Gloria

Critics

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 18

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

A razor-sharp, darkly comic drama about ambition, office warfare and pecking orders by MacArthur “genius” grant recipient Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. For the 20-somethings working at a chic, unnamed New York magazine, the only thing that matters is style, status — and selling out to the highest bidder. Editorial assistants Ani, Dean and Kendra each hope for a starry life of letters and a book deal before they turn 30. But when an ordinary humdrum workday becomes anything but, the stakes for who will get to tell their own story become higher than ever. Sept. 15 through Oct. 28: Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m., and Mondays at 8 p.m.; The Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90039; Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays: $34; Monday night performances are $20 in advance, and Pay-What-You-Want at the door (subject to availability); 310-307-3753; www.EchoTheaterCompany.com. (Features disturbing adult content and strong violence; may not be suitable for audiences under the age of 17.)

Reviews

Avatar
"Chris Fields sobering direction and a skilled cast deliver the goods. Sturgis and Soo stand out in the most colorful and complicated roles that also undergo the greatest transformations. But the play's the thing. Jacobs-Jenkins' writing is not for all markets. Some may find it grating or too raw. As with Martin McDonagh's and David Mamet's work, it reflects the unvarnished coarsening of our world. It's not a pretty sight, but it is breathtakingly true."

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar
"The lion's share of credit for the success of this staging must go to Fields. Unlike the earlier production of Gloria, he has eschewed a reality-thick office interior for a set. Amanda Knehans, whose craft has been amply demonstrated in such prior Echo offerings as Blueberry Toast and A Small Fire, devises a set that generates the specified environment while being minimalist enough not to encumber the whirlwind that Fields unleashes on stage."

sweet - Ernest Kearney - www.thetvolution.com - ...read full review


Avatar
"It's thought-provoking, gut-churning, blood-pounding theater, a rare commodity these days. Give me director Chris Field's extraordinarily well-cast nail-biter over easy escapism any day."

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Erin Conley
"But when a tragedy happens, both the play and the characters' lives face an abrupt tonal shift, laying the groundwork for a story that is actually about the effects of trauma and the various ways the ruthless media industry capitalizes on catastrophe."

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


Michael Van Duzer
"In Gloria, playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins examines office culture at a large, New York-based magazine by focusing on a group of assistants and interns. The office gossip, the petty squabbles, the poorly concealed ambition, and the poisonous sense of privilege these millennials display is every bit as vicious as it is hilarious."

sweet - Michael Van Duzer - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar
"Jacobs-Jenkins gifts the cast with such cleverly crafted, multifaceted monologues, arias if you will, effectively orchestrated by Fields. These operatic moments reveal these characters struggle to retain their humanity within their dog-eat-dog office environment."

sweet - Aja Houston - USC Annenberg Media - ...read full review


Gil Kaan
"The two others more than up to the challenge of long monologues - scene stealers Michael Sturgis and Steven Strobel. Whenever either of these two participate in a scene, the energy's crackling electric. Strugis as Dean, effectively fires off razor-sharp disses and truthful observations, all while exposing Dean's vulnerability and flaws. Strobel, as Lorin, the annoyed worker down the hall, executes one of the most believable, yet hysterical breakdown scenes ev-er!"

sweet - Gil Kaan - BroadwayWorld.com - ...read full review


Avatar
"As Echo's work creates more and more echoes in the LA theater, its artistic director Chris Fields stages "Gloria" flawlessly."

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


Avatar
"Mr. Jacob-Jenkins is trying to make us examine something deeper than the sensational. He's asking us, like any great playwright, to consider how we treat one another and what we value as a culture. That's not easy. And like that intern or barista awkwardly observing in the background, “Gloria” can get a little uncomfortable but stick with it. Mr. Jacob-Jenkins is trying to tell us how to heal by showing us how deeply our disease runs."

sweet - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW 89.9 FM - ...read full review


Avatar
"Act I is driven with biting, painful, funny monologues and repartee. Like Appropriate, Act I is a study in well-structured play, while Act II clunks around a bit, looking for its own rhythm. In the Echo's production, this seems to be due to Director Chris Fields' missed opportunities of pace to lift Jenkins' words to their highest potential. It is a stark contrast to his clear vision in Act I. Make no mistake, the excellent design, mostly fantastic performances, and one of the best scripts among new plays, Gloria is a terrific evening of theatre."

sweet - Keri Tombazian - 94.7 FM The Wave - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"Audiences will be talking about Branden Jacobs-Jenkin Gloria long after its final fadeout. A decidedly different look at a hot-button topic that must be kept mum in a review, it is Echo Theater Company at its most excitingly cutting-edge."

