Wilderness OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    October 26, 2016
    Closing:
    November 13, 2016

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

    Synopsis: 

    Six kids stand at the brink of emotional chaos. A mother risks losing her child forever. Thoughts racing, emotions firing, one question plunges forward: how do we persevere when we feel most alone in the world? In this captivating documentary theatre piece, En Garde Arts employs their signature brand of multi-media storytelling to illuminate the real experiences of young adults who struggle to find meaning in their lives, and parents who refuse to give up hope for their kids. Developed over two years through firsthand interviews and extensive field research, Wilderness features a driving folk score and sweeping video landscapes. The penetrating, no holds barred docu-drama transports us from our familiar domestic confines to the brutal and enlightening solitude of the high desert, where we have no choice but to confront our demons—and hopefully develop the courage to change.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Wilderness

    Teenagers Grapple With Their Demons in ‘Wilderness’

    Charles Isherwood

    October 26, 2016: A fierce, sad gale blows through “Wilderness,” a terrific, moving new multimedia theater piece about troubled youth being presented by En Garde Arts in association with Abrons Arts Center. The title refers to a program for psychologically disturbed teenagers and young adults that gathers them in the outdoors for days or weeks of group therapeutic treatment. But it also speaks to the idea that in contemporary culture, with its often fragmented families and onslaught of social media, kids today are navigating their way to adulthood in a world in which the old signposts have all but been obliterated, and the path has grown thick with thorny emotional underbrush. The result: anxiety, sadness, self-doubt, addiction and various other hard-to-vanquish demons. As with prior shows from Anne Hamburger’s En Garde, such as “Basetrack Live,” seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the show, written by Seth Bockley and Ms. Hamburger, and directed by Mr. Bockley, draws on interviews with real people. It incorporates actual Skype interviews with some of the parents of the characters represented, projected on video screens. (My hat’s off to the brave men and women who agreed to publicly air their stories. And to Ms. Hamburger, whose personal experience partly inspired the show.)

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