War OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    November 21, 2014
    Closing:
    December 13, 2014

    Theater: Yale Repertory Theatre / 1120 Chapel St, New Haven, CT, 06510

    Synopsis: 

    Tensions escalate between Tate and Joanne at their mother’s hospital bedside. As they attack each other’s smallest words and biggest choices, they are ambushed by two strangers who make a shocking claim about their grandfather’s WWII tour of duty. War is a wildly provocative, bracingly funny, and all-too-human portrait of a family navigating the landmines of the past as they try to broker peace with each other—and themselves—in the present.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF War

    Locked Outside a Familial Babel 'War,' Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s New Play

    Ben Brantley

    December 8, 2014: Since pretty much every word that’s spoken in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s new play is subject to skeptical scrutiny, we may as well start with its title. That’s War. And, yes, a proper World War (the second one) figures in this contemporary family drama, which runs through Saturday at the Yale Repertory Theater, which commissioned the play. But Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins isn’t talking about armed combat. Nor is he discussing the sort of classic conflicts of the soul that lyrical types like to call “the war within,” or not in any traditional way. What is waged in this imperfect, thoughtful and truly thought-provoking play, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, is the daily struggle of people trying to define and deny their connections according to the elusive concept known as race. This means that what we have is inevitably a war of words. But words, in this case, aren’t weapons to be aimed confidently at the opposition. They are just as likely to explode in the hands of their wielders, leaving them fallen and stunned. Within the last few years, Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins, 29, has established himself as one of this country’s most original and unsettling dramatists on the subject of ... . There, you see, I’m at a loss for words, because Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins convincingly insists that we don’t have the vocabulary to deal with the slippery complexities of what it means to be African-American, or black, or Black, or a person of color. And by the way, none of those categories are satisfactory by his terms.

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