The Killer OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

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  • NY TIMES

  • VULTURE

  • DAILY NEWS

  • AMNY

  • TM

Opening Night:
May 7, 2014
Closing:
June 29, 2014

Theater: Polonsky Shakespeare Center / 262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Synopsis: 

Ionesco’s The Killer was first performed in 1959 in Paris. Berenger (Michael Shannon), a cheerful, well-meaning everyman, discovers a “radiant city” near his dismal urban home, a perpetually sunny, impeccably clean place full of marvelous architecture and beautiful gardens. The one hitch: a serial murderer has been brazenly killing people there for so long that the authorities have given up trying to catch him.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Killer

    An Ideal Place, Except for All the Dead Bodies
    In ‘The Killer,’ Ionesco’s Everyman Seeks a Source of Evil

    Charles Isherwood

    June 1, 2014: There are little-known plays by well-known writers that, when once viewed, strike you as being unjustly, even criminally neglected. Eugene Ionesco’s “The Killer” is not one of them. Au contraire! This is the kind of rarity that theater aficionados may be eager to see until they have the misfortune of seeing it. Produced by Theater for a New Audience, the commendably inquisitive classical company now housed in spiffy new Brooklyn digs, and directed by Darko Tresnjak (a Tony nominee for “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”), “The Killer” stars a flagrantly miscast Michael Shannon as Berenger, the Everyman character who appears in other Ionesco works. Berenger’s persona and history tend to shift from play to play. In “The Killer,” he is a sad but dream-haunted innocent who retains an abiding belief in the potential for life to be as full of joy as he had once, in a moment of transcendence, experienced it in his youth.

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF The Killer

    Theater Review: Ionesco’s The Killer Is Confusing and Unskippable

    Jesse Green

    June 1, 2014: Unable to get much attention amid pre-Tony hysteria and post-Tony exhaustion, some Off Broadway companies seem to take advantage of the blackout to dump inventory. Be warned: June is therefore littered, like May before it, with pointless, wayward, or cadaverous plays. How gratifying, then, to find the Theater for a New Audience doubling down on its serious mission with some unreconstructed midcentury Ionesco. And though The Killer remains perplexing and even a bit annoying after 55 years, it’s surely the season’s must-see, must-fail-to-understand theatrical event. Ionesco, you feel, would not have minded the shrugging: Bewilderment is both his style and his point. He dramatizes it here in the character of Berenger, a weather-beaten everyman who also appears in later Ionesco works like Rhinoceros and Exit the King. In The Killer, we meet him as he tours a new Paris neighborhood of perfect homes and permablue skies: a place, the architect tells him, where the roofs are waterproofed not because it rains but “as a matter of principle.”

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF The Killer

    ‘The Killer,’ theater review

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    June 2, 2014: Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist 1958 epic The Killer can slay your patience — and fanny. Chalk that up to a three-hour running time and the circuitous and repetitive dialogue. Fortunately, Theatre for a New Audience’s production of this three-act look at life and death has a saving grace in Michael Shannon. He’s a seasoned vet of stage (Grace), TV (Boardwalk Empire) and film (Revolutionary Road). Tall, intense and chronically interesting, Shannon is a striking presence. He looms large and boasts an expressive face that can harden from cuddly warmth to dark menace in a blink. He likewise works his voice from slurring grumbles to high-pitched, flutey surprise. All that comes in handy in his role as Berenger, a recurring Ionesco Everyman. Berenger appears in Rhinoceros, A Stroll in the Air and“ Exit the King.

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  • AM NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Killer

    'The Killer' review: a three-hour bore

    Matt Windman

    June 1, 2014: We have Michael Shannon to thank – or possibly blame – for the first New York production of The Killer, a mystery drama by avant-garde playwright Eugene Ionesco, since its Off-Broadway premiere in 1960. Shannon, who is now best known for appearing on the HBO television series Boardwalk Empire and in films like Revolutionary Road and Man of Steel, did The Killer in Chicago back in 1998 and apparently urged Theatre for a New Audience to produce the play as part of its inaugural season at its new theater in Brooklyn. The Killer shares the same main character as Rhinoceros, the Ionesco play where people are suddenly turning into rhinoceroses.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF The Killer

    The Killer: Darko Tresnjak revives Eugѐne Ionesco's classic absurdist work in an epic production.

    Pete Hempstead

    June 1, 2014: Last produced off-Broadway in 1960, Eugène Ionesco's dark, absurdist comedy The Killer has returned to New York in a definitive production at Theatre for a New Audience's Polonsky Shakespeare Center, in Brooklyn. Darko Tresnjak, the Tony-nominated director of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, helms the play, newly translated from the French by Michael Feingold. This extraordinary production, with a top-notch cast led by Michael Shannon, has set the standard for any future staging. Ionesco's plays are generally considered prime examples of the Theater of the Absurd — a genre that examines themes of human isolation, meaninglessness, and despair by placing quirky characters in bizarre, often comical situations. The uproariously funny The Killer falls squarely into that tradition, focusing on Ionesco's own preoccupations with mindless conformity, self-delusion, and death, themes that resonate strongly throughout The Killer.

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