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman
"Although the publishing world serves as the framework for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' scathing dramedy, his story is less about the decimation of a once flourishing profession as it is about the impoverishment of our lives and our relationships with others, or lack thereof."

sweet - Deborah Klugman - StageRaw - ...read full review


Kathy Flynn
"The story moves from competitiveness to bitchiness, one-upmanship, and hysterically funny angry rants reminiscent of Sorkin in their rapid-fire brilliance...It lulls you with its biting, acerbic wit grounded in the reality of office life."

sweet - Kathy Flynn - Discover Hollywood - ...read full review


Avatar
"Its voice is an amalgam of David Mamet, Neil LaBute and Aaron Sorkin – scorching dialog delivered at a ferocious pace, a highwire act for actors in a small repertory. The Echo Theater Company pulled it off beautifully on opening night at the Atwater Village Theater."

sweet - Ethlie Ann Vare - The Hollywood Times - ...read full review


Avatar
"The tragedy of “Gloria” takes us by surprise, but the playwright helps us deal with what we've witnessed. We can relate — and we start to rethink our place in other people's life stories."

sweet - Julie Riggott - Culture Spot LA - ...read full review


Ron Irwin
"So when looking at the totality of the show Gloria I saw something that is rich in abundant but often dark humor, while concurrently presenting valid issues facing our modern society and in all likelihood probably not all that rare in past generations as well. If you are the kind of theatre patron who primarily wants to watch great choreography presented with spectacular music and overwhelming happiness Gloriais not your show. But if you enjoy having your mind stretched and your thoughts challenged then Gloriawill deliver for you."

sweet - Ron Irwin - LA Post Examiner - ...read full review


Avatar
"We follow where the playwright leads, never sure where the story will end up but grateful to be in the company of such a sharp-eyed dramatic intelligence. The play is also bitingly funny... The generational, economic and ethical battles are deeply human concerns, even if the combatants are too engrossed in their own career blips to notice the bigger picture. Fields' actors, nearly all of whom play more than one role, ably handle the tightrope between send-up and sincerity."

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


Eric A Gordon
"It's apparent that the superiors are also carrying on their own internecine competition for sizzling stories. The one that flashes across the computer screens today is the sudden overdose death of a popular singer, about whom the magazine, newly bought out by a megacorporation, intends to promote a major exploitative feature revealing her sexuality. This toney magazine is really just one or two undergraduate degrees above the salacious popular fare found at supermarket checkout aisles—and getting more market-driven all the time as print fades and digital media rises supreme. “I was writing,” the playwright says, “about a group of people whose job is to…decide what's newsworthy or not…what lives have value or not….” As the audience settles in, the sound system (by Christopher Moscatiello) enthralls us with gorgeous baroque choral music—the “Gloria” from Johann Sebastian Bach's B-minor Mass completed in 1749, the year before his death, and not heard complete in the composer's lifetime. This magnificent work is a cornerstone of Western civilization, contrasting significantly with the far less durable commercially viable pablum the ever-ravenous media machine churns out week after week. Miles sits at his desk lost in the “Gloria” on his headphones."

sweet - Eric A Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar
"Chris Fields sobering direction and a skilled cast deliver the goods. Sturgis and Soo stand out in the most colorful and complicated roles that also undergo the greatest transformations. But the play's the thing. Jacobs-Jenkins' writing is not for all markets. Some may find it grating or too raw. As with Martin McDonagh's and David Mamet's work, it reflects the unvarnished coarsening of our world. It's not a pretty sight, but it is breathtakingly true."

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar
"The lion's share of credit for the success of this staging must go to Fields. Unlike the earlier production of Gloria, he has eschewed a reality-thick office interior for a set. Amanda Knehans, whose craft has been amply demonstrated in such prior Echo offerings as Blueberry Toast and A Small Fire, devises a set that generates the specified environment while being minimalist enough not to encumber the whirlwind that Fields unleashes on stage."

sweet - Ernest Kearney - www.thetvolution.com - ...read full review


Avatar
"It's thought-provoking, gut-churning, blood-pounding theater, a rare commodity these days. Give me director Chris Field's extraordinarily well-cast nail-biter over easy escapism any day."

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Erin Conley
"But when a tragedy happens, both the play and the characters' lives face an abrupt tonal shift, laying the groundwork for a story that is actually about the effects of trauma and the various ways the ruthless media industry capitalizes on catastrophe."

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


Michael Van Duzer
"In Gloria, playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins examines office culture at a large, New York-based magazine by focusing on a group of assistants and interns. The office gossip, the petty squabbles, the poorly concealed ambition, and the poisonous sense of privilege these millennials display is every bit as vicious as it is hilarious."

sweet - Michael Van Duzer - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar
"Jacobs-Jenkins gifts the cast with such cleverly crafted, multifaceted monologues, arias if you will, effectively orchestrated by Fields. These operatic moments reveal these characters struggle to retain their humanity within their dog-eat-dog office environment."

sweet - Aja Houston - USC Annenberg Media - ...read full review


Gil Kaan
"The two others more than up to the challenge of long monologues - scene stealers Michael Sturgis and Steven Strobel. Whenever either of these two participate in a scene, the energy's crackling electric. Strugis as Dean, effectively fires off razor-sharp disses and truthful observations, all while exposing Dean's vulnerability and flaws. Strobel, as Lorin, the annoyed worker down the hall, executes one of the most believable, yet hysterical breakdown scenes ev-er!"

sweet - Gil Kaan - BroadwayWorld.com - ...read full review


Avatar
"As Echo's work creates more and more echoes in the LA theater, its artistic director Chris Fields stages "Gloria" flawlessly."

