THE ANARCHIST, a new play written and directed by David Mamet opened tonight on Broadway at the newly refurbished Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street). The production stars two-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone and three-time Academy Award nominee Debra Winger (making her Broadway debut). THE ANARCHIST features scenic and costume design by Academy Award winner Patrizia von Brandenstein and lighting design by Tony Award winner Jeff Croiter.
The world premiere production of David Mamet’s new play The Anarchist is presented on Broadway by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, and Howard & Janet Kagan.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: “Women Behind Bars” it ain’t. And Ms. LuPone and Ms. Winger must sink or swim in the thick sea of verbiage into which Mr. Mamet has thrown them. Ms. LuPone, a Mamet veteran, navigates these clotted waters like the freestyle champion she is. Ms. Winger, in her Broadway debut, mostly dog paddles. ... That leaves Ms. LuPone to carry the emotional content of the play all by herself. She does so valiantly and compellingly, and reminds us that this Tony-winning star of musicals is a terrific dramatic actress. In her Cathy you sense the strain of a naturally arrogant woman trying to be humble and, what’s more, trying to convince herself that she believes in her humility.
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: Anarchist, which opened Sunday at the Golden Theatre, never explicitly tells us where Cathy is coming from as she makes her case to the one other person on stage: a prison official named Ann, played by Debra Winger, who will decide whether Cathy has earned her freedom. But for an intense, provocative 70 minutes, Mamet, who also directed the production, and LuPone keep us guessing.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter: Patti LuPone's conviction onstage is always compelling, but otherwise this dry new David Mamet play is just a wearying lecture.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: Running an intermissionless 70 minutes, “The Anarchist” starts in second gear and never really speeds up or slows down, just becomes wave after wave of staccato dialogue that is more pleasant on the page than spoken. No one talks like this and the two actresses struggle to make something unnatural seem natural.
Scott Brown, NY Magazine: David Mamet's austerity program isn't working. Despite a careerlong crusade to streamline theater by sandblasting away its airy effeminacies (like acting and emoting), his latest, The Anarchist, still feels strangely gassy, even at a Spanxed 80 minutes. This despite the best efforts of the author—who’s also the director—to dehydrate a life-and-death battle of wills into a stylized white paper.
Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg News: LuPone and Winger are restrained to the point of somnambulance. Even at just 70 intermissionless minutes, “The Anarchist” is a challenge to sentience.
Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post: The entire 70-minute show consists of Cathy’s parole-plea meeting, with the two women tossing arguments back and forth. Mamet is slow and stingy in dispensing details, maybe in an attempt to make the encounter a pure philosophical debate.
Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: Sounds juicy, but sadly it isn’t really so, despite the best efforts of Patti LuPone and Debra Winger. Between its structural ambiguity and heady philosophizing, this short, dense and dry drama at the Golden Theatre is often a head-scratcher. It starts abruptly and ends the same way.