The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona

Critics

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14 %

Reviews: 11

Audience

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Reviews: 0

How many of us have wished for one more chance to say the right thing? A Better Orpheus Inc. provides an alternative to regret—a service that allows the living to communicate with the dead. When Nikki Corona loses her twin sister, A Better Orpheus puts her in touch with Orlando, a man dying too young. The ensuing love story leads to a quest through a vivid, fantastical afterlife as Orlando learns whether Nikki's message to her sister has the ability to transcend death.

In the rich literary tradition of magical realism and inspired by Dante's Inferno comes a brand new play by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and Obie Award-winning playwright José Rivera (Motorcycle DiariesReferences to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot). Directed by Drama Desk Award winner and Geffen alum Jo Bonney (By The Way, Meet Vera StarkCost of Living), this stunning world premiere suggests that with love, all things are possible.

Recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award

Major support for this world premiere production provided by the Edgerton Foundation New Play Production Fund

Reviews

Shari Barrett

Even though the wordy first act is made up of mostly exposition, Review: THE UNTRANSLATABLE SECRETS OF NIKKI CORONA Takes Audiences on a Phantasmagorical Journey to What's Beyondtake note of the important family information being shared to fully comprehend what happens emotionally during Act 2 as this unconventional love story takes Orlando on a phantasmagorical journey to what's beyond in a magical succession of rooms populated by people from his past who must continually live out their worst regret before being able to clear their heart to move on to what's next.

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


Avatar

Now each one of these parts is interesting on it's own but also deeply unsatisfying because it feels like the play keeps avoiding what the play's trying to be about... In the end, “The untranslatable secrets of Nikki Corona” is a powerful argument for the necessity of a good dramaturg - a wise guide who can help a talented writer turn a pile of sketches into a full canvas.

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


Carol Kaufman Segal

Act II opens with Orlando having died, and from that moment on, my interest in the play becomes lost as is it "much ado about nothing".

sour - Carol Segal - ...read full review


Avatar

My head was spinning after watching this play. I thought the acting from this talented cast was strong, and I wanted to love this premise, yet I feel it still needs some work and about 15 minutes shaved in certain scenes.

sweet-sour - Jill Weinlein - Dine and Travel - ...read full review


Avatar

The play deals with death, grief and the afterlife. But Rivera can't seem to decide whose story he's telling. As a consequence, there isn't enough emotional fuel for the journey. It's not simply that the adventure is cockamamie. It's that the play doesn't give us enough incentive to care about its careening twists and counterintuitive turns.

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


Avatar

Meanwhile, over at the Geffen, I don't recommend Rivera's new "Nikki Corona," about an incoherent journey into the afterlife. Charles McNulty's review in the LA Times reflected my own thoughts about the script so well that I see no reason to pile on, other than to express the hope that the decision to produce it reflects new artistic director Matt Shakman's willingness to take risks on new plays more than it demonstrates his standards for quality control.

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


Avatar

...grief-stricken people trying to reach dead loved ones is an act we're all familiar with, as evidenced by the large amounts of money spent on psychics, séances, and even hypnotists. Unfortunately, there is no scientific proof that anyone ever managed to make a connection to the other world, but that didn't stop Rivera from taking a shot at it with his latest play, which he calls “mad realism.” Problem is, Nikki Corona isn't mad enough to make an audience willingly suspend disbelief in a story that grinds on for two long acts, one of which is set in the hereafter, yet still seems earthbound.

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


Avatar

The show is never dull, but it is also rarely as emotionally involving as it might be, especially since the cast is so engaging. There are the makings of something magical and special here, but they do not get the chance to coalesce into something wholly satisfying.

sweet-sour - Samuel Garza Bernstein - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

But whether because of the writing or the direction, the audience feels clumsily yanked from serious thought into light laughter, and not in a good way. Rivera overuses profanity. As a character trait, or sprinkled lightly for seasoning, it can be utilitarian. But making every character blast it out is immature writing, well below the skills of the likes of Rivera. Happily, the visuals here are phenomenal, thanks to Hana S. Kim's projection designs, Myung Hee Cho's scenery and Lap Chi Chu's lighting. As of now, though, a banner over the doors of the Geffen might as well read, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

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


Travis Michael Holder

If only Jose Rivera had stuck with the situations and questions which ended the first half and didn't leave us wondering what religious dogma from his childhood he was trying to exorcise with this play or what must have been “on” when he wrote Act Two, I might have been less ready to wish I'd left at intermission since the things left hanging were better left a mystery than having to sit through his unfathomable and masturbatory second half.

sour - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Whatever prompted the Geffen to gamble on José Rivera's The Untranslatable Secrets Of Nikki Corona to open a season already sadly devoid of major West Coast/L.A. Premieres like the past twelve months' absolutely superb Ironbound, Significant Other, Skeleton Crew, and A Funny Thing Happened …, it's a big-time gamble that goes big-time bust.

