The Niceties

Critics

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88 %

Reviews: 13

Audience

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Reviews: 0

The Niceties
Written by Eleanor Burgess
Directed by Kimberly Senior
Featuring Lisa Banes & Jordan Boatman
April 9 - May 12, 2019
Gil Cates Theater
In this “barnburner of a play” (The Washington Post), two extraordinary women square off in a high-stakes academic debate over race, reputation and who gets the final word on how American history is written. When university professor Janine and her brilliant student Zoe don't see eye to eye, their routine office hours discussion unexpectedly careens off course—and threatens to derail their careers, lives and the status quo.

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Reviews

"Burgess has done a damned fine job in covering an old topic anew by keeping her characters human in all that they say and do. Kudos to Director Kimberly Senior who ensures we’re paying attention to the deeply personal views of these two women with increasing hostility, while leaving us stunned by play’s end."

sweet - E.M. Fredric - The Hollywood Times - ...read full review


"...the time and work they have put into this project are on obvious display throughout, making for a production that is as flawless as it is powerful."

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


Deborah Klugman
"The pace picks up considerably in Act 2, when the actors become other than mouthpieces for a particular perspective. ....Still, in the end you can't help feeling manipulated by dialogue that is so obviously and overtly constructed to make a point, albeit a cogent one."

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


"Two smart people, two progressives who battle till it becomes a zero-sum game, with remarkable dialogue and real emotion, that's what this ideological warfare between the two becomes. There is no solution."

sweet - Sarah A. Spitz - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"You can feel their allegiances shift between the two parties. You can hear the muffled “harrumphs” about gender identity. You nod with the knowing laughter when allusions are made to how that 2016 election is going to turn out. You can feel an audience weighing a complicated web of issues. …and a solid piece of theater"

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


"The dialogue throughout the show is comparable to a strategic chess game of life, where each player thinks five minutes ahead of her next argument, all the while reflecting on her past moves. So many moments include crystal clear language, gestures, and mannerisms, depicting the two actors riding a wave, and holding strong. The play clearly reveals character development, and despite resentment and bitterness toward each other, they maintain composure and eye contact. "

sweet - Bonnie Primmer - Curtain Up - ...read full review


"The play has a few plot points; the characters alternate their dramatic status throughout. Senior's direction gives a bit of suspense to the piece. Boatman does adequate work, making Zoe an overenthusiastic young student with little respect for her elders, creating a single-minded but not one-dimensional character."

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


"The play survives any of the easy pitfalls that could befall it because playwright Burgess is an extremely skillful debater who plays no favorites and gives equal weight to both sides of the argument. It makes for fascinating theatre that is never boring and whose suspense never dims."

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


Patrick Chavis
"The production provokes thought about, history, debate, race, education and many other topics but the portrait laid out of the modern millennial may limit an even deeper conversation between two very engaging actresses on the Gil Cates Stage."

sweet-sour - Patrick Chavis - LA Theatre Bites - ...read full review


Erin Conley
"Banes and Boatman are terrific actresses who play off each other beautifully, managing to make nearly two hours of two people talking in a room riveting. Burgess's writing is smart, particularly in how she draws these two characters to each be so complex that you sometimes cannot decide who is “in the right,” and wonder what that even means."

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


Eric A Gordon
"Like it or not, liberals and leftists need each other. The Left cannot achieve any of the demands it puts forward without liberal support, which may be reticent but more deeply guarantees permanent acceptance—even by conservatives who once were in opposition (see Social Security, Medicare, voting rights, same-gender marriage); and the liberals need the Left to legitimize their claim to represent the working class in its wide diversity. Few people like to think of themselves as a bad person. Many people in these “woke” times want to behave well, though it's not always self-evident what such behavior asks of them. Action has to be placed in the framework of long-term strategy of winning ever more people to your side—not alienating them! Big mistake of the Weatherpeople of my generation! Some patience and a little ironic humor (qualities V.I. Lenin cited as requisites for the revolutionary) are needed."

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


Shari Barrett
"No doubt this thought-provoking play will generate much discussion between audience members, as it did for me both at intermission, after the show and on the way home, about what happens now with the #MeToo generation freely speaking their minds, revealing their truth, often without so much as a thought to the consequences to all parties as a result of their speaking up. Then again, in this time of hidden agendas being revealed across all generations and media, now is the perfect time for us to examine what it takes to stop speaking without thinking and start listening to what others are really saying before angry emotions destroy us all."

