Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Maria Baranova
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    April 28, 2015
    Closing:
    May 17, 2015

    Theater: Abrons Arts Center Henry Street Settlement / 466 Grand Street, New York, New York, 10002

    Synopsis: 

    Set in the Great Depression, "Sibyl Kempson’s Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag" is a story of an extended family of sharecroppers who are visited, interviewed, and photographed by two live-in reporters from the “Big City” and also possibly by an ancient Mesopotamian sage. An irrational musical contemplation of the ethical pitfalls of poetic journalism, "Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag" is inspired by the work of James Agee and Walker Evans as well as Sontag's essay 'On Photography,' the journals of Symbolist painter Odilon Redon, "The NEW American Machinists’ Handbook," the ancient Assyrian mythological seals in the JP Morgan Collection, and a couple of Broadway musicals. Featuring music by Ashley Turba and staging by David Neumann.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag

    ‘Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag,’ by Sibyl Kempson

    Alexis Soloski

    May 5, 2015: In the giddily frantic semi-solo show “Crime or Emergency” and the untranslatable Halloween chiller “Ich, Kürbisgeist,” the playwright, performer and director Sibyl Kempson distinguished herself as one of the most distinctive and delirious writers working downtown. So you had to be excited when Ms. Kempson, a graduate of Mac Wellman’s Brooklyn College M.F.A. program and an associate of the celebrated experimentalist group Elevator Repair Service, announced that she was creating a company of her own, 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co. The company’s inaugural production, “Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag” at Abrons Arts Center, doesn’t quite justify that enthusiasm. A consideration of how stories are told and who gets to tell them, it centers on a family of sharecroppers visited by a photographer and a journalist from the big city. The sharecroppers are weirder versions of “Tobacco Road” types. “Kill the cat,” one says. “There’s company coming.” The journalists, who occasionally sit in with the band, are modeled on James Agee and Walker Evans, who wrote and provided photographs for “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” (In case it wasn’t clear from the title, the program includes a hefty reading list.)

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