The Thanksgiving Play

Critics

LemonMeter

61 %

Reviews: 14

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

The Thanksgiving Play

OCT 26 – DEC 6, 2019

Written by Larissa FastHorse

Directed by Michael John Garcés

How does one celebrate Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month at the same time? In Larissa FastHorse’s biting satire, this is the question facing three “woke” white thespians tasked with devising an elementary school pageant about the first Thanksgiving while avoiding any culturally appropriative missteps. A roast of the politics of entertainment and well-meaning political correctness alike, The Thanksgiving Play puts the American origin story itself in the comedy-crosshairs.

Reviews

Avatar

...The Thanksgiving Play is a straight-ahead satire that derives much of its humor from outright mayhem. Garces' actors have comic chops (especially Alexandra Henrikson as the fuzz-brained thespian, Alicia); they can do zany and are not afraid to get down and dirty with the broadness. But the play is largely a one-joke affair that runs out of steam before its players do.

sweet-sour - Evan Henerson - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

For 90 minutes on Sara Ryung Clement’s awesome set lined with high school production posters — 4.48 Psychosis and American Buffalo among them (what a hoot!) — they will stay politically sensitive or heads will roll (and they do!). Not only is there a mess on stage at the end, but we still recognize the mess that American playwriting is in.

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


Avatar

The play is filled with such blatant contradictions throughout: vibrancy and darkness; tragedy and comedy, and the cast members leap from one emotion to another, almost effortlessly.  The play is a constant roller coaster of extreme emotions, keeping the play  multi dimensional and allowing the audience to come to its own conclusion.

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


Avatar

The performances are all strong, however Michael John Garces has directed the actors to be very one dimensional and stereotypical in their characters. Nothing is horrible, I simply came out hoping for a little more power and directness.

This is a dark comedy with dry humor, if you enjoy 'Saturday Night Live', you will love this production. If you don't...you probably won't.

sweet-sour - Jeffrey Scott - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

The actors are committed to everything one thousand percent and that’s wonderful to watch but something holds us back from fully embracing every comic beat, and there are a lot of them.

sweet-sour - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Avatar

As good as the Geffen’s production is, and it’s very good, you’ll get ahead of the comedy and the characters will begin to feel like foils for an argument … but no more so than anyone playing an Indian in a school pageant in thousands of schools across the country in the next few weeks.

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


Deborah Klugman

Most of the play’s scattershot riffs are neither new nor fresh, but its targets deserve lampooning and the evening might have amused had the actors stood their ground against stereotype (implicit in the writing) instead of exacerbating it with arch posturing — which struck me as a directorial call.

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


Avatar

If “The Thanksgiving Play” could see its characters as more than the butt of punchlines, the skewering of cultural mind-sets might provoke more collective soul-searching than tired tittering.

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


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

In a suburban middle school classroom turned into a rehearsal space for the drama department “anywhere but in the Los Angeles area,” a terminally overdramatic earthmother tries to produce relevant outspoken social commentary to be performed by her teenaged charges. Germinating from the seriously wicked mind of award-winning playwright Larissa Fasthorse, this wildly hilarious and bitingly topical play should seriously become an annual holiday classic.

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


Rob Stevens

I am sure the Native American playwright had her tongue planted firmly in her cheek as she set about to writing this biting satire on the state of today’s overly PC world... FastHorse really skewers both the absurdness of the entertainment business and its wannabes as well as the tsunami of well-meaning political correctness infecting our modern world. Most PC folks have no sense of humor; Fasthorse definitely does.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Avatar

The four characters in The Thanksgiving Play are caricatures to be sure, and the play’s humor is one-note, but thanks to Fasthorse’s way with jokes and comic invention, I found myself enjoying every minute. The playwright is also blessed with a cast of skilled farceurs and a director (Michael John Garces) who proves masterful at slapstick.

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


Erin Conley

The Thanksgiving Play is a lot of fun to watch in its tight 90 minutes, and the cast plays off each other wonderfully. Particularly given how broad the humor becomes, it would be interesting to see how it would translate on the Geffen’s mainstage or a larger space. FastHorse’s writing is sharp and funny, and would only be made more so with a couple more opportunities to show these characters’ humanity beyond the archetypes they are meant to portray.