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


Avatar
"Mr. Jacob-Jenkins is trying to make us examine something deeper than the sensational. He's asking us, like any great playwright, to consider how we treat one another and what we value as a culture. That's not easy. And like that intern or barista awkwardly observing in the background, “Gloria” can get a little uncomfortable but stick with it. Mr. Jacob-Jenkins is trying to tell us how to heal by showing us how deeply our disease runs."

sweet - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW 89.9 FM - ...read full review


Avatar
"Act I is driven with biting, painful, funny monologues and repartee. Like Appropriate, Act I is a study in well-structured play, while Act II clunks around a bit, looking for its own rhythm. In the Echo's production, this seems to be due to Director Chris Fields' missed opportunities of pace to lift Jenkins' words to their highest potential. It is a stark contrast to his clear vision in Act I. Make no mistake, the excellent design, mostly fantastic performances, and one of the best scripts among new plays, Gloria is a terrific evening of theatre."

sweet - Keri Tombazian - 94.7 FM The Wave - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"Audiences will be talking about Branden Jacobs-Jenkin Gloria long after its final fadeout. A decidedly different look at a hot-button topic that must be kept mum in a review, it is Echo Theater Company at its most excitingly cutting-edge."

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman
"Although the publishing world serves as the framework for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' scathing dramedy, his story is less about the decimation of a once flourishing profession as it is about the impoverishment of our lives and our relationships with others, or lack thereof."

sweet - Deborah Klugman - StageRaw - ...read full review


Kathy Flynn
"The story moves from competitiveness to bitchiness, one-upmanship, and hysterically funny angry rants reminiscent of Sorkin in their rapid-fire brilliance...It lulls you with its biting, acerbic wit grounded in the reality of office life."

sweet - Kathy Flynn - Discover Hollywood - ...read full review


Avatar
"Its voice is an amalgam of David Mamet, Neil LaBute and Aaron Sorkin – scorching dialog delivered at a ferocious pace, a highwire act for actors in a small repertory. The Echo Theater Company pulled it off beautifully on opening night at the Atwater Village Theater."

sweet - Ethlie Ann Vare - The Hollywood Times - ...read full review


Avatar
"The tragedy of “Gloria” takes us by surprise, but the playwright helps us deal with what we've witnessed. We can relate — and we start to rethink our place in other people's life stories."

sweet - Julie Riggott - Culture Spot LA - ...read full review


Ron Irwin
"So when looking at the totality of the show Gloria I saw something that is rich in abundant but often dark humor, while concurrently presenting valid issues facing our modern society and in all likelihood probably not all that rare in past generations as well. If you are the kind of theatre patron who primarily wants to watch great choreography presented with spectacular music and overwhelming happiness Gloriais not your show. But if you enjoy having your mind stretched and your thoughts challenged then Gloriawill deliver for you."

sweet - Ron Irwin - LA Post Examiner - ...read full review


Avatar
"We follow where the playwright leads, never sure where the story will end up but grateful to be in the company of such a sharp-eyed dramatic intelligence. The play is also bitingly funny... The generational, economic and ethical battles are deeply human concerns, even if the combatants are too engrossed in their own career blips to notice the bigger picture. Fields' actors, nearly all of whom play more than one role, ably handle the tightrope between send-up and sincerity."

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


Eric A Gordon
"It's apparent that the superiors are also carrying on their own internecine competition for sizzling stories. The one that flashes across the computer screens today is the sudden overdose death of a popular singer, about whom the magazine, newly bought out by a megacorporation, intends to promote a major exploitative feature revealing her sexuality. This toney magazine is really just one or two undergraduate degrees above the salacious popular fare found at supermarket checkout aisles—and getting more market-driven all the time as print fades and digital media rises supreme. “I was writing,” the playwright says, “about a group of people whose job is to…decide what's newsworthy or not…what lives have value or not….” As the audience settles in, the sound system (by Christopher Moscatiello) enthralls us with gorgeous baroque choral music—the “Gloria” from Johann Sebastian Bach's B-minor Mass completed in 1749, the year before his death, and not heard complete in the composer's lifetime. This magnificent work is a cornerstone of Western civilization, contrasting significantly with the far less durable commercially viable pablum the ever-ravenous media machine churns out week after week. Miles sits at his desk lost in the “Gloria” on his headphones."

sweet - Eric A Gordon - People's World - ...read full review