The Library OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • VULTURE

  • TM

  • VARIETY

  • DAILY NEWS

Opening Night:
April 15, 2014
Closing:
April 27, 2014

Theater: Public Theater / Delacorte Theater in Central Park, New York, NY,

Synopsis: 

After Caitlin Gabriel survives a deadly shooting at her high school, she struggles to tell her story to her parents, the authorities and anyone who will listen. But there are other narratives that gain purchase in the media and paint her in a different light.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Library

    Cruel Truths Always Survive a Shooting - Steven Soderbergh Directs ‘The Library,’ at the Public

    Ben Brantley

    April 15, 2014: Toxic dread floods the opening minutes of The Library, which opened on Tuesday night at the Public Theater, and good luck to the audience member who prefers not to be disturbed. It isn’t just the sight of the girl on the table, laid out like a corpse at a mortuary, which greets theatergoers arriving at Scott Z. Burns’s new play. The sound-and-light tsunami that follows leans without mercy on our alarm buttons. Electronic chords vibrate with the suggestion of nerves being plucked; the stage turns a deep, spectral red; the girl’s body becomes an anonymous silhouette. And while the amplified words we hear may be jumbled, we can make out enough to know that they sound horribly familiar. A man with a gun, it seems, has opened fire on the students and staff of a high school.

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF The Library

    Theater Review: A School-Massacre Story on a Severe Canvas, in Soderbergh-Directed The Library

    Jesse Green

    April 15, 2014: If you want a vivid example of how a director can shape (or reshape) a play, compare the author’s description of the set for The Library with what actually appears on the Public Theater’s Newman stage. In his script, Scott Z. Burns details the scene of a Columbine-like massacre with (among other naturalistic indicators) backpacks, bookshelves, books scattered everywhere, a charred sofa, fallen chairs, and bloodstains on the carpet. But what the director Steven Soderbergh (working with the designer Riccardo Hernandez) gives us instead is the antiseptic inside of a white lacquer box. It looks like the meditation room of a moon colony, with almost no props, let alone those bloodstains. Which is apt, I suppose; The Library is the chicest high-school mass-murder drama yet. Soderbergh has directed for the theater before, but is obviously best known for his films, and his work here demonstrates not just the lordly effect any director can have on a stage work but the heightened effect of a director descending from Mt. Hollywood.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF The Library

    The Library Filmmakers Scott Z. Burns and Steven Soderbergh offer an intimate look at a national media firestorm from the perspective of its victim.

    Zachary Stewart

    April 15, 2014: History is a series of comforting lies, at least according to Scott Z. Burns. His debut stage play, The Library, is now making its world premiere at The Public Theater in a sleek production directed by Steven Soderbergh. Burns and Soderbergh (frequent screen collaborators) deftly unfold this story with a forensic attention to detail. It's an intelligent and quietly infuriating evening of theater that will leave everyone questioning the stories they've heard in the national media or read in history books. The Library opens in the wake of a deadly school shooting. Marshall Bauer, a 21-year-old social outcast, returned to his old high school with an arsenal of guns, then murdered 13 people. He shot Caitlin Gabriel (Chloë Grace Moretz) in the abdomen at close range as she crouched under a desk in the school library. Miraculously, she survived. Fellow student Ryan Mayes (Daryl Sabara) claims he heard Caitlin tell the shooter that several students were hiding in the A/V closet. Caitlin says it wasn't her but Joy Sheridan who gave up their whereabouts. Early reports suggest that Joy was a "hero" who led her fellow students in prayer at the moment of crisis. When Joy's mother, Dawn (Lili Taylor), inks a six-figure book deal and makes numerous television appearances, this version of events becomes conventional wisdom as Caitlin is nationally reviled as a slanderous traitor. But is it the truth? Will anyone believe Caitlin's version of the story?

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF The Library

    Off Broadway Review: ‘The Library’ Directed by Steven Soderbergh

    Marilyn Stasio

    April 16, 2014: A skilled director can work magic, which is what Steven Soderbergh has done with The Library, a thin play penned by Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns (Side Effects, Contagion, The Informant!) about the aftermath of a high school shooting. The imposing abstract design and expressionistic staging suggest that the play’s themes will have depth and resonance. But this promise of A Very Important Play fades, once it’s clear that the stagecraft isn’t in service of a reflective drama, just a narrow account of the blame game directed at a 16-year-old girl (superbly played by Chloe Grace Moretz) accused of directing the murderer to his victims. The prodigiously talented Moretz (the vengeful heroine of the made-over Carrie) commands the stage as Caitlin Gabriel, a sophomore at the ironically named Golden Valley High School, who caught a shotgun blast when a former student went ballistic and mowed down more than a dozen kids who were studying in the library. Jennifer Westfeldt (writer-director-star of indie Friends With Kids) is the other cast standout as Caitlin’s distraught mother, torn between mother-love and the sneaking suspicion that her daughter might, indeed, have betrayed her schoolmates.

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF The Library

    ‘The Library’: theater review

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    April 15, 2014: On paper, The Library had everything going for it: direction by Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh, a script by his frequent collaborator Scott Z. Burns, and Carrie starlet Chloe Grace Moretz leading the cast. But on stage, the drama about the aftershocks of a fatal school shooting lacks insight. It also self-destructs thanks to an illogical 11th-hour twist. Memo to the creators: 911 calls are among the first things cops investigate, not the last. Oops. Burns (Contagion, Side Effects) approaches this Sandy Hook- and Columbine-like drama from an oblique angle. High school sophomore Caitlin (Moretz, believable and affecting in her New York stage debut) is severely wounded by a crazed gunman, but survives.

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