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


Avatar

The cast of The Thanksgiving Play is three white thespians and one white director creating an original Thanksgiving message during Native American Heritage Month. It's filled with cultural missteps, as they try to figure out how to be politically correct.

sour - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

Michael John Garcés directs. He drives this work with near manic energy. His actors are superb, even when pushed to skit-like heights. But subtlety, whether moments or entire scenes, would give at least some in the audience a chance to think, to absorb, to let the language and the situations sell the satire.

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


Avatar

...The Thanksgiving Play is a straight-ahead satire that derives much of its humor from outright mayhem. Garces' actors have comic chops (especially Alexandra Henrikson as the fuzz-brained thespian, Alicia); they can do zany and are not afraid to get down and dirty with the broadness. But the play is largely a one-joke affair that runs out of steam before its players do.

sweet-sour - Evan Henerson - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

For 90 minutes on Sara Ryung Clement’s awesome set lined with high school production posters — 4.48 Psychosis and American Buffalo among them (what a hoot!) — they will stay politically sensitive or heads will roll (and they do!). Not only is there a mess on stage at the end, but we still recognize the mess that American playwriting is in.

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


Avatar

The play is filled with such blatant contradictions throughout: vibrancy and darkness; tragedy and comedy, and the cast members leap from one emotion to another, almost effortlessly.  The play is a constant roller coaster of extreme emotions, keeping the play  multi dimensional and allowing the audience to come to its own conclusion.

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


Avatar

The performances are all strong, however Michael John Garces has directed the actors to be very one dimensional and stereotypical in their characters. Nothing is horrible, I simply came out hoping for a little more power and directness.

This is a dark comedy with dry humor, if you enjoy 'Saturday Night Live', you will love this production. If you don't...you probably won't.

sweet-sour - Jeffrey Scott - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

The actors are committed to everything one thousand percent and that’s wonderful to watch but something holds us back from fully embracing every comic beat, and there are a lot of them.

sweet-sour - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Avatar

As good as the Geffen’s production is, and it’s very good, you’ll get ahead of the comedy and the characters will begin to feel like foils for an argument … but no more so than anyone playing an Indian in a school pageant in thousands of schools across the country in the next few weeks.

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


Deborah Klugman

Most of the play’s scattershot riffs are neither new nor fresh, but its targets deserve lampooning and the evening might have amused had the actors stood their ground against stereotype (implicit in the writing) instead of exacerbating it with arch posturing — which struck me as a directorial call.

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


Avatar

If “The Thanksgiving Play” could see its characters as more than the butt of punchlines, the skewering of cultural mind-sets might provoke more collective soul-searching than tired tittering.

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


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

In a suburban middle school classroom turned into a rehearsal space for the drama department “anywhere but in the Los Angeles area,” a terminally overdramatic earthmother tries to produce relevant outspoken social commentary to be performed by her teenaged charges. Germinating from the seriously wicked mind of award-winning playwright Larissa Fasthorse, this wildly hilarious and bitingly topical play should seriously become an annual holiday classic.

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


Rob Stevens

I am sure the Native American playwright had her tongue planted firmly in her cheek as she set about to writing this biting satire on the state of today’s overly PC world... FastHorse really skewers both the absurdness of the entertainment business and its wannabes as well as the tsunami of well-meaning political correctness infecting our modern world. Most PC folks have no sense of humor; Fasthorse definitely does.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Avatar

The four characters in The Thanksgiving Play are caricatures to be sure, and the play’s humor is one-note, but thanks to Fasthorse’s way with jokes and comic invention, I found myself enjoying every minute. The playwright is also blessed with a cast of skilled farceurs and a director (Michael John Garces) who proves masterful at slapstick.

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


Erin Conley

The Thanksgiving Play is a lot of fun to watch in its tight 90 minutes, and the cast plays off each other wonderfully. Particularly given how broad the humor becomes, it would be interesting to see how it would translate on the Geffen’s mainstage or a larger space. FastHorse’s writing is sharp and funny, and would only be made more so with a couple more opportunities to show these characters’ humanity beyond the archetypes they are meant to portray.

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


Avatar

The cast of The Thanksgiving Play is three white thespians and one white director creating an original Thanksgiving message during Native American Heritage Month. It's filled with cultural missteps, as they try to figure out how to be politically correct.

sour - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

Michael John Garcés directs. He drives this work with near manic energy. His actors are superb, even when pushed to skit-like heights. But subtlety, whether moments or entire scenes, would give at least some in the audience a chance to think, to absorb, to let the language and the situations sell the satire.

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