ever there was one, able to make the divergent styles of Sam Shepard, María Irene Fornés, Annie Baker and Lisa Kron seem tailor-made for her lived-in qualities...

In an uncanny feat of acting, O’Connell makes not only every word but every hesitation, stammer and punctuating laugh her own. Her gestures when she’s not speaking seem to be the only gestures possible in the moment. Sound designer Mikhail Fiksel and illusion and lip sync consultant Steve Cuiffo contribute to the production’s seamlessness.

Hnath, a formalist with a heart, has constructed a theatrical experience that operates on two levels: the raw material of his mother’s testimony and the artistic filter that edits, arranges and keeps at a slight intellectual remove what we’re hearing.

sweet - Charles McNulty - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

O’Connell is mesmerizing. She has spot-on gestures, pauses, laughs, shuffles, and giggles as she conducts this kind of lip-synch dance with the dialogue. We hear the interviewer ask the questions and we hear Dana’s replies. The audience feels the terror that Dana endured as every suspenseful and shocking moment of this true story unfolds...

The show is riveting. It’s full of terror, violence, and suspense.

sweet - Darlene Donloe - Donloe's Lowdown - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder

This is the haunting tale of survival, told with unique and never-before attempted innovation of pure theatrical genius. As someone who since early childhood has literally spent all of my life surrounded by and devoted to the wonders of creating theatre—especially in the experimental creation of groundbreaking new forms—may I say without hesitation what Lucas Hnath has here wrought, energized and brought to glorious life by the unbelievably creative collaboration of director Les Waters and featuring a tour-de-force performance by Deirdre O’Connell, has totally blown my mind.

sweet - Travis Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

Suffering through many brutal beatings as well as a graphically-described rape, this insider's look at a kidnapping and its repercussions is not for the faint of heart. So, in no circumstances should you bring young children to the show. And even though there have been so many tales in the media about teenage abductions in recent years, I cannot in all honesty recommend this show for anyone under the age of 16. And even then, it's "talking head" style of storytelling, though brilliantly done by O'Connell, may be too intense for those not interested in this type of graphic work.

sweet-sour - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

Dana H. is a remarkable play, a departure from the norm, powerful and mesmerizing from beginning to end.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

Direction by Les Waters is flawless...

Readers, this play is utterly unique and clutches my heart even as I write this. Hie thee hence! You will be glad you did, even if it hurts the tenderhearted.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

Les Waters (“The Christians”) directs, meshing designs into a web that immediately catches and holds the audience, bringing in moments of the outside world that simultaneously draw us in deeper and remind us this is theater and reality...

For the breathless 80 minutes of this theatrical work, we glimpsed over and into the other side.

sweet - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Erin Conley

Directed by Les Waters, it is a fascinating staging conceit that feels constantly risky, but O’Connell never misses a beat, perfectly matching every inflection, stammer, and sigh. Hearing Ms. Higginbotham’s actual voice only adds to the impact of the already incredibly powerful material. The emotion does not need to be created, it is already there in this extraordinary first-person recount of a story that will leave you stunned. The story itself lends itself so easily to this medium—particularly in a society so fascinated by true crime—that next to no onstage bells and whistles are needed to help it land.

sweet - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Avatar

Directed by James Bundy (originally for Yale Repertory Theatre, where he is artistic director), with Michael Rudko playing Winnie's mostly silent mate, this production yields plenty of ironic laughter.

sweet - Don Shirley - LA Observed - ...read full review


Avatar

On the surface, it looks so simple, with her just sitting in a chair, front and center, but it’s one of the most brilliant, mesmerizing performances I’ve ever seen! She should win every award possible for this work!

sweet - Karen Salkin - It's Not About Me - ...read full review


Avatar

The many hours of recorded dialogue were edited by Hnath to become a full length one act that actor Dierdre O'Connell, presents by lip syncing Dana's actual voice telling the fantastic story of her abduction...