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


"You should see it and debate it. But rather than using the play to prove what you already think, try to open your mind to both sides of a dramatic argument that has been constructed refreshingly with as much dispassion as passion."

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


"Burgess has done a damned fine job in covering an old topic anew by keeping her characters human in all that they say and do. Kudos to Director Kimberly Senior who ensures we’re paying attention to the deeply personal views of these two women with increasing hostility, while leaving us stunned by play’s end."

sweet - E.M. Fredric - The Hollywood Times - ...read full review


"...the time and work they have put into this project are on obvious display throughout, making for a production that is as flawless as it is powerful."

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


Deborah Klugman
"The pace picks up considerably in Act 2, when the actors become other than mouthpieces for a particular perspective. ....Still, in the end you can't help feeling manipulated by dialogue that is so obviously and overtly constructed to make a point, albeit a cogent one."

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


"Two smart people, two progressives who battle till it becomes a zero-sum game, with remarkable dialogue and real emotion, that's what this ideological warfare between the two becomes. There is no solution."

sweet - Sarah A. Spitz - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"You can feel their allegiances shift between the two parties. You can hear the muffled “harrumphs” about gender identity. You nod with the knowing laughter when allusions are made to how that 2016 election is going to turn out. You can feel an audience weighing a complicated web of issues. …and a solid piece of theater"

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


"The dialogue throughout the show is comparable to a strategic chess game of life, where each player thinks five minutes ahead of her next argument, all the while reflecting on her past moves. So many moments include crystal clear language, gestures, and mannerisms, depicting the two actors riding a wave, and holding strong. The play clearly reveals character development, and despite resentment and bitterness toward each other, they maintain composure and eye contact. "

sweet - Bonnie Primmer - Curtain Up - ...read full review


"The play has a few plot points; the characters alternate their dramatic status throughout. Senior's direction gives a bit of suspense to the piece. Boatman does adequate work, making Zoe an overenthusiastic young student with little respect for her elders, creating a single-minded but not one-dimensional character."

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


"The play survives any of the easy pitfalls that could befall it because playwright Burgess is an extremely skillful debater who plays no favorites and gives equal weight to both sides of the argument. It makes for fascinating theatre that is never boring and whose suspense never dims."

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


Patrick Chavis
"The production provokes thought about, history, debate, race, education and many other topics but the portrait laid out of the modern millennial may limit an even deeper conversation between two very engaging actresses on the Gil Cates Stage."

sweet-sour - Patrick Chavis - LA Theatre Bites - ...read full review


Erin Conley
"Banes and Boatman are terrific actresses who play off each other beautifully, managing to make nearly two hours of two people talking in a room riveting. Burgess's writing is smart, particularly in how she draws these two characters to each be so complex that you sometimes cannot decide who is “in the right,” and wonder what that even means."

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


Eric A Gordon
"Like it or not, liberals and leftists need each other. The Left cannot achieve any of the demands it puts forward without liberal support, which may be reticent but more deeply guarantees permanent acceptance—even by conservatives who once were in opposition (see Social Security, Medicare, voting rights, same-gender marriage); and the liberals need the Left to legitimize their claim to represent the working class in its wide diversity. Few people like to think of themselves as a bad person. Many people in these “woke” times want to behave well, though it's not always self-evident what such behavior asks of them. Action has to be placed in the framework of long-term strategy of winning ever more people to your side—not alienating them! Big mistake of the Weatherpeople of my generation! Some patience and a little ironic humor (qualities V.I. Lenin cited as requisites for the revolutionary) are needed."

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


Shari Barrett
"No doubt this thought-provoking play will generate much discussion between audience members, as it did for me both at intermission, after the show and on the way home, about what happens now with the #MeToo generation freely speaking their minds, revealing their truth, often without so much as a thought to the consequences to all parties as a result of their speaking up. Then again, in this time of hidden agendas being revealed across all generations and media, now is the perfect time for us to examine what it takes to stop speaking without thinking and start listening to what others are really saying before angry emotions destroy us all."

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


"You should see it and debate it. But rather than using the play to prove what you already think, try to open your mind to both sides of a dramatic argument that has been constructed refreshingly with as much dispassion as passion."

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