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


Shari Barrett

Even though the wordy first act is made up of mostly exposition, Review: THE UNTRANSLATABLE SECRETS OF NIKKI CORONA Takes Audiences on a Phantasmagorical Journey to What's Beyondtake note of the important family information being shared to fully comprehend what happens emotionally during Act 2 as this unconventional love story takes Orlando on a phantasmagorical journey to what's beyond in a magical succession of rooms populated by people from his past who must continually live out their worst regret before being able to clear their heart to move on to what's next.

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


Avatar

Now each one of these parts is interesting on it's own but also deeply unsatisfying because it feels like the play keeps avoiding what the play's trying to be about... In the end, “The untranslatable secrets of Nikki Corona” is a powerful argument for the necessity of a good dramaturg - a wise guide who can help a talented writer turn a pile of sketches into a full canvas.

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


Carol Kaufman Segal

Act II opens with Orlando having died, and from that moment on, my interest in the play becomes lost as is it "much ado about nothing".

sour - Carol Segal - ...read full review


Avatar

My head was spinning after watching this play. I thought the acting from this talented cast was strong, and I wanted to love this premise, yet I feel it still needs some work and about 15 minutes shaved in certain scenes.

sweet-sour - Jill Weinlein - Dine and Travel - ...read full review


Avatar

The play deals with death, grief and the afterlife. But Rivera can't seem to decide whose story he's telling. As a consequence, there isn't enough emotional fuel for the journey. It's not simply that the adventure is cockamamie. It's that the play doesn't give us enough incentive to care about its careening twists and counterintuitive turns.

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


Avatar

Meanwhile, over at the Geffen, I don't recommend Rivera's new "Nikki Corona," about an incoherent journey into the afterlife. Charles McNulty's review in the LA Times reflected my own thoughts about the script so well that I see no reason to pile on, other than to express the hope that the decision to produce it reflects new artistic director Matt Shakman's willingness to take risks on new plays more than it demonstrates his standards for quality control.

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


Avatar

...grief-stricken people trying to reach dead loved ones is an act we're all familiar with, as evidenced by the large amounts of money spent on psychics, séances, and even hypnotists. Unfortunately, there is no scientific proof that anyone ever managed to make a connection to the other world, but that didn't stop Rivera from taking a shot at it with his latest play, which he calls “mad realism.” Problem is, Nikki Corona isn't mad enough to make an audience willingly suspend disbelief in a story that grinds on for two long acts, one of which is set in the hereafter, yet still seems earthbound.

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


Avatar

The show is never dull, but it is also rarely as emotionally involving as it might be, especially since the cast is so engaging. There are the makings of something magical and special here, but they do not get the chance to coalesce into something wholly satisfying.

sweet-sour - Samuel Garza Bernstein - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Avatar

But whether because of the writing or the direction, the audience feels clumsily yanked from serious thought into light laughter, and not in a good way. Rivera overuses profanity. As a character trait, or sprinkled lightly for seasoning, it can be utilitarian. But making every character blast it out is immature writing, well below the skills of the likes of Rivera. Happily, the visuals here are phenomenal, thanks to Hana S. Kim's projection designs, Myung Hee Cho's scenery and Lap Chi Chu's lighting. As of now, though, a banner over the doors of the Geffen might as well read, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

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


Travis Michael Holder

If only Jose Rivera had stuck with the situations and questions which ended the first half and didn't leave us wondering what religious dogma from his childhood he was trying to exorcise with this play or what must have been “on” when he wrote Act Two, I might have been less ready to wish I'd left at intermission since the things left hanging were better left a mystery than having to sit through his unfathomable and masturbatory second half.

sour - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Whatever prompted the Geffen to gamble on José Rivera's The Untranslatable Secrets Of Nikki Corona to open a season already sadly devoid of major West Coast/L.A. Premieres like the past twelve months' absolutely superb Ironbound, Significant Other, Skeleton Crew, and A Funny Thing Happened …, it's a big-time gamble that goes big-time bust.

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