Head of Passes OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Caitlin Ochs
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    March 28, 2016
    Closing:
    May 1, 2016

    Theater: The Public Theater / 425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY, 10003

    Synopsis: 

    At the mouth of the Mississippi River, Shelah’s family and friends have come to celebrate her birthday and save her from a leaking roof. But in this contemporary parable inspired by the Book of Job, unexpected events turn the reunion into the ultimate test of faith and love. As her world seems to collapse around her, Shelah must fight to survive the rising flood of life’s greatest challenges.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Head of Passes

    In ‘Head of Passes,’ Phylicia Rashad Is a Matriarch With Worries

    Ben Brantley

    March 28, 2016: Accomplished actress though she indisputably is, Phylicia Rashad is not someone who comes to mind when you think of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Ms. Rashad, after all, reigns in the American imagination as one of the ultimate wholesome maternal figures, a source of bottomless reassurance. Lear, even at his least unhinged, is anything but comforting. But in her remarkable, pull-out-all-the-stops performance in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Head of Passes,” which opened on Monday night at the Public Theater, Ms. Rashad gives the impression that she could definitely hold her own on Shakespeare’s blasted heath. Portraying a sorely tested Southern matriarch, she can be found railing against God and the elements with a harrowingly Lear-like rage. We have come a long way, in other words, from the living rooms of Clair Huxtable (of “The Cosby Show,” for which Ms. Rashad won two N.A.A.C.P. Image Awards) and Lena Younger (of “A Raisin in the Sun,” for which she won a Tony Award), where this actress memorably dispensed wit and wisdom. Never mind that for the first act of Mr. McCraney’s fascinating and uneven play, directed by Tina Landau, it appears as if we have traveled little distance at all.

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