Hnath's device of presenting his mother's interview verbatim and in her own voice adds a personal authenticity.  It works.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Stephen Fife

One thing not up for debate is Les Waters’ production, which is impeccable. I cannot imagine it being bettered in any regard. It is certainly among the top three productions I’ve viewed at the Douglas in the last several years. For theatergoers who have often seen shows that ape what others have done, nothing more, Dana H. is a real tonic. This is how powerful the theater can be, and it’s great to be reminded of that.

sweet - Stephen Fife - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer

CTG is presenting the world premiere of his new play, Dana H. But perhaps “play” isn’t the correct description for the production that awaits you at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The script is culled from interviews with Hanth’s mother about an incident in her life when she was abducted by an ex-con. And, while there are plenty of scripts based on real-life interviews, Dierdre O’Connell, the actress who inhabits the role of Dana, speaks none of Dana’s words. Instead, she lipsyncs to edited recordings of the interviews.

sweet - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar

...Les Waters’ direction couldn’t be more precise. It was a riveting experience and cannot be explained without giving away too much. In addition to extraordinary storytelling, one sequence is so electrifying that it becomes one of those rare theatrical moments which once seen will never be forgotten, and the sheer genius of achieving power by keeping things simple and straightforward, there is the incredible, often magical, performance of Deirdre O’Connell.

sweet - Harvey Perr - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

DANA H. does a brilliant job of telling her story – in her own words – in this boundary-shattering production. Her talented and creative son and author/adaptor of the play, Lucas Hnath has a career marked by award-winning plays including “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” “The Christians,” and “Hillary and Clinton.” In fact, two of his plays are currently running in New York. Not one to draw inside the lines, Hnath has outdone himself with this production – a ground-breaking approach to telling a story with all the nuances and glitches that happen in real life.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

An Obie-winning veteran who worked for several seasons at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, she’s a playwright’s actor if ever there was one, able to make the divergent styles of Sam Shepard, María Irene Fornés, Annie Baker and Lisa Kron seem tailor-made for her lived-in qualities...

In an uncanny feat of acting, O’Connell makes not only every word but every hesitation, stammer and punctuating laugh her own. Her gestures when she’s not speaking seem to be the only gestures possible in the moment. Sound designer Mikhail Fiksel and illusion and lip sync consultant Steve Cuiffo contribute to the production’s seamlessness.

Hnath, a formalist with a heart, has constructed a theatrical experience that operates on two levels: the raw material of his mother’s testimony and the artistic filter that edits, arranges and keeps at a slight intellectual remove what we’re hearing.

sweet - Charles McNulty - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

O’Connell is mesmerizing. She has spot-on gestures, pauses, laughs, shuffles, and giggles as she conducts this kind of lip-synch dance with the dialogue. We hear the interviewer ask the questions and we hear Dana’s replies. The audience feels the terror that Dana endured as every suspenseful and shocking moment of this true story unfolds...

The show is riveting. It’s full of terror, violence, and suspense.

sweet - Darlene Donloe - Donloe's Lowdown - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder

This is the haunting tale of survival, told with unique and never-before attempted innovation of pure theatrical genius. As someone who since early childhood has literally spent all of my life surrounded by and devoted to the wonders of creating theatre—especially in the experimental creation of groundbreaking new forms—may I say without hesitation what Lucas Hnath has here wrought, energized and brought to glorious life by the unbelievably creative collaboration of director Les Waters and featuring a tour-de-force performance by Deirdre O’Connell, has totally blown my mind.

sweet - Travis Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

Suffering through many brutal beatings as well as a graphically-described rape, this insider's look at a kidnapping and its repercussions is not for the faint of heart. So, in no circumstances should you bring young children to the show. And even though there have been so many tales in the media about teenage abductions in recent years, I cannot in all honesty recommend this show for anyone under the age of 16. And even then, it's "talking head" style of storytelling, though brilliantly done by O'Connell, may be too intense for those not interested in this type of graphic work.

sweet-sour - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

Dana H. is a remarkable play, a departure from the norm, powerful and mesmerizing from beginning to end.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

Direction by Les Waters is flawless...

Readers, this play is utterly unique and clutches my heart even as I write this. Hie thee hence! You will be glad you did, even if it hurts the tenderhearted.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

Les Waters (“The Christians”) directs, meshing designs into a web that immediately catches and holds the audience, bringing in moments of the outside world that simultaneously draw us in deeper and remind us this is theater and reality...

For the breathless 80 minutes of this theatrical work, we glimpsed over and into the other side.

sweet - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Erin Conley

Directed by Les Waters, it is a fascinating staging conceit that feels constantly risky, but O’Connell never misses a beat, perfectly matching every inflection, stammer, and sigh. Hearing Ms. Higginbotham’s actual voice only adds to the impact of the already incredibly powerful material. The emotion does not need to be created, it is already there in this extraordinary first-person recount of a story that will leave you stunned. The story itself lends itself so easily to this medium—particularly in a society so fascinated by true crime—that next to no onstage bells and whistles are needed to help it land.

sweet - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review